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Royal Canin Dog Food Review – Pros, Cons, Recalls, and FAQ

Royal Canin Dog Food Review
Our Final Verdict

We give Royal Canin dog food a rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars.

Royal Canin is easily one of the most popular dog food brands out there. They produce tons of different recipes, including many that are breed-specific. Therefore, many dog owners are drawn to them because of their very specific nutrition.

However, there are some negatives about this brand as well. For instance, they tend to be extremely expensive. They also utilize some controversial ingredients, like gluten meal.

For this reason, we recommend that you keep reading to find out if this brand is suitable for your canine.

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At a Glance: The Best Royal Canin Dog Food Recipes:

Image Product Details
Winner
Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Prebiotics included
  • Veterinary recommended
  • Doesn’t cause food allergies
  • Second place
    Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever
  • Suitable for weight control
  • Added taurine, EPA, and DHA
  • Third place
    Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Formula Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Formula
  • Small kibble size
  • Added fatty acids
  • Size Health Nutrition Medium Adult Size Health Nutrition Medium Adult
  • Maintains healthy skin
  • Promotes dog digestive health
  • Optimal levels of EPA and DHA
  • Veterinary Diet Adult Gastrointestinal Veterinary Diet Adult Gastrointestinal
  • Helps manage GI health
  • Contains low fat content
  • Highly digestible proteins and prebiotics
  • Royal Canin Dog Food Reviewed

    Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

    Who Makes Royal Canin and Where Is It Produced?

    Royal Canin owns its own production facilities in Missouri and South Dakota. All of their pet food distributed in the United States is made at these company-owned plants. Therefore, this company determines the safety guidelines for their own food.

    Plus, there are also fewer middlemen, which often leads to higher quality food.

    Which Types of Dogs is Royal Canin Best Suited For?

    This brand produces many different dog foods. Therefore, just about any canine may find a suitable recipe. This brand is best known for its veterinary diets, which are best for canines with serious health problems. These formulas often require a veterinary prescription, so they aren’t great for just any dog out there.

    They also have breed-specific formulas. However, these tend to be expensive. Plus, they usually don’t have many positives for that particular breed. For instance, this brand often advertises special kibble shapes for certain breeds, but this isn’t necessary (or even helpful) in the least. There is no evidence that different kibble shapes are useful for certain breeds.

    Their more generalized formulas are based on the breed size. For instance, they have a small breed formula. These formulas are best for dogs of that size, of course. However, just because your dog is small doesn’t mean that their small breed formula is best for them.

    Which Types of Dogs Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

    Royal Canin recipes tend to be expensive and don’t always contain better ingredients. However, their veterinary formulas are great and difficult to find elsewhere. If your dog has a specific health condition or is sickly, then this brand may be a great option for you.

    However, for the average dog, you could likely find something cheaper and with better ingredients. Just because this brand has a formula for your breed doesn’t necessarily make that the best choice.

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    Discussion of Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Despite the price tag, Royal Canin isn’t known for using great ingredients. In fact, many of their ingredients are pretty low-quality.

    For instance, most of their formulas include brown rice or a similar grain as the first ingredient. While brown rice is a whole grain and provides plenty of fiber, we don’t recommend it in huge amounts. Dogs need protein and fat, as well. Brown rice doesn’t include high amounts of either of these macronutrients.

    Grains are often not bad for dogs, but your canine doesn’t need to eat mostly grains.

    Chicken by-products are also used heavily in these foods. By-products are not a high-quality protein source, as they are often not very digestible. By-products also include fewer important amino acids than whole chicken or chicken meal.

    With that said, the by-product utilized is a concentrate. Therefore, it does include more protein and amino acids than your average by-product source. However, it is still less absorbable, which means that a lot of the protein will simply pass through your dog’s digestive system.

    Lots of other grain sources are used, too. Some are whole grains, while others are not. Brewer rice is a common ingredient. This rice isn’t necessarily bad for your dog, as it does include some nutritional content. However, moderation is key.

    Lots of plant-based protein sources are utilized, as well. Some of these are very high-quality and absorbable, like corn gluten meal. However, others are lower-quality, like wheat gluten.

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    A Quick Look at Royal Canin Dog Food

    Pros
    • Lots of formulas available
    • Made in the USA
    • Veterinary diets
    Cons
    • Very expensive
    • Poor ingredients in general
    • Low protein content

    Recall History

    Royal Canin has had several recalls over the years. Some of these are notable, while others were very small.

    In May and April of 2007, this brand was part of the huge melamine recall that affected most dog food companies. This recall was the result of a supplier problem that caused the rice to be contaminated with melamine.

