Merrick Dog Food vs. Blue Buffalo: Which Dog Food Is Best?

Nutrition plays a very important role in keeping your dog healthy. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the food that your dog consumes is of high quality and provides them optimum nourishment. Today’s market is inundated with a lot of options, and it is up to us to compare them to understand which dog food will best suit the needs of our dog.

Between Merrick and Blue Buffalo, Blue Buffalo is better because it has a lower cost. However, both have a similar balance of nutrients. When comparing Merrick dog food to Blue Buffalo, look at various factors such as nutritional value, product recall, flavor, and even price.

Given the number of brand options available, it is quite easy to get swayed into the many award-winning products and recipes, making it difficult to pick one. In this article, a comparison of the two most dominant products available in the market will be discussed. Keep on reading to understand which of the two brands, Merrick and Blue Buffalo, ticks all the boxes when it comes to your dog’s nutritional requirements.

Brand History

Understanding brand history will help us in understanding where you are putting our hard-earned money in. It gives us an idea about the commitment the brand had previously made and its vision and mission.

Your pup’s diet will determine its well-being, so it is important to make an informed decision when choosing one brand over another. Both Merrick and Blue Buffalo are market leaders with ardent loyalists vouching for their food products’ quality.

Merrick was created by a pet lover, Garth Merrick, in Hereford, Texas. Their first line of products was for the oral cavity and breath-freshening treats, which they named Flossies.

It became a success, and Merrick moved on to all-natural canine and feline food production. Over the years, they developed hundreds of recipes and a ton of new flavors and went on to win numerous awards. Merrick also has a five-point promise on all their dog products:

  • All their ingredients are locally sourced.
  • Merric uses only real whole foods.
  • The food is prepared and packaged as per FDA standards.
  • The meals are made of high meat and complex carbohydrate content.
  • All their products provide a balanced diet.

Blue Buffalo first started as a family business in Wilton, Connecticut, in the year 2012. The passing away of an Airedale Terrier named Blue due to cancer was the brand’s inspiration. The main objective behind opening this company was to create dog food that addressed the many health concerns that could have been easily avoided or prevented by a good diet.

Blue Buffalo has since then developed food for cats as well. They, too, have several recipes and formulas for different breeds of dogs. They use natural and healthy ingredients and also use real meat in their recipes.

They have a simple and straightforward mission statement that says, love them like family, feed them like family. Due to their high-quality food that is sold at a reasonable rate, this brand has gained popularity in a relatively short period.

Nutritional Value

One of the most fundamental requirements for any living being to live and thrive is to provide nourishment for their body. Our furry friends are no exception. It is key that you know what nutrients our dogs need and whether they are sufficiently provided to the pooch in the food you give them.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the pooches, much like ourselves, may be sensitive to certain kinds of food ingredients, and these ingredients may cause allergies, or even illnesses and other health issues. The most formidable-looking dog, too, can have a sensitive gut, and it is important that you, as dog owners, understand their nutritional needs and tolerance.

In the table below, you can see a comparison of the average nutritional components of the dog food provided by both the brands.

Image: Merrick vs. Blue Buffalo: Dog Food Brand Comparison

In the protein section, we see that Merrick has a higher percentage than Blue Buffalo products, while in the fats section, it is neck and neck with Blue Buffalo falling short in the Large breed category. Fiber content is also mostly similar, with the Merrick fiber count dropping to 3.5% compared to Blue Buffalo’s 6% under the large breed category.

Lastly, one thing to measure and compare the contents more quickly and effectively is by comparing the kilocalories per cup. In the table above, this information is provided in the last row. If you see, the kilocalorie per cup differs vastly for the small breed varieties and the large breed varieties, with Blue Buffalo providing more kilocalories per cup in both the instances. The gap is relatively less in the medium breed variety.

Proteins, Fats, and Fibers

Nutritional content is largely measured by the presence of three major components, protein, fat, and fiber. They are the backbone based on which a balanced diet is created. To analyze the chart, you need to understand each component’s roles in your pup’s diet.

Protein is important for your dog because it provides them with amino acids, critical for energy, cell regeneration, and muscle repair. It also helps with maintaining healthy hair and skin on your dog.

Lack of proteins will see a rapid degeneration in your pup’s health, and they will start to appear malnourished and unhealthy. Dogs cannot create these amino acids independently, so it needs to be supplemented in their diet. You could see that Merrick has more protein-packed food in all the categories in the table.

A protein to fat ratio is usually advised to be around 2:1. This is because fat contains almost double energy-producing power than protein if consumed in the same quantities. Dog food that is closer to this magic ratio number is better for your pup. Having this ratio the other way around will make your dog absorb more energy and fewer nutrients, leading to weight gain and other health-related concerns.

Equally important is the amount of fiber that is included in your dog’s diet. It aids in digestion and keeps your pup’s bowel movements in order. A lack of fiber content in your dog’s diet will lead to constipation and reduced vitamin absorption. As shown in the chart above, Blue Buffalo has a high fiber content compared to Merrick.

Flavor

Not all dogs will like the same flavor. It depends a lot on the taste and preferences of each dog. They also have different allergic reactions and intolerances towards different food types. So, it is important to find a recipe that caters to your dog’s specific needs and preferences.

Thankfully, both Merrick and Blue Buffalo have a wide array of choices when it comes to flavors. These varieties can be seen in both their dry food as well as wet food products. Additionally, as both these brands pride themselves in using all-natural ingredients, you will not have to worry about any harmful chemical additives that many other dog food companies use for flavoring.

If you are making a comparison of flavoring, both Merrick and Blue Buffalo will score similarly in this category due to the many variables. They both offer a lot of varieties that will help provide options for your dog. Blue Buffalo has many salmon, other fish, meats, and vegetables, while Merrick uses brown rice, chicken, turkey, and beef in most of their recipes.

