Looking to treat your dog like royalty?
Perhaps the biggest pet food brand in the world will help you out by living up to it’s “Royal” name.
Royal Canin prides itself on being one of the oldest pet food companies still around, focusing on the conviction that “pets are not people,” but rather unique animals, with unique nutritional needs (which differ from our own).
Now: This historic company was grounded in science, founded on the principle of attaining as much knowledge about pets as possible, and formulating advanced dog food for them? But: Have they managed to live up to this goal?
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Why review Royal Canin?
They are the biggest pet food company in the world. . .
We think that alone should be reason enough. Statistically, their food has the biggest impact on diets of dogs across the globe.
Thus: We think you should know where Royal Canin sources it’s ingredients from, how and where their dog food is made, who runs the company, it’s mission values and so forth. So, let’s find out just how royal they are, shall we?
Ahead we take a look at this giant of a manufacturer and supplier of dog food worldwide. Discovering whether their food has had any safety issues, where Royal Canin food is actually formulated and made, where you can buy some, which ones are the best, related recalls, and lastly discounts and/or coupons.
Is Royal Canin Dog Food Safe?
Royal Canin meets AAFCO standards for complete and balanced dog food.
Historically, the company has invested (and continues to invest) in new technology to better it’s manufacturing; ensuring their quality and safety systems are state of the art.
Things Royal Canin does to ensure quality and safety:
- Supplier selection: To become a Royal Canin supplier, the companies go through a rigorous process. Furthermore, beyond the first purchase, every shipment of ingredients is tested for correctness, quality, and safety.
- Quality checks: Monthly quality checks numbering in the thousands. The checks includetesting for bacteria and chemicals such as Salmonella, melamine and mycotoxins.
- In-house manufacturing: Every product formulated by Royal Canin is manufactured in their own facilities which are ISO 2000 certified for Food Safety and ISO 9001:2008 certified for Quality Management.
- Testing: Before anything leaves the plant, meticulous tests are performed on finished good.
Goodwill: The company has one of the best reputations in the industry when it comes to manufacturing pet food. Some may have different things to say about the way they market their food and their advertising tactics, but it’s hard to disagree with the fact that they meet national food standards.
Bottom line: Commercial pet food such as Royal Canin does tend to get a bad rep (sometimes for misleading reasons), but at the end of the day, though it certainly does have it’s shortcomings, it is a safe, nutritionally balanced option, convenient, and can be pretty tasty!
Who Makes Royal Canin Dog Food?
Royal Canin was founded in 1968 by a French veterinarian in his village in the Gard region of France. Fun fact: The companies world headquarters are still in this region.
“Founded on the principles of knowledge and respect.” ~ Royal Canin
Jean Cathary was his name, and he’s left quite the legacy on the pet food industry. After seeing many pets brought to him were suffering a variety of health conditions, he had wondered whether their diet was the cause.
So: After convincing himself that it was in fact a diet issue, he proceeded to devise a cereal based recipe. Preparing it himself in his garage oven!
The result: The diet was successful and pets were alleviated of their various conditions (or so the legend goes). After seeing such success, he decided it was time to close up his vet shop and open up a science-based pet food manufacturing company, which he trademarked as “Royal Canin.” He successful promoted and grew the company, ultimately selling it to Guyomarc’h Group in March of 1972.
Expansion: The Guyomarc’h Group, though family-run, was a much larger business; who was focused at the time on livestock feed. The Royal Canin brand saw much expansion under this ownership, opening up additional subsidiaries in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden; as well as making another factory in the North of France to service the northern European countries.
After going through a few additional hands, suffering losses, and even becoming listed on an exchange during the 1990’s, Royal Canin finally ended up in the hands of resource rich Mars, Inc. (6th largest privately held company in the USA). The rest, as they say, is history.
Research Based Dog Food Formulation
The Royal Canin brand bases it’s pet food manufacturing on scientific research. By doing this, they place the animal at the center of the formulation process. Selecting ingredients which optimize the nutritional content of the dog food.
This is nothing new either, as they have a history of dedicating resources to research and development; which is why they opened up their first research center way back in 1973 in St-Nolff. Adding another one during the 1980’s in Missouri, as well as Brazil.
Henri Laguarde, a company chairman in the 1990’s instilled a mantra that the research should be so refined that “no veterinarian or university should be able to refute any of Royal Canin’s nutritional arguments.“
What this means for your dog? This in-depth research enables companies like Royal Canin to make food based on your dogs needs, in respect of their age, breed, exercise levels, and health requirements.
Active Publisher of Peer Reviewed Journals
The company utilizes academia as a partner in it’s publishing efforts. They even publish encyclopedias about various cat and dog breeds that has so far been translated into fifteen different languages!