    Several dogs got sick from this recall. However, Royal Canin wasn’t the only dog food brand affected. It seemed to be an industry-wide problem.

    In February 2006, Royal Canin had to recall several canned dog foods as they contained excessive levels of vitamin D3. This did lead to the death of several animals and the sickness of dozens of others. The problem was with the supplier that premixed the vitamins.

    However, the company did have a very transparent way of handling the crisis. In fact, it has been described as a “textbook example” of how dog food companies should handle recalls.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Royal Canin Dog Food Recipes

    1. Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

    Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

    The Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food is a good example of this company’s breed-specific dog food. Therefore, we decided to use it as an example.

    This food is extremely expensive when compared to other options out there. You’re going to be paying double or even triple the price of other brands, including brands commonly described as “premium”. It is designed specifically for Golden Retrievers over 15 months of age (before then, they should be consuming a puppy formula).

    Like most breed-specific brands, the kibble shape is “unique”. However, there is no evidence that this shape is important for Golden Retrievers.

    This formula does feature quite a few additions for heart health, including taurine, EPA, and DHA. Golden Retrievers are prone to these conditions, so their addition is helpful for many dogs. Calories and fat are also lower than most formulas to encourage a healthy weight.

    However, the ingredient list isn’t the best. Brown rice appears as the first ingredient. The only meat protein is chicken by-product meal. There are tons of grains included, as well, including wheat.

    Pros
    • Added taurine, EPA, and DHA
    • Suitable for weight control
    Cons
    • Very expensive
    • By-products as the only meat source
    • Low in protein

    2. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Dog Food

    Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Dog Food

    As an example of a veterinary diet, we also reviewed Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Dog Food. This formula includes hydrolyzed protein for dogs with severe food allergies. These proteins cannot cause allergic reactions, which is vital for dogs that are allergic to many different things.

    This formula includes prebiotics, as well, which can help with your dog’s digestive system. However, it does not include any probiotics.

    With that said, the first ingredient in this food is brewer’s rice, not protein. Therefore, the protein is lower than in other formulas. Your dog is mostly consuming this rice, after all. The protein used is soy. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, soy does have a lower digestibility than other proteins.

    Plus, this formula is extremely expensive. However, hydrolyzed protein is expensive to make, so this is to be expected to some extent.

    Pros
    • Doesn’t cause food allergies
    • Prebiotics included
    • Veterinary recommended
    Cons
    • Very expensive
    • Brewers rice as the first ingredient
    • No animal protein

    3. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Formula

    Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Formula

    For smaller dogs, Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Formula may be on your list to look at. However, like with other Royal Canin formulas, the ingredient list is pretty disappointing. Corn is the first ingredient. Luckily, this ingredient is actually pretty high-quality, as most dogs can absorb the nutrients from corn pretty well.

    However, that doesn’t mean that corn works well as the first ingredient.

    The only meat source is chicken by-product meal. As you’d guess, this isn’t high-quality in the least. Varies types of rice as also included, as well as wheat gluten. This concentrated plant protein contributes a lot of protein to your dog’s food, though it may not be as absorbable as other types of protein.

    EPA and DHA are both added to this formula. Therefore, it does include some extra fatty acids that may be helpful for your dog’s coat. The kibble size is also smaller, as you’d expect from a small breed formulation.

    Pros
    • Small kibble size
    • Added fatty acids
    Cons
    • Corn as the first ingredient
    • Low-quality ingredients
    • High in plant-based protein

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    What Other Users Are Saying

    Despite the poor ingredients, many customers did say too many bad things about this brand. Those who purchased recipes expecting high-quality ingredients were a bit disappointed, though. There are several negative reviews on Royal Canin recipes stating that the ingredient list was not worth the price.

    Several also reported increased stool content, though some did misinterpret this as good. Increased stool means that your dog is absorbing less from their food and producing more waste, which is not a good thing in most cases.

    The taste of Royal Canin seems to be lacking. One reviewer said that her dog simply spits the Small Breed recipe back out.

    Generally, the biggest negative was that the formulas tend to be overpriced.

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    Conclusion

    Royal Canin recipes do meet the dietary needs of most dogs. They also create veterinary formulas that treat a variety of different conditions, making them a good choice for dogs that have underlying health conditions.

    However, their foods tend to be quite overpriced and full of sub-standard ingredients. Therefore, we cannot rate them as high as other brands. We do recommend their veterinary formula for dogs with health problems. For your average dog, though, you’ll better off using a different brand.

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