Everyone and their dog knows about Royal Canin or at least heard about the household name. The brand is known for creating science-backed recipes that support perfect health from weaning into adulthood and maturity. Still, there's plenty of speculation and debate about the ingredient quality and Royal Canin prescription dog food efficacy. Today I'm going to lift the veil and share hard data along with personal experience and results of extensive online research to help you find the perfect formula for your pooch.

Who Makes Royal Canin Dog Food?

A French veterinarian, Jean Cathary, came up with the idea that food could affect the pets' health and created 'yellow soup' for dogs in 1968, laying the foundation for the Royal Canin brand. It took six years for the company to scale production and expand beyond the French borders, but in 1974 Royal Canin kibble was sold across eight European countries. And the expansion to the American market took another 11 years to succeed in 1985.

Since the 1990s, the brand changed hands several times, and in 2002 it became a part of Mars Inc. The first Royal Canin breed-specific dog food for Yorkshire terriers came out that same year to become an instant hit. A year later, in 2003, the first Veterinary diet products were launched to address severe health issues via nutritional changes.

All the while, the company succeeded without a wet food range that came to life only in 2009. The year held another milestone for the company, as it opened the ninth manufacturing facility worldwide. The launch of the plant in China signified Royal Canin's presence across five continents.

Royal Canin Retail Dog Food Reviews

Royal Canin Retail Dog Food Reviews

What I love most about Royal Canin is their devotion to our dogs' health regardless of their humans' misconceptions. The company formulates kibble based on decades of careful observation, research, and testing, all without humanizing the canines or substituting their nutritional needs with those of their owners. Continued research and improvements mean that recipes are bound to change from time to time, but they tend to become even better.

All six of the products below are from the Royal Canin adult dog food lineup, though each has a version tailored to puppies' breed-specific needs. Pay attention to the specs, though, as the transition from puppy to adult kibble occurs at different times for small, medium, and large breeds.

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food

  • 22% protein and 17% fat
  • DHA and EPA-infused formula
  • Comes with glucosamine and chondroitin

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Chihuahua Adult Dry Dog Food

  • High-protein recipe
  • Infused with Omega acids, biotin, DHA, and EPA
  • Grain-based formula with a healthy fiber content

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Boxer Adult Dry Dog Food

  • High-protein recipe with L-carnitine
  • Wavy kibble designed for boxer jaws
  • Cardiac health supported by taurine, DHA, and EPA

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Shih Tzu Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Designed with biotin and Omega acids
  • Removes poop odor issues
  • Rich in protein for active pups

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Super-rich in protein and light on fat
  • Ideal to beat skin irritation and itchiness
  • Joints health support with glucosamine and chondroitin

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Bulldog Adult Dry Dog Food

  • Perfect protein/fat/carbs ratio
  • Supplemented with nutrients for coat and skin health
  • Glucosamine, chondroitin, EPA, and DHA inside

Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Watch your German Shepherd grow strong, energetic, and beautiful with this highly nutritious formula packed with healthy goodies for joints, bones, and skin health.

High-quality kibble for large breeds includes a healthy combination of protein, fat, and fiber to promote trouble-free digestion. Besides, Royal Canin German Shepherd Dog Food comes with the help of DHA and EPA for a lush coat and irritation-free skin, as well as supplements for flexible and strong joints and bones. Despite brewers rice being the first on the ingredients list, the kibble is plenty nutritious with up to 22% protein and a moderate caloric value, perfect for large breeds' slow metabolism.

The most common complaint I've noticed is kibble size, which can be a bit much for young dogs. So if your pup doesn't get excited to try this kibble, try substituting some with Royal Canin wet dog food. There are plenty of breed-specific and universal formulas out there. Grains and yeast presence is another highly controversial point. Without feeding the flames, I'll leave it at a recommendation to avoid this food if your Shepherd is sensitive to yeast or grains.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 321 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 22% min
  • Crude fat: 17% min
  • Crude fiber: 5.5% max
  • First 6 ingredients: Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, brown rice, oat groats, chicken fat, pork meal

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: Large breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult (15+ months)
  • Weight: 17, 30-pound bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Healthy protein-to-fiber ratio for good digestion
  • Star-shaped kibble to promote chewing
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin to support bone and joint strength

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Kibble pieces may be too large
  • Grains and yeast could provoke allergies

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Chihuahua Adult Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Treat your tiny furball to a diet tailored to her needs: rich in protein and digestion-supportive, supplemented with healthy goodies, and free of artificial colors and flavors.

