Meridian Dog Food Review 2022: Pros, Cons, Recalls, and FAQ


Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Meridian Dog Food a rating of 3.0 out of 5 stars.

Meridian is a holistic pet food company that is made by Midwestern Pet Foods under the parent company Nunn Milling Co. Meridian makes four different dog food recipes with an aim at high quality, natural nutrition. We all know how crazy the pet food market is and it is easy to get lost in the vast jungle of options available.

Narrowing down the right food can be a difficult and taxing process for concerned dog owners looking for the best food for their beloved companions. Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at Meridian dog food and see how they compare to other options on the market.

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At a Glance: The Best Meridian Dog Food Recipes:

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Meridian Dog Food Reviewed

Who Makes Meridian and Where Is it Produced?

Meridian is produced by Midwestern Pet Foods under Nunn Milling Company which has been around since 1926. It is a family-owned company in the fourth generation that is headquartered in Evansville, Indiana. Their foods are made here in the United States across four different locations including Waverly, New York, Monmouth, Illinois, Chickasaw, Oklahoma, and Evansville, Indiana.

Which Type of Dog Is Meridian Best Suited For?

Meridian is suited for dogs that require a grain-free diet since all of Meridian’s recipes are grain-free. Three of the four recipes are formulated to meet the AAFCO nutrient profile for maintenance, while the Riverbend recipe is formulated for all life stages including the growth of large breed puppies.

Which Type of Dog Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

Dogs that are fed grain-inclusive diets would certainly need another brand since no recipe currently offered by Meridian is grain-inclusive. There is an ongoing FDA investigation regarding grain-free diets and a potential correlation with canine dilated cardiomyopathy and while no foods have been recalled, until the investigation is completed with conclusive results, it’s best to speak with your veterinarian to ensure a grain-free diet is necessary for your dog.

bernese mountain dog eating
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Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

Chicken Meal

Chicken meal is the rendered concentrate of chicken that has been dried and ground. It contains a much higher percentage of protein than regular chicken. Some dogs suffer from certain protein allergens and chicken is one of the most common allergens. It’s a great protein to feed unless your dog suffers from a chicken allergy, in which case it’s best to find alternative protein sources.

Whitefish Meal

Whitefish is not as oily as salmon but is still a very healthy source of fats. Whitefish meal is rendered concentrate of the whitefish, which is absent moisture and has a much higher concentration of protein.

Lamb Meal

Lamb meal is derived directly from lamb and as with any other meat meal, is rendered and absent the moisture of the regular meat. It is rich in protein and nutrients and contains less fat than other protein sources.

Havanese dog eating
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Beef Meal

Beef meal is rendered cattle meat is dried and ground. Like other meat meals, it includes flesh, skin, and even bone. Beef meal is rich in protein, iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins and provides an excellent source of amino acids. Some dogs suffer from beef allergies, so it’s important to avoid food that uses beef in the recipe if there is a confirmed beef allergy present.

Chicken Fat

Animal-based fat provides a significant amount of nutritional value when added to dog food. There are nutrients in animal fats, like chicken fat that are not available in vegetable-derived oils. Overall, chicken is a balanced, high-quality form of fat.

Egg Product

Every recipe from Meridian contains egg products, which is important to note. Eggs are considered high-quality protein that is rich in essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Egg product contains further processed and dried yolks, whites, and shells. Eggs can be a common protein allergen for dogs so it’s best for dogs that suffer from an egg allergy to avoid foods with eggs or egg products on the list of ingredients. Otherwise, eggs and egg products are excellent sources of protein and fat.

dog eating
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Peas/Pea Fiber

Peas are rich in fiber, vitamins C and E, and zinc. Peas are commonly used in grain-free food and fresh food varieties. Pea fiber is extracted from the endosperm of yellow peas and contains dietary fiber and starch. Grain-free diets that include legumes like peas, and potatoes as alternatives to grain are being investigated by the FDA for a potential link to canine dilated cardiomyopathy. No recalls have been issued and the investigation is still being conducted.

