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Royal Canin Dog Food Review

Dog Food Nutrition March 31, 2020

Royal Canin Dog Food Review

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Royal Canin is a subsidiary of Mars, Inc., one of the largest pet food companies in the world. Royal Canin is a French company that makes dog and cat foods, selling to an international market.

The company is known for its emphasis on science and nutrition, undertaking research into the formulation and testing of breed and symptom-specific nutritional requirements of pets.

It makes literally dozens of different kinds of foods for dogs of all ages, sizes, breeds, and health conditions. Find out if Royal Canin would be the right food for your dog with our unbiased review.

Royal Canin Dog Food – Top 5 Recipes Reviewed

Brand Score

Royal Canin Dog Food
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
  • Royal Canin makes a multitude of dog foods for dogs of all sizes, breeds, and lifestyles
  • Royal Canin makes its own foods at its own manufacturing facilities
  • The company invests in nutritional research and has veterinary nutritionists on staff. Royal Canin foods have been recommended by veterinary cardiologists who are researching the dietary form of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs
Cons
  • Royal Canin does not typically use gourmet, “natural,” or “boutique” ingredients that some other companies use; they use corn and some other ingredients that might be objectionable to some dog lovers
  • The company does not discuss where they source their ingredients
  • Royal Canin makes so many different foods that it can be confusing trying to select the right food for your dog
Pros
  • Royal Canin makes a multitude of dog foods for dogs of all sizes, breeds, and lifestyles
  • Royal Canin makes its own foods at its own manufacturing facilities
  • The company invests in nutritional research and has veterinary nutritionists on staff. Royal Canin foods have been recommended by veterinary cardiologists who are researching the dietary form of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs
Cons
  • Royal Canin does not typically use gourmet, “natural,” or “boutique” ingredients that some other companies use; they use corn and some other ingredients that might be objectionable to some dog lovers
  • The company does not discuss where they source their ingredients
  • Royal Canin makes so many different foods that it can be confusing trying to select the right food for your dog
Ingredients
Overall Quality
Customer Experience
Recall History
Formulation
Nutritional Standards
Research
Price

Our reviews are based on extensive research and years of professional knowledge of dog food brands. In order to remain objective, we do not accept gifts of free products or write sponsored posts on this site.

We’ve examined Royal Canin dog foods closely and graded the brand according to the PupJunkies.com standard. Our criteria include ingredients, quality, customer experience, recall history, working with veterinary nutritionists to formulate the food, nutritional standards, research, and price.

About Royal Canin

Founded in France in 1968, Royal Canin has always placed an emphasis on science and nutrition. The company has never tried to make dog food with ingredients that look like foods humans would eat.

At Royal Canin, they operate with the idea that animals have unique nutritional needs. Nutrients in dog food are more important than ingredients that look tasty.

Royal Canin also focuses on nutritional research for pets to make foods healthier.

The company produces a vast number of foods for dogs of different breeds, sizes, ages, and special health needs. They also produce veterinary foods that require a prescription.

Sourcing and Manufacturing

Royal Canin was founded in 1968 in France by a veterinarian who wanted to produce a science-based pet food. After much growth and several sales, Royal Canin was purchased by Mars, Incorporated in 2001.

Their global headquarters is still in France and the food is sold around the world. In the United States their headquarter is in St. Charles, Missouri.

The company appears to have 16 manufacturing plants located around the world at this time. Products for the North American market are produced at facilities in Missouri, South Dakota, and in Canada.

Royal Canin doesn’t specify where they obtain their products. This is their response to a question about sourcing: “Ingredients for Royal Canin products are selected based on multiple different factors, including the suppliers’ compliance with our quality and food safety requirements, consistent availability and nutrients available. Royal Canin is making strides towards sustainability by attempting to obtain raw ingredients as close to each manufacturing facility as possible.

Royal Canin has a good reputation for quality assurance and food safety.

Recall History

Royal Canin had two recalls in 2007 due to melamine in some of their pet foods (dog and cat foods).

In 2006 the FDA issued a for a number of Royal Canin Veterinary Diets due to excessive levels of Vitamin D3.

You can see a list of the products involved in these recalls here.

What kinds of dog food does Royal Canin offer?