Delicate yet packed with deliciousness – that's what this kibble is. Its teensy pieces are perfect for tiny breeds. The formula is attuned to their needs, from increased protein content to satisfy the heightened metabolism to an extra serving of Omega fatty acids and biotin to keep the coat shiny and the skin – free of irritations.

Like literally any other kibble, Royal Canin Chihuahua dog food has its fair share of complaints by fussy eaters' owners. The grain sensitivity is a much more urgent issue, and you should definitely consult a vet before switching to this formula if your pup is prone to allergic reactions.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 323 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 26% min
  • Crude fat: 14% min
  • Crude fiber: 3.6% max
  • First 7 ingredients: Corn, chicken by-product meal, wheat gluten, oat groats, brewers rice, chicken fat, brown rice

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: Toy, extra-small, and small breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult (8+ months)
  • Weight: 2.5, 10-pound bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Tiny kibble pieces tailored to small jaws
  • Shiny coat thanks to Omega-3, EPA, DHA, and biotin
  • Digestible protein and fiber for healthy GI tract
  • Big on aroma and flavor without artificial ingredients

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • May not suit fussy eaters
  • Grain-sensitivity could be an issue

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Boxer Adult Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Protect your boxer from cardiac issues and keep him lean and strong with a formula infused with taurine, antioxidants, and L-carnitine tailored with his needs in mind.

Cardiomyopathy and other cardiac conditions are common among purebred boxers, but this Royal Canin recipe can mitigate the risks. Thanks to a balanced combination of protein and L-carnitine, your pup will retain lean muscles, while taurine and antioxidants will keep his heart and arteries healthy. Even if the formula seems to have lots of grains, you have to trust decades of research that went into the ingredients list.

While this Royal Canin Boxer dog food is perfect for young and adult canines, mature pooches seem to struggle with wavy kibble pieces, according to many reviews. And individual allergic reactions are always a risk you take when switching kibble, so keep an eye out for vomiting and stool changes.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 335 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 24% min
  • Crude fat: 18% min
  • Crude fiber: 4.1% max
  • First 7 ingredients: Brown rice, brewers rice, chicken fat, chicken by-product meal, oat groats, wheat gluten, pork meal

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size:Large breed
  • Life Stage: Adult (15+ months)
  • Weight: 17, 30-pound bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Increased protein content and L-carnitine for lean muscle
  • Antioxidants to promote cellular regeneration
  • Cardiac health supported by taurine, EPA, and DHA
  • Wave-shaped kibble for comfortable chewing

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Not for sensitive tummies
  • Senior boxers struggle with large kibble pieces

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Shih Tzu Adult Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Feed the gorgeous coat from within with this high-protein and high-energy formula tailored to the increased metabolism and nutritional demands of your favorite furball.

Royal Canin Shih Tzu dog food is designed to make your furball look even more gorgeous with a lustrous coat supported by biotin and Omega fatty acids. The clever formula is tailored to the pup's needs with increased digestible protein content and plenty of calories to burn through with a high metabolism. While vitamins and minerals ensure health and longevity, natural plant extracts keep the poop and urine smell barely perceptible.

If your pup is too fussy to give this formula a try, consider switching to an all-purpose Royal Canin small dog food. As always, consult the vet before making the transition and stay watchful for digestive issues. Liquid stool could make an appearance within the first few days, but it should go away fast.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 355 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 22% min
  • Crude fat: 18% min
  • Crude fiber: 4.7% max
  • First 6 ingredients: Brewers rice, brown rice, chicken by-product meal, chicken fat, oat groats, wheat gluten

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size:Toy, extra-small, and small breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult (10+ months)
  • Weight: 2.5, 10-pound bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Well-balanced protein-to-fat ratio
  • Shiny coat thanks to Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and biotin
  • Significant poop odor reduction
  • Complete with vitamins and minerals

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Watch out for digestive issues during transition
  • Not fussy-eater-proof

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Keep your Lab strong and fit with an extra-protein-rich formula that's light on fat yet full of healthy supplements to keep the coat shiny and the skin – irritation-free.

