A food storage container filled with Merrick kibble with freeze dried raw bites

Merrick Kibble With Freeze-Dried Raw Bites – A Review

I recently found out about Merrick kibble with freeze-dried raw bites.

That happened when a client’s two small pups stayed at my place for a few weeks.

Let me preface this blog post by saying that I personally am a raw feeder.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been feeding my dogs raw dog food since 2015.

That said, I’m not a big fan of kibble because I don’t believe that highly processed dog food is nutritious.

Sure, dogs can survive on kibble, but they can’t thrive on it, and the latter is what I’ve become passionate about! 

But back to the topic I’m writing about – Merrick kibble with freeze-dried raw bites.

So like I said, I don’t love the concept of feeding kibble, but I’ll admit that I got curious about this concept of adding pieces of freeze-dried raw meats to dry kibble.

I’ve heard about several kibble brands who are taking this approach lately.

And now that Lila and Rocky are eating it in my home, it’s time to share my thoughts about it.

Merrick Kibble With Freeze-Dried Raw Bites

Is Merrick kibble with freeze dried raw worth it?

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated in 2023. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you. 

Ingredients Merrick’s Lil’ Plates Grain-Free Bites + Freeze-Dried Raw

As the name suggests, this particular food is a grain-free kibble infused with freeze-dried, raw meat.

Lila & Rocky are on the chicken and sweet potato recipe.

A 10lb bag costs around $55.

These are its ingredients:

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Chicken Meal
  • Turkey Meal
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Chicken Fat
  • Whitefish Meal
  • Dried Egg Product
  • Natural Flavor
  • Flaxseed
  • Chicory Root (source of Inulin)
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Chicken Liver
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Salt
  • Organic Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal
  • Choline Chloride
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Salmon Oil
  • Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Carbonate)
  • Taurine
  • Yucca Schidigera Extract
  • Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Niacin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement)
  • Mixed Tocopherols for freshness
  • Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product
  • Citric Acid for freshness
  • Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product
  • Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product
  • Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product
  • Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product
Ingredients Merrick's Lil' Plates Grain Free Bites + Freeze-Dried Raw

How Much Freeze-Dried Raw Meat Is In This Line Of Food?

If I had to guess, I’d say there’s about 10% of freeze-dried raw meat in this line of Merrick’s food.

In order to gauge this, I went ahead and scooped out 1 cup of the food, and then picked out the pieces of freeze-dried chicken.

I counted 18. That’s not exactly a lot!

I’ll be honest and say that I would want to see a lot more freeze-dried raw meat in this food.

Freeze-Dried Raw Meat Contained in 1 cup of Merrick's Kibble + Freeze-Dried Raw Line

The Freeze-Dried Raw Meat Is The Best Part In This Food Recipe…The Pups Agree!

I’ve had several weeks of observing Lila & Rocky eat this food, and they both pick out the freeze-dried chicken before eating the kibble.

Smart pups – they know what’s best!

The video below shows Lila doing exactly that!               

Good For Introducing Healthier Food 

I think that this line of dog food is a good option for introducing kibble-fed dogs to a healthier food.

I would suggest feeding it during the transitioning phase towards a line of food that consists completely of freeze-dried cuts of meat.

Merrick carries one line of freeze-dried food that’s called Back Country Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Mixer.

A 12.5oz bag costs around $29 and is available in chicken and beef.

In my personal opinion, it’s a healthier food than the kibble + freeze-dried raw option I mention in this blog post.

These are its ingredients (for the chicken option):  

  • Deboned Chicken
  • Chicken Liver
  • Dried Potatoes
  • Potato Protein
  • Chicken Broth
  • Gelatin
  • Dried Kelp
  • Salt
  • Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative)
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Blueberries
  • Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Chloride, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate)
  • Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid)
  • Choline Chloride

As you can see, I highlighted a few of the ingredients in red.

It’s because I don’t love seeing the potato, gelatin and salt addition.

That’s simply because dogs have no need for an excess amount of starch in their diet, and gelatin typically contains additives like sugar and colors.

Last but not least, added salt is typically only a flavor enhancer.

Merrick Kibble With Freeze-Dried Raw Bites: Bottom Line

As I’ve said before when I offered my thoughts on Fresh Pet Select, I do like the general direction the pet food industry seems to be headed in.

I say that although I personally wouldn’t feed Merrick’s grain-free kibble + freeze-dried raw to my own dogs.

But like I said, more and more pet food companies are beginning to introduce healthier food options besides their typical dry dog food lines, and I think that deserves mentioning. 

Leave your comments or questions below in the comment section!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.







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