Potatoes

Potatoes are a common carbohydrate used in grain-free foods that are rich in fiber and other nutrients. It is important to note that the FDA is currently investigating grain-free diets that contain alternative carbohydrates like potatoes and legumes with a potential link to canine-dilated cardiomyopathy. The investigation is ongoing, and any concerns should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are part of the legume family and are another common ingredient in grain-free dog foods. Chickpeas are rich in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. The current FDA investigation into grain-free diets that use an ingredient like chickpeas as an alternative to grains and the link to canine DCM have yet to conclude. If you have concerns about these ingredients, it’s best to reach out to your veterinarian.

Golden Retriever dog eating
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Canola Oil

Canola oil is a monounsaturated fat derived from the rapeseed plant. It is most often marketed as a healthy alternative to other oils; however, canola is chemically extracted using hexane and the heat applied during the process can alter the molecules in the oil and turn it rancid. This destroys the omega-3s and may create trans fats. Canola oil is commonly used in human and pet food as a cheaper alternative to premium oils.

Natural Flavors

The truth about natural flavors is that they are used to enhance aroma and flavor but aren’t as natural as claimed. To be considered a “natural flavor” per the FDA, it must be plant or animal material in origin. Just because the origin is natural doesn’t mean it’s not going through many processes afterward. These natural flavors are usually heavily processed and may contain up to 90 percent chemical additives all while being labeled as natural.

Does Meridian Source Ingredients from the United States?

While it seems Meridian sources most of the ingredients from the United States, they do source their flaxseed from Canada and their lamb meal from Australia or New Zealand. The company does advise that all ingredients undergo quality and safety checks.

man buying pet food
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Does Meridian Use Artificial Colors, Flavors, or Preservatives?

No, none of Meridian’s dog food recipes include any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. These types of ingredients are cheap and used for either visual appeal, flavor enhancement, or to ensure the food stays fresher longer. These ingredients are potentially toxic, and we urge pet owners to avoid any food varieties that contain them. Meridian does use natural flavors in every recipe, which we mentioned above. Natural flavors can be highly processed and a controversial ingredient.

Where Can You Buy Meridian Dog Food?

Meridian dog food is not widely available for online purchase compared to most competitors. The food is currently only available online by their online retail partner, Pet Food Center. Meridian dog food is not available everywhere but can be found in some local grocery stores, markets, and feed stores. You’ll want to use the Where to Buy feature on their website to get more information on the stores that sell their products. This will save you a lot of time from running around town trying to find it. The availability is denser in areas close to their manufacturing plants.

Woman Buying Products Online with dog_Andrey Popov_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Andrey Popov, Shutterstock

In What Ways Does Meridian Stand Out?

BPA-Free Recyclable Packaging

Meridian uses BPA-free packaging that is classified as type 7 recyclable. BPA is a chemical compound that is found in many commercial packaging and other products, it poses a potential health risk to both pets and humans. BPA-free plastic is made in North America using natural gas as opposed to crude oil.  Any environmentally friendly practices are always a bonus.

No Artificial Colors, Flavors, or Preservatives

As mentioned above, we also like that they do not use any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in any of their recipes. They also use a board-certified Ph.D. nutritionist that specializes in pet food to assist in the formulation of their recipes, which is a huge plus. Meridian uses chelated minerals in its recipes, which are much more easily absorbed.

Affordability

Meridian is an affordable food of a good quality that certainly won’t break the bank. It is less expensive than other competitors of similar quality. So, if you are in the market for reasonably priced, grain-free food, Meridian is worth considering.

Hunting dog eating
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Where Does Meridian Fall Short?

Meridian severely lacks variety, which is a common reason that many owners turn away from certain brands. They do not offer any fresh or canned dog food varieties and the only products available are dry kibbles. Another drawback is that they only offer grain-free recipes. Many owners choose to feed their dogs grain-inclusive diets and they have no options with this brand.