Labradors need extra protein to support their active lifestyles, and Royal Canin delivers. And they cut down on fat content too, to keep your pooch lean and strong without those pesky extra pounds. It also seems like the brand uncovered the secret to healthy skin and coat, as the number of glowing reviews commenting on reduced irritation and itchiness blew me away.

If you switch your pooch from puppy to adult Royal Canin Labrador Retriever dog food, the size difference may be a shock. Some dogs take weeks to get used to new kibble that's supposed to promote chewing and improve digestion. While that may be true, some dogs experience excessive gassiness after the switch.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 275 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 32% min
  • Crude fat: 10% min
  • Crude fiber: 12% max
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, brown rice, oat groats, corn gluten meal, brewers rice

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: Large breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult (15+ months)
  • Weight: 17, 30-pound bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Extra-high-protein formula enriched with L-carnitine
  • EPA, DHA, glucosamine, chondroitin for bone and joints health
  • Limited fat content to prevent weight gain
  • Donut-shaped kibble for slower chewing

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Extreme kibble size difference between puppy and adult formula
  • May cause extra smelly gas

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Bulldog Adult Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Keep your cute Bulldog strong and happy with a balanced, protein-rich recipe formulated for trouble-free digestion and joints and skin health.

While this product falls under Royal Canin medium dog food, it's rich with join-health supplements, like EPA and DHA. And your bulldog's stocky frame will be extra thankful for that a few years down the road. Besides, the formula is lean enough to prevent weight gain, and the fiber and protein combination promotes easy digestion. So you can forget about your favorite pooch stinking up your home.

Some reviews of Royal Canin dog food for Bulldogs claim the kibble pieces are too big, and the pet parents have to cut them up into three or more pieces to prevent choking. At least, the wavy design is easier for bulldog's flat faces to pick up and chew than traditional round kibble pieces. And the variety of bag sizes will fit any Bulldog: American, English, or British.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 277 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 22% min
  • Crude fat: 12% min
  • Crude fiber: 4.1% max
  • First 7 ingredients: Brewers rice, oat groats, chicken by-product meal, brown rice, wheat gluten, chicken fat, pork meal

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: Medium breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult (12+ months)
  • Weight: 6, 17, 30-pound bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Well-balanced formula for ideal weight
  • Digestible protein and fiber for clockwork digestion
  • Joints health support thanks to EPA and DHA
  • Wave-shaped pieces are easy on short, flat canine faces

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Kibble pieces may be too big for some dogs
  • Not for canines with grain, soy, or chicken sensitivity

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Review

The veterinary line of dog food products is even more extensive than the Breed Health lineup. So I'll focus on three common health issues and best-selling products prescribed to deal with digestive, urinary and skin health troubles caused by allergic reactions or food sensitivity.

While you can freely purchase Royal Canin weight control dog food, the veterinary line is only available with a prescription. So even if you decide to buy Royal Canin diabetic dog food online, you'll need to provide a photo or scan of a prescription or share the vet's details for a follow-up. This policy is in place to prevent undiagnosed treatment and the worsening of the dogs' conditions.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Forget about digestive troubles with a carefully formulated kibble that's easy on the pup's tummy, low on fat, and still nutritious enough to keep him healthy and energetic.

Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Low Fat dog food works great for highly sensitive pups who have trouble digesting fat and need an extra boost to keep their tummies happy. This formula provides plenty of energy while keeping the fat content low and supplementing the pooch with prebiotics, antioxidants, and Omega fatty acids to keep the GI tract working like clockwork. Vomiting and diarrhea should become the things of the past.