Royal Canin makes dry kibble, wet/canned food, food in pouches, and treats/biscuits. They make the following foods:

  • Foods by age (puppies, adult dogs, mature dogs)
  • Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition: Foods by breed (24 breeds on the Royal Canin web site; many breeds have multiple foods for puppies, adults, etc.)
  • Kibble and wet foods
  • Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition: Foods based on size (very small, small, medium, large, very large)
  • Special needs (13 categories, many with multiple food options)

Royal Canin currently lists 127 dog foods in the retail foods on their web site. There are also 39 dog foods on their veterinary food pages (not listed here), though these foods require a prescription.

Royal Canin Dog Food: TopFiveRecipes Reviewed

We’re taking a look at of the top-selling Royal Canin dog foods as found on Chewy.com so you can have a good idea what some of these different formulas are like.

Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 22% Min
  • Fat – 17% Min
  • Fiber – 5.5% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food is formulated specifically for the nutritional needs of adult German Shepherds. Royal Canin makes a number of dog foods for specific breeds.

Here are the ingredients in this formula:

Brewers Rice, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brown Rice, Oat Groats, Chicken Fat, Pork Meal, Natural Flavors, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Wheat Gluten, Fish Oil, Vegetable Oil, vitamins, minerals …

Brewers rice contains the same nutrition as other rice but it is broken so it doesn’t look good enough to sell as rice for humans. Many people will be put off by seeing this ingredient as the first one listed. Chicken by-product meal should contain good chicken protein.

Natural flavors and powdered cellulose are of some concern. Natural flavors is a vague term and can include ingredients that form monosodium glutamate (MSG). Powdered cellulose in dog food is an insoluble fiber that comes from trees.

Yes, really. It is described as “purified, mechanically disintegrated cellulose . . . from fibrous plant materials.” Dogs do need fiber in their diet but some people will balk at the use of wood fiber.

Regardless of what the ingredients may look like or the fact that you and I wouldn’t want to eat them, this food is specifically designed for adult German Shepherds. Many of these dogs can have some digestive issues.

This food is the number one selling Royal Canin breed dog food on Chewy.com, with hundreds of enthusiastic reviews. This is repeated again and again for Royal Canin breed dog foods.

According to the dry matter basis (DMB), this food has 24.4 percent protein, 18.9 percent fat, and 6.1 percent fiber. This formula has 42.2 percent carbohydrates. It has 321 kcal/cup.

Our rating for this food is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Royal Canin Giant Junior Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 29% Min
  • Fat – 14% Min
  • Fiber – 3.4% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Royal Canin Giant Junior Dry Dog Food is another bestseller on Chewy.com. This food is based on Royal Canin’s size health nutrition for dogs.

It’s made for young dogs who will weigh more than 100 pounds as adults. For example, giant dogs can take a long time to reach maturity.

In the case of giant dogs such as the Saint Bernard and other similar dogs, Royal Canin makes foods for giant puppies, junior giant dogs, and adult giant dogs. The junior dog formula is for young dogs between 8 and 18-24 months of age so it fills an important growth period.

Here are the ingredients in this food:

Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice Flour, Brewers Rice, Corn, Wheat Gluten, Chicken Fat, Corn Gluten Meal, Natural Flavors, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Fish Oil, Vegetable Oil, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Psyllium Seed Husk, L-Lysine, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharides, vitamins, minerals …

Higher in protein and slightly lower in calories, with a good calcium to phosphorus ratio, this food is designed for healthy bone growth in young giant dogs.

This food has 32.2 percent protein and 15.6 percent fat, according to the dry matter basis (DMB). It has 3.8 percent fiber. Our estimate of the carbohydrates in the food came out to 40.7 percent, DMB. It contains 307 kcal per cup.

Rated 4 out of 5 stars.

Royal Canin Large Digestive Care Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 26% Min
  • Fat – 16% Min
  • Fiber – 3.8% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Royal Canin Large Digestive Care Dry Dog Food is formulated for large dogs with sensitive digestive. No prescription is necessary for this food. This formula is one of Royal Canin’s foods for dogs with special needs.

It is made for dogs that weigh between 56 and 100 pounds.