What else does Royal Canin publish:
- breeding books
- nutrition books
- publications for breeders
- publications for veterinary surgeons
- veterinary literature
That’s not all: They also publish a scientific quarterly magazine called FOCUS (now called Veterinary Focus). Which has been provided to over 70,000 vets worldwide in 11 different languages.
All pretty interesting, but what you really want to know is where and how it’s made, right!?
Where Is Royal Canin Dog Food Made?
This is a global company, as such it has offices all over the place, and even multiple headquarters. But it’s main headquarters are in Aimargues, Southern France, where the company originated.
On top of that location, Royal Canin has twelve production facilities around the world; spanning from South Africa to Brazil and Argentina, to the USA and Canada.
This company boasts some of the worlds most advanced pet food manufacturing facilities.
U.S. Headquarters: 500 Fountain Lakes Blvd., Suite 100, St. Charles, MO 63301
U.S. Manufacturing Facilities: Missouri and South Dakota. With offices all across the nation.
Note: All of the food Royal Canin formulates for the USA market is manufactured and distributed in the USA.
Notable incidents: 2005 Clean Water Act Fine. It’s plant in Rolla, Missouri, which only makes dry food, was hit with a $41,383 fee for violating “the Clean Water Act.”
Result: The outcome was the company strengthening it’s corporate social responsibility and highlighting the need for respecting the three core areas: people, planet, performance. Additionally enforcing environmental sustainability efforts which saw the company aim to reduce electricity, gas, and water consumption by around 3% per year and have no landfill waste.
Recalls: In our recalls section below we will cover the 2007 and 2006 recalls issued by Royal Canin.
Where does Royal Canin source their ingredients from?
Royal Canin’s ingredient selection process is quite stringent. First the suppliers must meet the company’s quality and food safety requirements, then the ingredient must offer consistent availability, and lastly the ingredient(s) must offer the pet’s daily required nutrients.
In sourcing their ingredients, in addition to the above, Royal Canin aims for high-quality, scientifically-backed nutrients which nourish vital areas of a dogs body, like the skin and coat, joints, vital organs, and many more.
Note: As with practically any other pet food company, it’s hard for us on the outside to pin point exactly where each ingredient comes from and where each suppliers sourced it from. The data is simply not that public, and the supply chain is pretty complex when you’re dealing with a global company such as our industry leader in question.
What we do know: They are striving towards obtaining the raw materials as close to each of the manufacturing facilities as possible. Which for them is a sustainability plus too, as it cuts down their logistics costs.
Also: We do know they use international suppliers as well in certain cases, due to them being the only ones capable of providing the raw ingredients needed whilst meeting Royal Canin’s quality and food safety standards.
Who Sells Royal Canin Dog Food?
You can buy Royal Canin dog food in a number of ways (in person and/or online).
However, there are two separate lines of Royal Canin dog food: Retail Diets and Veterinary Diets. There is also a special program for breeders called Crown Partners.
Retail Diets: These are available exclusively in pet stores around the nation. Should you use Royal Canin’s store locator, and that store ends up not having them, you can request for them to order the product for you.
Veterinary Diets: These are available via prescription only. For these too you can use the store & vet locator below to find veterinary hospitals that carry these products in your city. You can also ask the vet about home delivery of certain Royal Canin diets and save you some time.
Crown Partners: By joining this exclusive benefits program as a breeder, you not only gain a partner in Royal Canin, but significant product discounts (on average 20% savings); as well as free shipping and free puppy kits. Click to find our more: Customer Benefits – Crown Partners.
Where to buy Royal Canin dog food?
There are literally thousands of physical locations selling Royal Canin across the globe; whether they be pet specialty retail outlets or veterinary hospitals for the prescription diets.
To find your nearest location: Visit the Royal Canin Store Locator, enter your zip code, select the radius you’re willing to travel and the type of diet and you’re ready to go!
Royal Canin is also available online at retailers such as Amazon.com and Chewy.com
How Does Royal Canin Dog Food Rate?
We rate Royal Canin dog food with an overall 3.5 out of 5 stars, and note that certain individual products are higher than this rating. We, and a lot of other consumers, would like to rate it higher but the ingredients used are often not the kind we’d expect to see in a top quality dog food.
Mo money’ mo problems’: With great power, comes great responsibility. The bigger a company gets, the more creative they have to be when it comes to maintaining production and getting consistent quality ingredients on a mass scale. At some point quantity surpasses true quality and you find yourself a top the industry, and you have to keep producing and growing.
This is what happened to Royal Canin, though their food is no doubt well researched and formulated, it still leaves a great deal of room for improvement when it comes to using:
- plant based proteins
- sub-par fillers
When it comes to Royal Canin: It has an extensive global reach, a long history of pet food making, and an even longer marketing and advertising budget to keep the empire going. There is no slowing down in sight for this giant dog food company.