One of the common issues with Royal Canin Gastrointestinal dog food is somewhat unclear packaging info. It's easy to confuse the low-fat formula with the high-energy one, so be careful when placing an order online. Besides, the company can sometimes alter the Royal Canin sensitive stomach dog food formula without warning. If your pooch experiences digestive troubles after you start a new bag, recipe change is the likely culprit.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 248 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 20% min
  • Crude fat: 4.5% to 8.5%
  • Crude fiber: 3.6% max
  • First 7 ingredients: Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, wheat, barley, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp, chicken fat

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 1.5, 6.6, 17.6, 28.6-pound bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Combats diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
  • Good for dogs with a low fat tolerance
  • Comes with soluble fiber and prebiotics for healthy GI flora
  • Enhanced with antioxidants, Omega fatty acids, and more

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • It’s easy to confuse with out GI formulas (High energy, High fiber)
  • The formula was changed recently without warning

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Help your pooch deal with UTIs and bladder stones with this kibble that's tailored to solve current health issues and prevent further problems.

Urinary tract infections and bladder stones are common among some breeds, and Royal Canin Urinary SO dog food is a vet-approved solution. The formula is moderately nutritional, but its lower magnesium content promotes the dissolution of struvite stones and makes the bladder environment unsuitable for forming new ones. And the increased urine volume may require more regular walks, but it will also reduce ion concentration.

For all its benefits in preventing UTI recurrence, Royal Canin Urinary dog food ingredients may cause allergic reactions in sensitive canines. Some reviews mentioned skin itchiness and coat issues, so keep an eye out for those if your pup is highly allergic. The vet should recommend another kibble if you notice any issues.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 333 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 17% min
  • Crude fat: 15% min
  • Crude fiber: 3.7% max
  • First 6 ingredients: Brewers rice, corn, chicken fat, chicken by-product meal, brewers rice flour, corn gluten meal

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Weight: 6.6, 17.6, 25.3-pound bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Lower risk of struvite and calcium oxalate stones formation
  • Decreased urine ion concentration
  • Can be used as a short-term UTI solution

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • May cause individual sensitivity
  • Unpredictable price and formula changes

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein HP Adult Dry Dog Food

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY

Protect your pooch from food allergies and skin irritation with a highly digestible formula that will prevent diarrhea and itchiness and restore the shiny coat.

All Royal Canin allergy dog food recipes are designed to prevent the aggressive immune system response to kibble ingredients. Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein dog food uses highly digestible protein molecules broken down into smaller pieces that are easier on the canine gastrointestinal systems. The formula addresses skin irritation and itchiness too, by including EPA, DHA, and other supplements to reinforce the skin protective barrier and restore the healthy coat.

While this Royal Canin hypoallergenic dog food is advertised as a universal solution for all breeds, I recommend going with a small breed alternative if your dog prefers smaller kibble. Besides, the smell can be quite off-putting. You should keep dog food inside its original packaging within an airtight container to keep the odor to a minimum.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Calories: 332 kcal/cup
  • Crude protein: 19% min
  • Crude fat: 17% min
  • Crude fiber: 3.1% max
  • First 5 ingredients: Brewers rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Type: Dry food
  • Breed size: All breeds
  • Life Stage: All life stages
  • Weight: 7.7, 17.6, 25.3-pound bags

WHAT WE LOVED:

  • Easily digestible protein prevents GI issues
  • Reduced skin irritation thanks to Omega acids, EPA, DHA
  • Can be used short- and long-term
  • Suitable for all ages with a prescription

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE:

  • Kibble pieces not suitable for small breeds
  • The smell can be overwhelming

Royal Canin Ingredient Analysis

Royal Canin is one of the oldest players on the dog food market, and the company doesn't follow the latest fads to appease eager dog parents. For this reason alone, you shouldn't expect to find grain-free recipes among their offers. Meat-first formulas are also a rarity, though most come with an animal-based protein derived from chicken, meat, by-products, or meals. While the latter ingredients are often derided by the fans of organic grain-free pet products, they offer a healthy and nutritious combination of protein and fat.

Brewers rice, barley, corn, and wheat are present in some shape or form in most Royal Canin formulas. So are beet pulp, fish oil, antioxidants, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. The Artificial colors and flavors are nowhere near the ingredients lists, but natural flavors are there to make kibble appetizing.