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A Quick Look at Meridian Dog Food

  • Affordable
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Manufactured in the United States
  • Offers a balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids
  • Formulated using the help of a board-certified nutritionist
  • All recipes meet AAFCO Nutrient Profile Guidelines for either maintenance or all life stages
  • Uses BPA-free, recyclable packaging
  • The first ingredient is always a specified meat meal
  • All recipes contain chelated minerals for easy absorption
  • Lack of variety
  • Not widely available for online purchase
  • Not as easy to find in stores compared to competitors
  • Only grain-free recipes are available
  • No canned or fresh food options

Recall History

Meridian was part of a recall that included a wide variety of pet foods that were voluntarily recalled by Midwestern Pet Food due to potential Salmonella contamination. The potential contamination was recognized through the company’s own routine sampling program. The affected foods were manufactured in their Monmouth, Illinois facility and included many other brands associated with Midwestern Pet Foods including Earthborn Holistic, Pro Pac, Sportmix, and others.

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Reviews of Meridian’s 4 Dog Food Recipes

Meridian Daybreak

Meridian Daybreak

Main ingredients Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols)
Protein content 24% min
Fat content 14% min
Calories 3,570 kcal/kg, 365 kcal/cup

Meridian Daybreak is the company’s chicken recipe. It is formulated to meet AAFCO’s Nutrient Profiles for maintenance, so it’s meant for adult dogs and not the growth of puppies. This food would be ideal for adult dogs on a grain-free diet that thrives on chicken as the main protein source. Chicken is a great source of protein and amino acids.

Meridian’s foods are formulated with some dried fruits and vegetables, vitamins, and chelated minerals for easy absorption. There is a healthy balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in the recipe as well as L Carnitine, which supports healthy metabolism and helps maintain lean muscle mass.

In addition to chicken, this recipe does contain egg products, so owners of allergy sufferers need to keep in mind that chicken and egg are common protein allergens, so if you have a dog that suffers from either allergy, you may want to look for another recipe. There are natural flavors in every Meridian recipe, which we don’t like to see.

Chicken meal is the first ingredient in the recipe, followed by potatoes, peas, and chickpeas. It is important to note the ongoing FDA alert regarding grain-free diets that use potatoes and legumes instead of grains and a potential link to canine-dilated cardiomyopathy. Meridian does touch base on this on their website, but we always suggest talking to your veterinarian to ensure a grain-free diet is appropriate for your dog.

  • Great balance of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids
  • Meets the AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for Maintenance
  • Formulated with real fruit and vegetable sources
  • Chicken meal is the first ingredient
  • Crafted for adult dogs on a grain-free diet
  • Chelated minerals are great for absorption
  • Contains natural flavors
  • Not ideal for allergy sufferers
  • Contains ingredients that are part of the FDA alert

Meridian Riverbend

Meridian Riverbend Dog Food

Main ingredients Whitefish Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Chickpeas, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols)
Protein content 23% min
Fat content 14% min
Calories 3,540 kcal/kg, 360 kcal/cup

Meridian’s Riverbend recipe is the only recipe they offer that meets AAFCO’s Nutrient Profile for all life stages including the growth of large breed puppies. This means it can be offered to puppies and adult dogs, alike. It features whitefish meal as the first ingredient, which is derived from fresh ocean fish, so it is rich in healthy protein.

This recipe uses canola oil in place of chicken fat, which is a controversial but common ingredient in several dog food brands. There is a healthy blend of essential vitamins and chelated minerals as well as a blend of fruits and vegetables. Like all other recipes from Meridian, it contains egg product, which is a great source of protein and fat but may be problematic to dogs that suffer from an egg allergy.

Other top ingredients include potatoes, peas, and chickpeas, which are part of the current investigation related to the FDA alert about grain-free foods and a potential correlation with canine DCM. This is an ongoing investigation that has not resulted in any recalls, so it’s best to talk to your veterinarian about grain-free diets. This recipe also uses natural flavors, which we don’t like to see due to the heavy processing of natural flavors.

Overall, this is our favorite recipe offered by Meridian because it can be fed to adults and puppies, including large breeds. If eggs are not an allergy concern, this may be the best Merdian recipe for allergy sufferers, though always check with your veterinarian.

