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Dog Food Ratings

Please be aware that Hill’s is voluntarily recalling some canned dog food due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. More information here.

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large Adult Dry Dog Food

by Royal Canin
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Review Summary

30 Second Summary

March 7, 2019
Updated

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large Adult is a mid-priced dog food with lower-end quality. This product has 3 controversial ingredients with no artificial preservatives, colors and flavors being used. It has a high amount of carbs, compared to its protein and fat with a mixed quality of meat and fat. Royal Canin has an above-average number of dog food recalls and was very transparent when answering our questions.

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TYPE
Dry Dog Food
PRICE
$
BREED SIZE
Large, Giant Breeds
AGE
Adult
FEATURES
-
PACKAGE
6, 35 lbs
MADE IN
United States
COMPANY
Mars, Inc.

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Nutrition

Nutrition

The food has high carbs and somewhat low protein and fat, making it less nutritionally balanced compared to other dog foods we evaluated. Carbohydrates are cheap so they keep the food’s cost low and they are nutritionally useful to dogs in the right amounts. However, very high amounts of carbs can reduce the much-needed meat-based protein and fat content.

To evaluate dog foods, we first calculate out the moisture. This is called the “dry matter basis” and shows you only the solid ingredients in the food. These estimated “dry matter” numbers are different from the food label, but a better way to understand the real nutritional value of the food. We also calculate the carbs. Find out more

Label Claim

Dry Matter

Min. Protein 26.67%

Min. Fat 16.67%

Min. Carbs 48.89%

Max. Fiber 3.67%

Max. Ash 7.78%

Max. Moisture 0.00%

Label Claim

Food Label

Min. Protein: 24.0%

Min Fat: 15.0%

Min Carbs: N/A

Max Fiber: 3.3%

Max Ash: N/A

Max. Moisture: 10.0%

Calories

Calories

360 Calories per Cup

This product has an average amount of calories. It’s important to understand how many calories you are feeding to prevent under or overfeeding. Average calorie foods like this are typically best for fairly active dogs who need a moderate amount of daily calories. Based on your dog's current weight and activity level you may want to feed more or less than the recommended amount. It's helpful to know that weight loss foods often have fewer than 340 calories per cup, weight maintenance foods typically range from 340-380 calories, and high-activity dog foods are usually over 400 calories.

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FDA Alert

Grain-Free Dog Foods

This is a grain-free dog food. The FDA is investigating a potential connection between grain-free diets and canine heart disease. There is not enough evidence yet to affect our ratings but we've created an article for you explaining the topic.

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47.8%
WATCHDOG
SCORE
Score BannerOverall Rating Score
Ingredients

Ingredients

Score
39%
42
Total Ingredients
3
Controversial Ingredients

Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Wheat, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat, Corn Gluten Meal, Natural Flavors, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Choline Chloride, L-Lysine, Vitamins [Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source Of Vitamin E), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), Biotin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Niacin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid], Trace Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Copper sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Copper Proteinate], Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Dl-Methionine, Chondroitin Sulfate, Rosemary Extract, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid.

The average dog food we reviewed has 39 total ingredients, with 1 controversial ingredient. This product has 3 total controversial ingredients and 2 are used in the first five ingredients. This is concerning because the first 5 ingredients make up most of the product.


Top 5 Ingredients

Dog food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So when looking at a dog food label, take a close look at the first 5 ingredients. They make up about 80% of the total weight.