You can take a look at the ingredients:

Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors, Brewers Rice Flour, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Wheat Gluten, Pea Fiber, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Vegetable Oil, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Psyllium Seed Husk, Hydrolyzed Yeast, vitamins, minerals …

We’ve already mentioned some of the ingredients of concern highlighted in this food. This food also contains pea fiber which could be a special concern in light of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s investigation into dietary dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

Some large breed dogs already have a genetic predisposition to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)so owners do need to be careful about feeding the ingredients mentioned in the investigation. However, since pea fiber is the 11th ingredient here and it’s the only ingredient included, it’s unlikely to be a problem.

According to the dry matter analysis for this food, it has 28.9 percent protein, 17.8 percent fat, 4.2 percent fiber, 41.3 percent carbohydrates, and 343 kcal per cup.

Our rating for this food is 4 out of 5 stars.

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult +8 Dry Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 25% Min
  • Fat – 14% Min
  • Fiber – 3.5% Max
  • Moisture – 10% Max

Ingredients:

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult +8 Dry Dog Food is made for small dogs that are age eight years and older. As dogs get older their metabolism can change and they can have different nutritional needs than they had when they were younger.

For dogs 8 to 12 years old, weighing between 9 and 22 pounds.

You can take a look at the ingredients:

Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Fat, Brown Rice, Brewers Rice Flour, Natural Flavors, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Wheat Gluten, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, vitamins, minerals …

One of the nice things about this food for small older dogs is that unlike many senior dog foods, this food supplies a good amount of protein and calories for your older dog. Not all older dogs are overweight and many dogs remain active as they get older. They need good nutrition and calories for energy.

According to the dry matter analysis for this food, it has 27.8 percent protein, 15.6 percent fat, 3.9 percent fiber, 45 percent carbohydrates, and 343 kcal per cup.

Our rating for this food is 4 out of 5 stars.

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Loaf in Sauce Canned Dog Food

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein – 6.6% Min
  • Fat – 4.6% Min
  • Fiber – 2.3% Max
  • Moisture – 81.5% Max

Ingredients:

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Loaf in Sauce Canned Dog Food is one of Royal Canin’s breed formulas. In this case it’s a wet/canned food.

It’s made for Shih Tzu that are over 10 months of age and it supports their skin and coat health. This is a loaf in sauce recipe.

You can take a look at the ingredients:

Water Sufficient For Processing, Pork By-Products, Chicken, Chicken By-Products, Pork Liver, Corn Flour, Powdered Cellulose, Vegetable Oil, Fish Oil, Carrageenan, Natural Flavors, Carob Bean Gum, Potassium Phosphate, Taurine, vitamins, minerals …

Carrageenan, which is made from kelp or seaweed, is widely used as a gel or food stabilizer in many foods such as ice cream, salad dressing, and wet/canned dog foods. It also thickens foods.

There is some debate about it and whether it might be harmful to the digestive system. It’s found in many canned/wet dog foods.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers this ingredient to be safe at this time.

According to the dry matter analysis for this food, it has 35.1 percent protein, 24.7 percent fat, 12.4 percent fiber, 11.3 percent carbohydrates, and 79 kcal per 3-ounce can

Our rating for this food is 3.5 out of 5 stars.

How much does Royal Canin Dog Food cost?

Royal Canin foods are priced comparably to many other premium dog foods. They cost slightly more than Purina Pro Plan dog foods which we consider to be similar.

What do customers think of Royal Canin Dog Food?

Royal Canin dog foods get high ratings from most customers. Dog food critics dislike some of the ingredients used in the foods but results count when it comes to dog food. Many people report that Royal Canin foods keep their dogs healthy and happy.

Overall, is Royal Canin Dog Food a good choice?

We think that Royal Canin dog foods are mostly good foods, with few exceptions. Royal Canin places an emphasis on the nutrition in the food instead of ingredients that sound good enough for humans to eat.

The company has good quality control. As one of the biggest pet food companies in the world, they have had remarkably few recalls or problems in their history.

They also invest in pet food research to make their foods better. We recommend Royal Canin foods.

Where is Royal Canin Dog Food sold?

You can buy Royal Canin dog foods from Chewy.com and other online retailers as well as many pet stores.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and is the author of several books about dogs. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.
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