News Item | PAWS Chicago

PAWS Chicago + Merrick Pet Care Partner to Improve the Lives of Pets

by Julie Mazzola | Nov 01, 2013

Partner to Improve the Lives of Pets

We all love a great meal, pet family members included. But what we feed our pets is more important than ever, especially when it comes to navigating today’s complex and varied pet food options. 

Considering the epidemic of pet food recalls in recent years and the resulting pet fatalities, knowing exactly what you are feeding your pet and where those ingredients come from can be as drastic as life or death. And proper species nutrition is just as important as the quality of the food supply for your pet’s health and well-being. (See “Do You Know What’s In Your Pet’s Food?” on page 36 for more information on why nutrition is so critical for pet quality of life and longevity.) 

As a resource for the pet loving community, it was essential for PAWS Chicago to be at the forefront of pet nutrition. As a result, the organization sought out a partnership with a top tier pet food company, and found a tremendous partner in one of the leaders in pet nutrition: Merrick Pet Care. Beginning December 1, Merrick will be generously providing PAWS Chicago with the excellence and quality of their pet food for all PAWS homeless pets. 

“PAWS Chicago has a proven record of helping pets in need and we are pleased to partner with them to feed homeless pets awaiting their forever homes,” says Greg Shearson, chief executive officer of Merrick Pet Care, Inc. “Together, we can better help pets not only survive, but thrive through feeding them more wholesome, natural and nutritious foods.” 

As PAWS Chicago’s exclusive feeding partner, Merrick will provide all of the meals to each resident cat and dog at both PAWS Chicago, and to PAWS Chicago North Shore (projected to open mid- 2014), as they begin the journey to find a new home. From their first meal at the PAWS Chicago Rescue & Recovery Center, right on through to adoption day, each PAWS pet will enjoy healthy recipes made in Merrick’s own kitchens with locally sourced USDA-inspected deboned meat, fresh produce and high-quality protein. Merrick uses no ingredients from China, the source of the 2007 pet food recalls. 

“PAWS Chicago is committed to ensuring the health and happiness of every pet in our adoption program,” says Paula Fasseas, PAWS Chicago founder. “We are proud to provide the pets in our care with Merrick pet food during their stay and provide a foundation of health and nutrition that we hope will continue for the rest of their lives.” 

Merrick Pet Care is guided by one mission: to create superior, nutrition based products that improve the lives of pets, and their parents. “As animal lovers ourselves, we know that pets change people’s lives,” says Shearson, We are very proud to be partners with PAWS Chicago to do our part to help more families welcome healthy, happier pets into Chicago homes.” 

Merrick’s help and commitment to homeless pets doesn’t stop at the PAWS Chicago doors. In addition to supporting the shelter-feeding program, they will help each new family kick-off a healthy at home eating program by arming each adopter with a supply of dry food for the transition to their new home. PAWS Chicago’s Merrick Pet Feeding program will optimize the health of PAWS Chicago pets. 

Why Merrick is Different

Merrick's collection of dog recipes are made using only the freshest, locally grown ingredients. The company spent several years reinventing its formulas using the latest nutrition research, conducting an exhaustive review of farmers and suppliers, and developing quality assurance standards with its expert recipe tasters: the dogs on the kitchen crew. 

Merrick's recipes are built around five key promises: 

LOCAL GROWERS: Merrick uses no ingredients from China, only ingredients grown by American farmers and ranchers. This not only supports local communities, but also ensures freshness and food safety. With fewer distributors, handlers and warehouses, farm-grown ingredients get to Merrick's kitchens faster. 

NUTRITIOUS REAL WHOLE FOODS: Merrick uses food in its purest state - with no artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives. Real meat provides essential amino acids dogs need; omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids ('healthy fats") provide energy; and vegetables, fruits and whole grains enhance dogs' overall nutrition, absorption of nutrients and immune system function. 

COOKED IN MERRICK’S OWN KITCHENS: Putting cooking and quality control under one roof, Merrick cooks food in small batches in its kitchens in Hereford, Texas to ensure its foods exceed taste, health and presentation ratings. 

BALANCED NUTRITION: Merrick Classic recipes feature a healthy balance of 60 percent meat/poultry/fish, 20 percent fruits and vegetables, and 20 percent whole grains. Its Grain Free recipes feature a balance of 70 percent meat/ poultry/fish, 30 percent fruits and vegetables, and contain no wheat, rice or other grains, for dogs who have food allergies or sensitivities. 

HEALTH YOU CAN SEE: Since the adage "you are what you eat" applies to both people and pets, Merrick uses industry-leading levels of protein and healthy fats to ensure dogs' optimal weight and energy; omega fatty acids for healthier skin and coat; glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy bones and joints; and highly digestible meat proteins, peas, apples and blueberries for improved digestion. 

Merrick pet food is available at Petco, independent pet specialty stores and at select online retailers via