  • Chicken By-Product Meal
    Meat by-products are animal parts other than meat that are left over at the slaughterhouse. This can include the lung, spleen, brain, liver, blood, bone, beaks, kidneys, fatty tissue, and intestines. Because there is a wide variety of animal parts companies can use, and because details don't need to be disclosed, it's tough to compare the quality of different by-products. Generally speaking, by-products can provide important nutrients for dogs but can be of lower quality than meats and meat meals. For these reasons, we do not consider this a high-quality ingredient.
  • Brewer’s Rice
    Brewer's rice is the small, broken fragments of white rice that are left over when rice is milled. It's used in dog food since it's not considered aesthetically pleasing enough for human food. It's a cheaper alternative to whole rice or other grains, providing calories but only modest nutritional value. It is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice. For these reasons, we do not consider this a high-quality dog food ingredient.
  • Wheat
    Wheat is a grass and cereal grain often used in dog food. It provides protein, dietary fiber, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, B vitamins and minerals. Some dogs may develop wheat allergies, though they are a lot less common than allergies to beef, dairy and soy. The jury is still out on whether wheat is a high-quality dog food ingredient so please consult your vet if you suspect your dog may be allergic or has food sensitivities. Grain-alternatives like potatoes, peas and legumes may be linked to canine heart disease (it's too early to say this conclusively), so keep that in mind when buying foods without wheat and other grains.
  • Brown Rice
    Brown rice is whole-grain rice with the inedible outer hull removed. It provides calories, complex carbohydrates and a few other nutrients to dogs. We generally consider it a quality dog food ingredient.
  • Chicken Fat
    Chicken fat is the fat left over after cooking chicken parts. It's a high-quality dog food ingredient that provides nutrients such as fat and Omega-6 fatty acids.

Controversial Ingredients

  1. Brewer’s Rice
  2. Brewer's Rice is basically white rice that has been broken into smaller pieces. It's a waste product of the milling process and considered a low quality ingredient because it's missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice.
  1. Wheat
  2. Wheat is not generally considered a controversial ingredient, but is controversial when it is used in the top five ingredients (which make up about 80% of the food's weight) where a named meat or lean protein would be more nutritious.
  1. Fish Oil (Source of Epa-Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
  2. Fish oil in general is very nutritious, supplying healthy Omega fatty acids and other nutrients to your dog. However, this ingredient doesn't show which animal(s) it's actually made from, making it less transparent and potentially low-quality. Because of that, we consider it a controversial ingredient.



Country of Origin
Royal Canin is made in the USA. The strict laws and regulations here ensure a high minimum quality standard for dog food manufacturers.


Meat & Fat Quality

Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat and Fish Oil provide major proteins and fats in this dog food. The former two are transparently showing that they are made of chicken. The latter makes it unclear which specific fish this oil is sourced from, much less transparent.


Artificial Preservatives

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large Adult uses 0 controversial artificial preservatives, excellent. It’s good to know that ‍not all artificial preservatives are bad. That’s because they serve an important purpose, which is to prevent food from spoiling. However, we consider 11 artificial preservatives controversial because of their potential link to cancer and other serious health conditions.


Artificial Colors

The lack of preservatives is matched by no artificial colors, well done.


Artificial Flavors

No artificial flavors are used either. This product manages to ace all three “artificial ingredient” checks - that’s how it should be.

Recalls

Recalls

Score
65%
3
Brand Recalls

Royal Canin has an above-average number of product recalls.