Price

Pricing is a key factor that determines how much the owner can spend on dog food. Prices are known to vary considerably between brands. It would be difficult to imagine how the prices could vary so much for what is essentially the same food to a layperson. It is good to remember at these times that the most expensive brands are not always the best quality brands for your pooch.

Therefore, it is important to do the legwork by researching and comparing the various kinds of dog food. To do this, you need to understand what kind of diet is best suited for your dog, and why you might need one kind of food over another.

For instance, you might prefer to give your dog high energy-producing food for a few months while recovering from an illness, or a high fiber content meal to help him with his bowel movements.

Once it is determined what kind of food your pooch will most benefit from, you can choose a couple of good quality dog foods that meet the requirements and start comparing the prices. A simple and quick method to understand how you will derive the best value for money is by checking not just the overall price, but figuring out the price per 100 gm (0.22 lbs) of the food product.

Image: Merrick vs. Blue Buffalo: Dog Food Brand Comparison

This table gives a pound for pound comparison where Blue Buffalo appears to work out a bit cheaper if you are going for the medium and large sizes.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros of Merrick: While the Merrick brand and Blue Buffalo produce dog food made of natural ingredients, Merrick goes a step further and manufactures dog food based on FDA standards for test kitchens. It also has an abundance of recipe options for your dog.
  • Cons of Merrick: The downside with the Merrick brand is that it comes at a higher price tag. When the other brands in the market offer more or less the same product at a lower price, it does not make sense as a dog owner to go for a higher price tag. It also has some grainy formulas which are not largely exciting for your pups.
  • Pros of Blue Buffalo: Blue Buffalo also gives its customers a lot of choices in terms of recipes in the dry food and wet food category. The brand is also hugely popular due to their high-quality products. If something must be criticized about this brand, it also carries a higher average price than the rest of the products available in the market today.
  • Cons of Blue Buffalo: However, Blue Buffalo’s prices are still lower than Merrick’s. Some of the recipes of Blue Buffalo are considered to be too rich to be categorized as dog food.

Are Merrick and Blue Buffalo Suited for Specific Breeds?

Merrick claims to have a wide range of dog food available that caters to a variety of dogs’ nutritional requirements. All their dog food types are largely believed to be fit for healthy adult dogs.

They have grain-free and limited ingredient diet formula for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs. The Backcountry range is rich in protein and helps with the growth of athletic and working dogs.

Merrick produces the Classic Puppy recipe for puppies, and the Merrick Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe is recommended for overweight dogs. They even have a Merrick Classic Small Breed Recipe for small breeds.

As the mission statement of Blue Buffalo goes, they believe that if you love your dog like family, you should feed it like family. The company is known to use only the highest quality of food ingredients in its recipes.

Blue Buffalo is popular because it follows a holistic approach to producing dog food and ensures that the ingredients come together to provide complete and balanced nutrition without any chemical flavoring, additives, or fillers.

Product Recalls

Another way to compare brands and generally learn more about them is by looking at the number of product recalls the brand has to undergo in its history.

Blue Buffalo brand had product recalls in the past, but the brand itself issued most of these recalls as a precautionary measure.

When you compare this with Merrick, you will see that they also had product recalls regarding its pet foods and treats, and the FDA ordered most of these recalls. A cause for initiating this recall on many instances has been due to potential contamination with salmonella. However, after a few trysts with the FDA regarding potential contaminations, Merrick upped their game and has not had any recalls since 2011.

Overall Review

There are a ton of great recipes that both Blue Buffalo, as well as Merrick offers. They both provide all-natural food products that do not contain artificial additives and harmful chemicals. The nutritional value of the food is also almost similar in both brands. Blue Buffalo has a fiber-rich content, while Merrick has a slightly higher fat to protein ratio.

It all comes down to the costs when all the other attributes of the two brands are found to be equal. Blue Buffalo wins on the price. If the budget is also an important factor when choosing between the two brands, then choosing Blue Buffalo over Merrick will make more sense.

This video does a quick review of Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dog food and what makes it so good for your dog.

Recommendations

If you are opting for Blue Buffalo, consider the following products for your dogs:

  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Dry Dog Food – It comes in two variations, chicken and brown rice recipe and fish and brown rice recipe. It is made of real meat and uses a high-quality protein that helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles. It is considered to be an adult dog food that is also full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to help promote a shiny coat and healthy skin.
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food – This is similar to the earlier product, but it caters to a small breed dog’s nutritional needs. This is also available in fish and lamb variety in addition to the chicken variety. It is specially formulated for the wellness of adult small breed dogs and contains increased proteins and carbohydrates.

Merrick also offers a wide variety of options when it comes to dog food. Here is our top two recommendation:

  • Merrick with Healthy Grains Dry Dog Food – Give this to your dog if he likes deboned chicken. This also comes in beef and lamb variety. The meal is supplemented with brown rice and is a potato-free recipe for a lower glycemic option. It has omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to help promote a shiny coat and healthy skin.
  • Merrick Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Small Dog Food – This comes in a case of 12 tubs. It falls under the wet dog food variety and is made of real deboned meat, and offers various options, like beef, chicken, or turkey. This is ideal for small breed adult dogs.

Conclusion

It can be safely said that both Merrick and Blue Buffalo are the market leaders when it comes to dog food. They have endeavored to produce the finest quality dog food made from natural ingredients and cater to your pooch’s needs as it grows.

They also come in different varieties, recipes, and formulae that can be enjoyed by your dogs no matter their age or ailment. This makes them both equally competent brands.

Hopefully, this article has helped you gain insight into how to choose between the two depending on your dog’s specific needs.

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