  • Meets AAFCO Nutrient Profiles for all life stages
  • Whitefish meal is the first ingredient
  • Balanced blend of vitamins and minerals
  • Uses chelated minerals for optimal absorption
  • Can be fed to puppies, including large breeds
  • Contains ingredients that are part of the FDA alert
  • Formulated with natural flavors

Meridian Twilight

Meridian Twilight Dog Food

Main ingredients Lamb Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Chickpeas, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols)
Protein content 23% min
Fat content 12% min
Calories 3,390 kcal/kg, 345 kcal/cup

Meridian Twilight is the company’s lamb-based recipe that features lamb meal as the first ingredient. Lamb is an excellent source of protein that is lower in fat than other meats. This recipe offers a great balance of essential vitamins, nutrients, and fatty acids and contains chelated minerals, which are much more easily absorbed.

Canola oil is used in place of animal fat, and there are natural flavors, both of which are controversial ingredients. All Meridian recipes are grain free and include potatoes, peas, and chickpeas as some of the top ingredients. As mentioned, it is best to check with your veterinarian regarding any concerns over grain-free diets and the current FDA alert and ongoing investigation.

The Twilight recipe is formulated to meet the AAFCO Nutrient Profile for maintenance, so it’s best for adult dogs and should not be offered to puppies for their growth and development. Like all other recipes, there is egg product, so any dog that suffers from an egg allergy should avoid the food but eggs are an excellent source of protein, fat, and nutrients.

  • Meets AAFCOs Nutrient Profiles for maintenance
  • Lamb meal is the first ingredient
  • Excellent blend of vitamins and nutrients
  • Contains fruits and vegetables
  • Formulated with chelated minerals for excellent absorption
  • Contains ingredients listed on the FDA alert
  • Formulated with natural flavors

Meridian Westward

Meridian Westward Dog Food

Main ingredients Beef Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Chickpeas, Canola Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols)
Protein content 23% min
Fat content 12% min
Calories 3,330 kcal/kg, 340 kcal/cup

Last but not least we have the Westward recipe which uses beef as the primary protein source in the form of beef meal, which is the first ingredient.  Beef can be a common protein allergen, along with chicken and eggs. Egg product is part of the ingredients as well, so as long as your dog does not suffer from a beef or egg allergy, it is an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids.

Like all other Meridian recipes, this good is grain-free with potatoes, peas, and chickpeas as the other top ingredients. Of course, we will mention the current FDA alert and advise any concerns about the ongoing investigation into grain-free diets and the associated ingredients to be directed to your veterinarian.

The Westward recipe does offer an excellent balance of vitamins, nutrients, and fatty acids and includes those chelated minerals for easy absorption. There is also a blend of fruits and vegetables in the formulation.  Canola oil is used in this recipe along with the natural flavors, which we have mentioned as more controversial ingredients.

  • Beef meal is the first ingredients
  • Offers a balance of essential vitamins and nutrients
  • Contains chelated minerals for easy absorption
  • Meets the AAFCO Nutrient Profile for maintenance
  • Contains ingredients that are part of an FDA alert
  • Formulated with natural flavors

What Other Users Are Saying

We always like to look at what consumers have to say about the food because it’s a great way to get the most unbiased feedback. With Meridian, we are disappointed that we can’t come up with reviews outside of their own website. It’s not uncommon for negative reviews to be filtered out on any company’s main website because they are focused on selling their product, which is understandable.

  • Meridian- Many dog owners on Meridian’s website rave about Meridian’s food and how well they work for their dogs. There are reviews that state they noticed a drastic change in skin and coat health, some allergy sufferers did well on certain recipes, and as far as dry foods go, it seems to be preferred by even picky eaters. Other customers love the affordability balanced with quality. You can read further into these reviews here.
  • Pet Food Center – Unfortunately, Meridian’s only online retail partner does not have any reviews available for their available Meridian dog foods.

 

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Conclusion

Meridian is part of Midwestern Pet Foods under the parent company of Nunn Milling Company, which has been around since 1926. Meridian offers four different grain-free dry dog food recipes and while they are affordable food of decent quality, they lack in variety and are not as widely available as other dog food options.



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