Can I just take a minute to gush about how delightful it is to have Amble around again? How much more magical being outside is with my partner-in-adventure? It’s almost too much. Campfires feel warmer, sleeping bags are snugglier, and trails always seem to get a little messier.
She was born to be an outdoor pup, and as she’s getting bigger it’s always remained a top priority to make sure she’s eating right. Amble has been grain-free since she was a puppy, and gets spoiled with fresh-cooked eggs, high protein meals, and a likely excess of healthy treats. When given the opportunity to let her do some gear testing of her own, I was a little skeptical about letting her try a new food – until I did some research on Merrick Pet Food. They use freeze-dried raw meat and locally sourced produce – all grown in the USA – from family farms. Plus, everything from raw ingredients to the final packaged product are produced under the same roof. I was sold.
I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to tell how Amble felt about the food. Would she react differently? Would I notice anything else? Who knew. Then I opened up her Pacific Catch kibble, fished out a little bit of freeze-dried salmon, and used it as bait to get her to go through her usual commands. After the treat disappeared into her mouth, she stared at me with the most intent, borderline-crazed expression I have ever witnessed. Clearly, she wanted more.
The second clue that Merrick got the Amble stamp of approval came when I introduced wet food into the mix. Amble has always been very into food, but once I mixed a few spoonfuls of Alpine Rabbit Stew into her dinner, she totally went bananas. She spent 20 solid minutes licking her bowl clean (it was totally clean after about 45 seconds). When she was done eating, she came right over to me, sat down, and kept looking from me to the countertop where the food was.
In that moment it became very clear to me how the whole “letting your dog gear test food” concept works out.
Aside from Amble’s obvious paw of approval, Merrick gets a thumbs up from me as a picky pup parent too. She’s an extremely active dog, bouncing between alpine camping in Colorado with me to climbing trips in Chattanooga with Niko – so her diet needs to match. Finding a line of food specifically inspired by dogs like Amble makes me feel better when I’m asking her to hike an extra mile after a long day of playing outdoors.
Here are some of the key things I really enjoy about Merrick and their Backcountry line:
- It’s made in the USA, and has a great southern family story behind it – Garth Merrick sounds like my kinda guy.
- The high protein products feature a mix of healthy meats and vegetables. She gets a great variety.
- I can actually see peas and fresh green beans in each can.
- Perhaps most importantly, I can see real chunks of meat in the stew. I pulled a piece of chicken thigh out of one of those cans that I honestly seriously considered eating because it looked that good.
I also might have a confession: I always try Amble’s kibble before I give it to her. If she’s eating it, I’m eating it too. And I have to admit, I would eat this. But don’t tell anyone, or put that on the internet, okay?
Disclosure: Merrick Pet Care hooked me up as an ambassador for their Backcountry lined, and provided compensation for this campaign. But as always, I say what I mean and I mean what I say – all opinions are honest and my own. (And Amble’s too, of course.)