Which Royal Canin Dog Food Is Best?
With there being so many products to choose from, for so many different reasons, it’s impossible for us to pick the absolute best Royal Canin food for your dog; only you and your vet have the information necessary to make such a determination.
Now: This brand is a serious contender when it comes to breed, and age specific, dog foods. They were a pioneer at this, after-all, making customized products for different breeds, ages, and sizes.
So: By viewing their product catalog below, you’re sure to come across something for your dog that’s worth looking into more.
Can puppies eat Royal Canin dog food?
Yes, Royal Canin has many formulas intended for puppies of different sizes, different breeds, and different needs.
You’ll notice the following letters accompanying each recipe below. This is the recipes pertinent AAFCO nutrient profile (if we’re able to locate it on the company’s website).
- All Life Stages
Important: We feel it important to state that many websites do not reliably indicate which Growth or All Life Stages recipes are deemed safe for large breed puppies.
Now: You may see it on some of the recipes below, but we typically do not include this data in our reports. Make sure you examine the actual packaging for this information.
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition™ X-Small & Mini
- Royal Canin X-Small Adult [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin X-Small Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin X-Small Aging 12+ [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Mini Adult [M]
- Royal Canin Mini Mature +8 [M]
- Royal Canin Mini Weight Care [M]
- Royal Canin Mini Puppy [G]
- Royal Canin Mini Starter Mother & Babydog [G]
- Royal Canin Mini Special [M]
- Royal Canin Mini Aging +12 [M]
- Royal Canin Mini Sensitive Skin Care [M]
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition™ Medium
- Royal Canin Medium Puppy [G]
- Royal Canin Medium Adult 10+ [M]
- Royal Canin Medium Weight Care [M]
- Royal Canin Medium Adult [M]
- Royal Canin Medium Adult 7+ [M]
- Royal Canin Medium Sensitive Digestion [M]
- Royal Canin Medium Sensitive Skin Care [M]
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition™ Maxi
- Royal Canin Maxi Adult [M]
- Royal Canin Maxi Puppy [G]
- Royal Canin Maxi Adult 5+ [M]
- Royal Canin Maxi Aging 8+ [M]
- Royal Canin Maxi Weight Care [M]
- Royal Canin Maxi Sensitive Digestion [M]
- Royal Canin Maxi Joint and Coat Care [M]
- Royal Canin Maxi Sensitive Skin Care [M]
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition™ Giant
- Royal Canin Giant Adult [M]
- Royal Canin Giant Junior [G]
- Royal Canin Giant Puppy [G]
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition™
- Royal Canin Pug Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Boxer Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Poodle Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Bulldog Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Shih Tzu Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Chihuahua Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Dachshund Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Miniature Schnauzer Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Pug [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Boxer [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Bulldog [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Shih Tzu [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Rottweiler [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Chihuahua [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Dachshund [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin French Bulldog [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Cocker Spaniel [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Golden Retriever [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Beagle [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Poodle [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin German Shepherd [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Miniature Schnauzer [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Labrador Retriever [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin West Highland White Terrier [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Boxer Adult [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Poodle Adult [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier Adult [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Adult [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Chihuahua Adult [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Dachshund Adult [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult [M] [Canned]
Royal Canin Lifestyle Health Nutrition™
- Royal Canin Urban Life Large Dog Adult [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Urban Life Large Dog Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Urban Life Small Dog Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Urban Life Small Dog Senior [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Urban Life Small Dog Adult [M] [Dry]
Royal Canin Canine Health Nutrition™
- Royal Canin Canine Health Nutrition Mature 8+ [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Canine Health Nutrition Adult Beauty [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Canine Health Nutrition Adult [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Canine Health Nutrition Adult Weight Care [M] [Canned]
Royal Canin Veterinary Diets®
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary S/O Index® Small Dog [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary UC Low Purine [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO® [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO® Moderate Calorie [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastrointestinal High Energy [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastrointestinal High Energy [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastrointestinal Puppy [G] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastrointestinal Moderate Calorie [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastrointestinal Low Fat [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastrointestinal Low Fat [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Gastrointestinal Fiber Response [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Care Nutrition Canine Weight Control [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Care Nutrition Canine Weight Control Small Dog [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Care Nutrition Canine Weight Control Large Dog [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Satiety Support [M] [Canned]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Satiety Support [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Satiety Support Small Dog [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Selected Protein Adult PW Moderate Calorie [M] [Dry]
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Hydrolyzed Protein Moderate Calorie [M] [Dry]
Note: If you don’t see any recall below, it means either of these two things. 1. There have been no recalls directly related to this product line. 2. We have not yet updated the section to reflect a recent recall.
