Royal Canin Logo

Royal Canin: The Myths vs Facts


Royal Canin is another food made by Mars manufacturing.  Royal Canin was founded in France in 1968 as a company scientifically manufacturing dog food.  It was acquired by Mars in 2001.  In 2013 Royal Canin started to substitute chicken-by-product for chicken meal and tried to spin it as a quality ingredient. Fortunately, many thorough researchers of pet food know better.

This is what Royal Canin has to say about by-products in their food on their website: “Royal Canin on By-Products:  Royal Canin only uses high-quality by-products, like hearts, livers and lungs. And when processed properly, by-products provide valuable nutrients for the pet.”

The Truth about By-Products:  By-products are packed full of protein, but it’s full of much more than just hearts, livers and lungs.  It can be anything from the chicken that isn’t meat including beaks, feet, bones, and cartilage.  If they were only using the quality parts of the chicken, they would list it individually.

Royal Canin’s list suggests they are hiding something. Other brands highlight quality proudly by listing specific protein sources. For example, Fromm’s Surf n’ Turf (5 stars) has chicken liver; Fromm’s Game Bird (4.5 stars) has chicken cartilage; and Real Meat Chicken (5 stars) has Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Chicken Gizzard, and Chicken Necks.  Food label requirements are much more strict when you list ingredients individually.  The more specific the ingredient, the more accountable the manufacturer is for listing it.

Royal Canin on Chicken as First Ingredient: “Contrary to popular marketing messages, chicken listed first on a label is not an indication that the diet contains more protein. Ingredients must appear in descending order of their weight in the diet. The total weight of the ingredient includes the water content. And since chicken meal is chicken with water and fat removed, it weighs less than chicken but actually can contain a higher percentage of protein.”

The Truth about Chicken as First Ingredient:  Royal Canin’s statement is true.  If chicken is listed as the first ingredient, it is mostly water and therefore does not contribute substantially to the food’s nutrition.  However, this does not excuse Royal Canin’s consistent use of Brewer’s Rice and Corn as the first ingredients.  Also, Royal Canin uses chicken by-products, which are inferior to chicken meal.  Don’t accept a food that doesn’t have quality protein sources as the first ingredients.

Royal Canin on Grains:  “When processed properly, grains like corn can be a healthy part of any cat or dog’s diet. In fact, properly processed corn contains far more nutrients than ingredients commonly used as replacements for it in grain-free diets…We also recently added corn gluten meal and wheat gluten to some of our feline and canine formulas. Both are great sources of highly digestible protein, and wheat gluten contains amino acids that support gastrointestinal health. Both corn and wheat gluten are good complements to chicken meal.”

The Truth about Grains:  While it is true that quality grains can be a healthy part of a dogs diet, it is not true that corn, corn gluten meal, and wheat gluten are considered quality grains.  Wheat Gluten is a sticky residue that’s left after you wash the starchy material out of flour dough. says  “…to advertise that corn is included in commercial dog food mainly because of its nutritional benefits is misleading — and a gross misrepresentation of the facts.” (

To recap, here’s what you can actually expect from Royal Canin’s food:

  • Fillers and grains taking up the majority of the first 5 ingredients
  • Chicken-by-product meal as their main source of protein


At Abracadabra we research every food we carry to make sure it meets our quality standards.  Every pet that comes through our doors is a part of our family, and we want to see them live a happy and healthy life.  Royal Canin does not meet those standards.  Royal Canin is 2 to 3 times more expensive as pet foods with comparable ingredients, like Purina Pro Plan (2 stars, $1.32/lb) or Iams Healthy (2.5 stars, $1.20/lb).  These aren’t good foods either, but it shows that Royal Canin is over priced for what it contains.  The average price is around $2.20/lb, which is over two times the cost of Fromm’s Adult Classic (3.5 Stars and we sell this for as low as $.90/lb), and Fromm’s has quality protein (chicken meal, menhaden fish meal), grains (pearled bearly), and no fillers!