Royal Canin Guaranteed Analysis

I used the Royal Canin official website to find the caloric value, protein, fat, and fiber content for all products. The same information will be present on every bag of kibble you purchase, along with the feeding guide. Pay attention to protein, fiber, and fat content and keep track of your dog's reaction to any changes in the ratio to make a switch to another recipe if any health issues occur.

The company may also provide information on EPA, DHA, Omega 3, or biotin content. All come with health benefits; however, none of these nutrients are recognized as essential by AAFCO.

Royal Canin Recall History

Regardless of negative reviews for Royal Canin dog food, the company's recall history is relatively straightforward. Despite the large-scale manufacturing across five continents, the quality management system is robust enough to prevent most issues. However, in 2007, the company had to issue a voluntary nationwide recall of eight Sensible Choice products, including Royal Canin senior dog food and puppy kibble.

The company detected melamine inside dog and cat kibble that got into the pet food due to a contaminated shipment of rice protein concentrate delivered from China. The same shipment was used by Blue Buffalo, and the company had to recall their products as well.

The contaminated pet food resulted in several deaths and went down into the FDA's history as the Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007. Since then, Royal Canin has reviewed the quality and safety management systems. As there's no record of a single recall by the company since 2007, I want to believe Royal Canin products are now safe.

Conclusion

Throughout my research, I've found plenty of Royal Canin dog food reviews deriding the reputable brand for selling super-expensive grain-based kibble. Yet even more reviews are praising the time-tested formulas for resolving skin irritation issues, making itchiness go away, reducing GI issues, and even helping dissolve bladder stones. So while I have reservations about quality management and pricing, I say don't beat it till you try it, especially if the vet prescribes a condition-specific Royal Canin recipe for your pooch.

FAQs

Is Royal Canin a Good Dog Food?

Years of research and testing to find the best nutritional formula mean this dog food is better suited to canines' needs than most flashy meat-rich and grain-free formulas. It may work for your pup too, but you should still consult a vet before switching to new kibble or wet food.

Where Is Royal Canin Dog Food Made?

The company has nine manufacturing facilities across five continents. The latest one was opened in 2009 in Shanghai. However, most products sold in the US are manufactured at the US-based facilities in South Dakota and Missouri.

Where Can You Buy Royal Canin Dog Food?

At the time of writing, the company suffers availability issues, resulting in shortages of Royal Canin products across most online retailers. Still, many products are available on Amazon, Chewy, Petco, Petsmart, and other specialized online stores, as well as most pet shops and vet offices.

What Are the Ingredients in Royal Canin Dog Food?

You won't find Royal Canin grain-free dog food, as most kibble formulas include brewers rice, corn, or wheat. Poultry and meat, as well as by-products and meals, are the common protein sources. Most recipes are supplemented by minerals, vitamins, Omega fatty acids, chondroitin, and glucosamine.

How Many Types of Royal Canin Dog Food Are There?

Too many to count. There are several lineups. The Veterinary Diet line includes dozens of products, like Royal Canin hepatic dog food, that meet the needs of canines with a variety of conditions. Then, there's a purebred line with formulas tailored to popular specific breeds. And the Size Health line represents all-in-one recipes designed for a variety of breeds.

Related articles

article card Best dry dog food for large breeds - TOP-10 large breed dry dog food in 2020
Let's find a delicious, high-quality large breed dry dog food based on consumer reviews, ingredient analysis, and common sense. I've identified ten options for you to choose from.
article card Best Cheap Puppy Food - TOP-10 Budget-friendly Food for Puppies in 2020
Looking for the best reasonably priced dog food? Find it on our shortlist that’s based on consumer reviews, ingredient analysis, and personal experience.
article card Best Wet Puppy Food - TOP-10 Healthiest Wet Food For Dog in 2020
Best canned puppy food is what concerns you most. I conducted a thorough ingredient analysis and studied consumer reviews of the most popular brands to help you make an educated decision.

What else do you want to learn?

All articles
arrow