Date:
5/11/2007
Recalled Products:
The following Royal Canin dry dog foods (plus there is one cat food, as noted): 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, Kasco Chunks, Kasco Hi Energy, Kasco Maintenance, Kasco Mealettes, Kasco Mini Chunks, Kasco Puppy, Kasco Cat (cat food)
Cause:
Melamine.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Date:
4/19/2007
Recalled Products:
The following Royal Canin dry dog foods (plus there is 1 cat food, as noted): Veterinary Diet Canine Early Cardiac EC 22, Veterinary Diet Canine Skin Support SS21, Veterinary Diet Feline Hypoallergenic HP23 (cat food), Sensible Choice Chicken Meal & Rice Formula Senior, 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
Cause:
Melamine.
Class:
I
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Date:
5/3/2006
Recalled Products:
The following Royal Canin pet foods: Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO dog food, 13.6 oz. cans, Code 511A/B, Exp. 03/2007; Code 521 A/B, Exp. 03/2007; Code 525A, Exp. 06/2007, Veterinary Diet Canine Low Fat LF dog food, 13.6 oz. cans, Code 526A/B, Exp. 06/2007, Veterinary Diet Canine Calorie Control CC In Gel dog food, 12.7 oz. cans, Code 515B, Exp. 04/2007; and Code 528A, Exp. 07/2007, Veterinary Diet Feline Sensitivity VR cat food, 5.8 oz. cans, Code 518A, Exp. 05/2007, Veterinary Diet Feline Calorie Control CC cat food, 5.8 oz. cans, Code 449A, Exp. 11/2006; Code 451A, Exp. 12/2006; and Code 515A, Exp. 04/2007, Veterinary Diet Feline Renal LP cat food, 3 oz. pouch, Code 519B, Exp., 09/2006; Code 522B, Exp. 09/2006; Code 526A, Exp. 10/2006; Code 541A, Exp. 02/2007; and Code 543A, Exp. 02/2007
Cause:
Too much Vitamin D3.
Class:
II
FDA recalls use classes from I (most serious) to III (least serious).
Type:
N/A
Quantity:
N/A
Source
Transparency

Transparency

Score
88%

We love dog food brands that are committed to transparent business practices. If you make quality dog food you should be willing to openly talk about how it’s sourced and produced. That’s why we reached out to pet food companies, asking questions about all their brands and products. Each company had three weeks to reply to our messages.

How Easy Was it to Reach the Company?

Royal Canin responded in 1 day, which is exceptional. There response was in the form of a brochure which had a lot of useful info. Follow-up questions were asked and almost all questions were answered.  

Does Royal Canin have a veterinary nutritionist on staff? If so, who are they?

Formulations are determined by a team of veterinary nutritionists, PhD nutritionists and Masters of nutrition primarily stationed at the Royal Canin Research Campus in Aimargues, France, but also in a number of other countries. In Canada, veterinarians, a veterinary nutritionist, internists, Masters of nutrition, and animal health technicians are available to answer questions about nutrition and our products.


(follow-up email response)

We can’t provide their names as that is personal information we don’t release to the public.

Who formulates your recipes, and what are their credentials?

Using the knowledge gleaned from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, as well as the world wide body of research, the formulation team develops and validates new nutritional formulations at the Royal Canin Campus in Aimargues, France.

Do you test your products using AAFCO feeding trials? Why, or why not?

There are over 100 dry and wet canine and over 90 dry and wet feline formulas. Most formulas have been validated according to AAFCO nutrient profiles and/or feeding trials though there are some special formulas with specific therapeutic formulations that preclude meeting the AAFCO nutrient profile. These formulas have all gone through alternate product testing, and many have been proven through clinical trials to be efficacious in managing the disease processes for which they were intended. All have been fed to either cats or dogs for long term trials, and the cats and dogs have thrived. Examples would be the Hepatic and Renal support formulas.

What country are your products manufactured?

The majority of the dry formulas for the Canadian market are produced at our facility in Guelph, Ontario. This facility is part of a network of plants in North America, where certain formulas may be assigned to specific plants for production to supply the entire North American market. For example, while every plant can produce any of the formulas, this unique network provides an opportunity for the facilities to specialize in some areas, improves efficiency of production, and enables us to continue to supply the market should there be a situation that resulted in supply interruption from a particular plant. The wet formulas are made in our wholly owned plant in North Sioux City, South Dakota. The plants are all dedicated to the manufacture of Royal Canin products. There is no third-party co-packing or subcontracting. The contracts, technologies, quality controls, and product testing that help ensure safety, nutritional precision and performance are in place at all of these facilities.

Can your manufacturing facilities be visited?

And yes, tours can be arranged. Over 600 veterinarians, veterinary technicians, retailers, and professionals in the animal care field have visited the plant in Guelph since its opening.

What quality measures do you use to assure consistency and quality?

