Merrick vs Instinct

Merrick vs. Instinct

In this comparison article for Merrick vs Instinct, we'll highlight the key differences between these two pet food brands. To properly compare Merrick and Instinct, we'll use up-to-date nutritional and price information.

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best pet food brand for your pet. Factors such as ingredient quality, guaranteed analysis, product safety, brand history, and cost are among the most important factors to consider.

Throughout this Instinct vs Merrick comparison, we've utilized average data to make general comparisons. If you'd like to see individual product reviews, visit our Merrick Review Page or Instinct Review Page.

Guaranteed Analysis: Instinct vs. Merrick

According to AAFCO, all pet food labels must provide a guaranteed analysis of nutrient content. The analysis must provide guaranteed minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat, and maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture.

All percentages used in this comparison are averages reported on a dry matter basis.

Merrick Dog Food vs. Instinct Dog Food

Dry Dog Food Merrick Instinct
Crude Protein 37.0% 39.6%
Crude Fat 16.6% 21.8%
Crude Fiber 4.3% 5.1%
Wet/Canned Dog Food Merrick Instinct
Crude Protein 44.0% 48.1%
Crude Fat 20.3% 26.3%
Crude Fiber 8.8% 10.3%

Crude Protein Comparison For Dog Food

Dogs require twenty-two amino acids to sustain life. Twelve of these amino acids are synthesized naturally, the remaining ten are consumed. Protein is the nutrient which provides some or all of these ten essential amino acids.

There is a small difference between the protein content of Instinct and Merrick. We can see that Instinct guarantees about 2.59% more protein than Merrick. In addition, Instinct wet dog foods also provide more protein than Merrick wet foods.


Crude Fat Comparison For Dog Food

Fats are an absolutely vital component of a balanced canine diet. Not only do fats provide energy, but they also serve important roles in the normal development and function of your dog's body. For example, fats help dogs produce prostaglandins, which reduce inflammation among many other significant functions.

There is a relatively large difference between the fat content of Instinct and Merrick. On average, Merrick dry dog food recipes contain 5.21% less fat than Instinct recipes. In addition, Instinct wet dog foods also provide more fat than Merrick wet foods.


There is a relatively insignificant difference between the crude fiber content of the two brands. With regards to wet dog food, Instinct and Merrick also provide roughly the same amount of crude fiber.

Merrick Cat Food vs. Instinct Cat Food

Dry Cat Food Merrick Instinct
Crude Protein 42.8% 44.7%
Crude Fat 15.9% 21.1%
Crude Fiber 5.2% 4.5%
Wet/Canned Cat Food Merrick Instinct
Crude Protein 46.8% 49.9%
Crude Fat 20.6% 23.7%
Crude Fiber 6.0% 12.2%

Crude Protein Comparison For Cat Food

Cats require twenty-two amino acids to sustain life. Eleven of these amino acids are synthesized naturally, the remaining eleven are consumed. Protein is the nutrient which provides some or all of these eleven essential amino acids.

Both brands provide roughly the same amount of crude protein. For wet cat foods, Instinct typically provides a little more protein (about 3.13% more).


Crude Fat Comparison For Cat Food

There are many ways in which dietary fat contributes to the overall health of our feline friends. Here is a short list of benefits provided by fats (not exhaustive):

  • Fats help with the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins
  • Reduce inflammation associated with arthritis
  • Slow the growth of yeast infections
  • Prevent or reduce the likelihood of certain heart problems.
  • Aid in the development of the retina and visual cortex.

Merrick dry recipes contain 5.23% less fat than Instinct dry recipes. This difference in fat content is a notable difference between Instinct and Merrick. For wet cat foods, Instinct typically provides a little more fat (about 3.09% more).


As you can see, Instinct and Merrick guarantee a similar amount of crude fiber. For wet cat foods, Instinct provides more fiber (about 6.24% more).

Merrick Pet Food Ingredients vs. Instinct Pet Food Ingredients

Merrick and Instinct both use the following controversial ingredients in many of their products:

Garlic
Canola Oil
Pea Protein

Here are some of the controversial ingredients used only by Merrick.

Caramel Color
Meaty Femur Bone
Powdered Cellulose
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)

Here are some of the controversial ingredients used only by Instinct.

Tomato Pomace
Dried Tomato Pomace
Canola Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid)

We believe that certain pet food ingredients are linked to adverse health affects; these ingredients are classified as harmful.

Here are some of the harmful ingredients used only by Instinct.

Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex

Product Safety: Recall History of Merrick & Instinct?

Merrick has been recalled 6 times.

  • Jan. 28, 2011: Salmonella
  • Aug. 8, 2011: Salmonella
  • July 2, 2010: Salmonella
  • Aug. 3, 2010: Salmonella
  • Aug. 13, 2010: Salmonella
  • May 23, 2018: elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone

Instinct has been recalled 2 times.

  • July 24, 2015: Salmonella
  • Feb. 15, 2013: Pieces of clear plastic in bag

Price Comparison: Which Brand Is More Expensive?

Dry Dog Food Merrick Instinct
Per Pound $5.70 $10.33
Per Calorie $0.0033 $0.0051
Dry Cat Food Merrick Instinct
Per Pound $7.48 $8.24
Per Calorie $0.0043 $0.0041
Wet Dog Food Merrick Instinct
Per Pound $4.44 $6.77
Per Calorie $0.0111 $0.0118
Wet Cat Food Merrick Instinct
Per Pound $5.56 $7.41
Per Calorie $0.0125 $0.0158

The average cost-per-lb is heavily influenced by the varying amounts of moisture present in each brand's food products (wet vs. dry food, dry vs. freeze-dried food, etc). However, the average cost-per-kcal eliminates the influence of moisture. Therefore, the average cost-per-kcal is the better metric to consider.

If you'd like to calculate the average cost-per-day or cost-pet-year of feeding Merrick or Instinct, input your pet's weight into our cost analyzer widget.

Averages price data can identify whether or not there exists a significant price difference between two brands. However, the actual price that you'll pay for Merrick or Instinct will depend on your shopping habits.

Pet owners who use our price comparison feature typically save more than 25% off retail prices for Merrick and Instinct. In addition, we currently have some great coupons for our readers.


Disclosure: PawDiet has an affiliate relationship with stores featured (or linked-to) in this article. We are compensated for referring customers. Thank you for shopping with our retail partners!

Where To Buy Merrick Pet Foods

You can purchase Merrick pet foods from the following stores:









Where To Buy Instinct Pet Foods

You can purchase Instinct pet food products from these retailers:










Type Of Pet Foods Available

Product Merrick Instinct
Dry Dog Food 37 Recipes 30 Recipes
Wet Dog Food 58 Recipes 22 Recipes
Dog Treats 41 Treats 8 Treats
Dry Cat Food 12 Recipes 14 Recipes
Wet Cat Food 39 Recipes 29 Recipes
Cat Treats 2 Treats

Compare Pet Food Prices Across Multiple Pet Stores

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