Wolf Hunting photo

Ancestral diets—which consist of raw meats from various sources: bones, organs, fruits, and vegetables—have become popular for their many benefits for dogs, but these diets pose challenges, too. The idea is to feed dogs in a way that harkens back to how their wolf ancestors ate, in the evolutionarily period between when they were wild and domesticated. During this time, canines hunted to survive, and humans’ food scraps were only an ancillary benefit. Though dogs no longer hunt or struggle to find protein, the new trend of producing small-batch feeds with more real meat in the formula, make it easy to safely replicate an ancestral diet and capitalize on its benefits.

Merrick’s Backcountry recipes, made with freeze-dried raw meat plus high-protein grain-free kibble, as well as exotic proteins, offer high-protein, healthy-fat kibble that simulates an ancestral diet with the simplicity of commercial availability. The recipes run the flavor-and-source gamut, from beef and chicken to duck, salmon, and rabbit. The upside to kibble such as Backcountry is that you, as a pet parent, don’t have to worry about obtaining, storing, and butchering meats and proteins to supplement your dog’s dinner. More important, you know that your dog is receiving all the essential nutrients it needs while reaping the benefits of a pure meat source.

A pure protein source gives dogs the necessary nutrients to build muscle, and good fats provide energy to build that muscle, as well as respiratory endurance as the dog trains and works—benefits you’ll see while hunting fields, marshes, and the deep woods. By combining the freeze-dried meat with high-protein kibble, dogs secure those benefits, as well—hard kibble helps keep teeth clean, and a perfectly balanced diet ensures a shiny coat on a dog that is healthy on the inside and out. Backcountry’s protein levels fit perfectly into the zone that hard-working hunting requires—from 30 percent protein in the puppy formula to 38 percent in the Game Bird Recipe.

If you’re interested in feeding your dog an ancestral diet, a commercially available dog food that combines freeze-dried raw meat with kibble, such as Merrick Backcountry, will give your dog the proper balance of nutrients, good fat, and whole-source animal protein without the hassle.