A Healthy Backcountry Buddy

June 15, 2015

What you feed your dog is more important than you think

This post is brought to you in partnership with Merrick Pet Care. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Three years ago, when we first started the “let’s get a dog” conversation, I did a lot of research on some of my favorite breeds and really compared their traits with our lifestyle. Having grown up with a Newfoundland, I knew I wanted a big dog so that really narrowed down my search.

The traits I was looking for included: Active but able to be home during the day and not destroy the house out of boredom, protective but not aggressive, sweet and cuddly but not too slobbery, and trainable but with some good personality and humor.

I scoured the newspapers, shelters and Craigslist in search of the perfect puppy. And then, on a chilly day in February, 2012, we drove out to Mead, Washington to meet Juneau for the first time. There was no way I was leaving without her.


Every breed has their thing. Pugs have wrinkles that need extra cleaning. Water dogs can easily get yeast infections in their ears if you don’t clean them properly. Purebreds are more prone to genetic diseases and cancer. And large breeds tend to have issues with their joints.

As people, we know that eating right and exercising play a large part in preventing some of these same issues. Knowing this, I wanted to make sure our little Junebug was getting the proper nutrition to be the best adventure buddy possible and keep her healthy into adulthood. Before bringing her home, I visited our local experts at the Good Dog store to get a little dog food education.

While there, I learned what I needed to look for:

  • High-quality proteins support lean muscle growth and leads to increased energy levels
  • Grain-free ingredients help to avoid issues like gluten intolerances, chronic skin conditions and stomach distress
  • Fats and amino acids contribute to a healthier skin and coat
  • Nutrient-dense formulas allow for smaller servings to help with weight management

Fast forward to May, 2015. Juneau and I were recruited to try out Merrick’s new Backcountry dog food line. Not only does it offer all the nutritious benefits above, but it’s actually made with real freeze-dried meat in the kibble and fresh veggies and whole meat bites in the canned food. For the past month I think Juneau has had a healthier diet than me, and it shows.

We were happy with the food we fed Juneau before, but she loves the real salmon bits in the Pacific Catch kibble. Even Zooey, our kitty, has been sneaking a piece here and there when Juneau isn’t paying attention.

Juneau’s coat is shiny and healthy, her energy levels are great, and I feel good knowing that I’m doing all I can as a dog-mom to ensure her the best health possible as she gets older. Merrick also offers treats like dental chews (which have a Berner on the bag!) and I can’t wait to get her some.


As part of our partnership with Merrick, we’re putting their product to the test with a fun adventure in the near future. Stay tuned and follow the hashtag #Wild4Backcountry to see the fun Juneau and all the other great dogs are sharing for their #Wild4BackCountry adventures.

Be sure to share all your backcountry adventures on our Facebook page and use #stuckinnorthidaho on Instagram and Twitter to connect.

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More about Andy

I'm a north-Idahoan, a WSU grad, local writer, content marketing specialist and photographer with a passion for where I live. I love the outdoors, animals, good food, wine, and time spent with my husband, family and friends.

3 Comments
      1. Thanks Carmen! I think I took too many pics of her as a puppy, she totally poses for the camera now.

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