Recalls related to Royal Canin:
- Reason: Melamine.
- Source: FDA report dated May 11, 2007.
- What was recalled:
- Kasco Chunks
- Kasco Hi Energy
- Kasco Maintenance
- Kasco Mealettes
- Kasco Mini Chunks
- Kasco Puppy
- Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice Adult
- Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice Reduced
- Sensible Choice Lamb and Rice Reduced
- Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice Puppy
- Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice Large Breed Puppy
- Sensible Choice Natural Blend Adult
- Sensible Choice Natural Blend Senior
- Sensible Choice Natural Blend Puppy
- Reason: Melamine.
- Source: FDA report dated April 19, 2007.
- What was recalled:
- Sensible Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Puppy
- Sensible Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Adult
- Sensible Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Senior
- Sensible Choice Rice & Catfish Meal Formula Adult
- Sensible Choice Chicken Meal & Rice Formula Senior
- Veterinary Diet Canine Early Cardiac EC 22
- Veterinary Diet Canine Skin Support SS21
- Reason: Too much Vitamin D3.
- Source: FDA reported May 3, 2006.
- What was recalled:
- Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO
- Veterinary Diet Canine Calorie Control CC In Gel
- Veterinary Diet Canine Low Fat LF
Worth mentioning: Royal Canin has been in business for fifty years, and in that period of time has only been associated with the above recalls. One of which was a minor voluntary recall of three veterinary diets containing an excess of Vitamin D3, and the other two are related to the greatest pet food recall in North American history that affected more than 150 pet food brands.
The Bottom Line
You don’t become the industry leader in one of the fastest growing industries in the world by doing it all wrong. No, Royal Canin’s growing business is a testament to the work they put in.
Now: Let us review what it is that makes this company so special once more.
Why they are different
Their company philosophy is to treat pets as unique animals, an not people. Many other companies are happy to blur the lines between human and pet nutrition, otherwise known as “if it’s good for us, it must be good for them.”
Royal Canin claims to have identified these differences through extensive research and formulated a diverse line of dog specific premium health nutrition products. Whether they be big or small, old or young, mixed breed or purebred.
Each formula is made up of over 50 nutrients, mixed in a precise balance to deliver the most effective dosage of nutrition for dogs of various breeds, life-stages, sizes, or specific needs.
By focusing on science, Royal Canin says it puts the animal at the heart of the formulation process; thus always selecting ingredients that ensure optimization of the food’s nutritional content.
Here are their four goals for health nutrition:
The three pillars holding up everything Royal Canin does are: people, planet, and performance.
They view themselves as dedicated earth citizens who are on board with conducting business and being conscious of social responsibility, quality control, and environmental friendliness. (Or at least they are aware of this by placing it on their website).
They are a pretty charitable company, but they are also the biggest, so there’s money to go around. Thankfully, they are aware of the good they could do for our beloved canine friends in the world with their resources.
To discover more about the charities they are involved in visit: Royal Canin Charitable Givings.
Final Say: Founded in the south of France fifty years ago by a veterinary surgeon, the company has come a long way since and has built numerous state-of-the-art facilities with the original founders mission in mind. To make quality pet food based on scientific research.
Now: As with every company, there is plenty of room for improvement. But with the sheer size of Royal Canin, we are impressed that they have not been involved in many recalls, which goes to show that their boasting about quality controls and safety might actually have substance.
What we’d like to see: An overhaul of their ingredient selection. If they could somehow find a consistent, sustainable, source of higher quality ingredients to supply their enormous needs.
Note: Regarding our brand analysis or product reviews; we do not accept money, samples, or gifts from pet food companies or manufacturers for special favors or considerations.
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Notes, References & Updates
Please review the below when analyzing this article further.
- Descriptions and analysis expressed on this site are strictly the views and opinions of the author.
- Dognutrition.com do not test any dog food products.
- The accuracy of the information herein is dependent heavily on and correlated with the integrity of information provided by the dog food company in question.
- We strive to get all the info correct, but we do not and cannot guarantee it’s completeness or accuracy. Additionally, we do not have the resources to ensure the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.
- Each analysis is offered in good faith and is intended to help you make a more informed buying decision when it comes to purchasing dog food.
- Due to the unique biological identity of each dog, none of our analysis are meant to suggest or guarantee that feeding a particular dog food will result in any specific response in their diet or offer any specific health benefits.
- Royal Canin Company History Page
- Market Insider – World’s Top 10 Pet Food Companies
- The Marking Enterprise: Business Success and Societal Embedding – Thoenig, Jean-Claude; Waldman, Charles (2006).
- Royal Canin Wiki
- Veterinary Focus – Worldwide Journal for Companion Animal Vets
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