Product quality begins with the audit of every single ingredient from each supplier. We source local ingredients whenever possible, however ingredient safety and quality is prioritized over geography in our ingredient selection. Each ingredient prior to entering the facility must be subjected to analysis conducted by trained technicians to confirm quality and safety. The centerpiece of the plant’s laboratory in terms of product safety is the use of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), an analytical test that compares the “fingerprint” of an ingredient to a database of standards (this database takes 3 years to establish). If the NIRS results for the incoming ingredient do not match the standard, then the ingredient is rejected prior to unloading.


The manufacturing facility is composed of 3 separate, but interconnected parts. Each part is color coordinated: red zone for pre-cooking, yellow for cooking and blue for cooked. The manufacturing facility is designed in a vertical arrangement which allows for an energy efficient flow, while the computerized formulation management system ensures that every formula is created precisely. In the first area of the facility (red zone), dry ingredients are received and stored. All incoming ingredients are sampled and tagged to allow traceability - right to the source. To show further vigilance in this process, the ingredients in every bag of our formulas can be traced back to each stage of manufacturing, delivery and supplier.


Ingredients are precisely weighed, ground and mixed to create a homogenous mixture. This mixture of ingredients is then delivered to the “kitchen” where heat and pressure will be supplied in the extruder to produce the kibble. A minimum temperature of 90oC is reached to ensure the control of bacteria, such as salmonella and listeria. In addition to this, over 500 salmonella tests are performed in our plant each week, including tests on finished products, environmental swabs, and environmental residues. This further monitors and protects against the most common cause of pet food recalls. Access to this area is strictly limited to skilled and authorized personnel only. Positive pressure, just as in veterinary surgeries, reduces the possibility of bacterial contamination. Pneumatic pressure moves the kibble to the dryer, which, again, is arranged vertically for greater energy efficiency and more uniform drying. The kibble descends through 7 graduated zones until the correct moisture content is achieved.


The Royal Canin finished product is packaged in the 3rd area of the facility. Metal detectors are used during the process to provide a final safety check before the kibble is packaged. As the bags are filled, nitrogen is forced into the packaging to displace oxygen. Consequently, once the bag is sealed, there is minimal contact between the kibble and oxygen. This process ensures the food maintains a higher degree of freshness and palatability. To enhance the level of biologic vigilance employees cannot move freely from one painted zone to the other. Employees and tools working in the red zone cannot cross into the blue zone. The blue zone defines the area of the plant involved with finished product and packaging which has been sterilized by the extruder. Employees in the plant are required to wear special footwear, hair nets and clothing and require hand sanitization before entering the blue zone.


Our safety measures however, do not end there. The Americas satellite laboratory situated in Guelph, Ontario, is a state of the art laboratory that conducts detailed analyses on all ingredients and finished product from plants in North and South America. This lab is integrated with labs in Asia and France, ensuring the quality and safety of all Royal Canin products worldwide. The consequence of this remarkable technology from start to finish is that pet owners can be assured that Royal Canin products are free of any contamination and are 100% safe.

Does Royal Canin own its manufacturing facility? If it is another company, what company is it?

Fully owned.

Do any parts of your product come from China?

We feel that the most comprehensive approach to ensuring the quality and safety of our ingredients centers around conducting stringent tests on the ingredients at multiple stages of production rather than focusing on country of origin.


All ingredients that are utilized are tested for melamine and related derivatives, bacteria, mycotoxins, heavy metals, etc… prior to be allowed to enter our manufacturing facilities.  Finished batches are also tested once again for any harmful substances prior to being packaged and distributed. In addition, we regularly audit our suppliers to be sure they are complying with our demands and meeting our quality and safety standards.


Because of this, we do not have a set list of where each and every ingredient may be sourced from.  We are unable to provide the level of detail to determine which, if any, ingredients are sourced from other countries.

While this may be an honest answer, it is not a transparent answer.

Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large Adult Dry Dog Food

by Royal Canin
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