Royal Canin Giant Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.
The Royal Canin Giant product line includes four dry dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth and one for adult maintenance.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Royal Canin Giant Adult
- Royal Canin Giant Junior
- Royal Canin Giant Puppy
- Royal Canin Giant Starter (3.5 stars)
Royal Canin Giant Junior was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Royal Canin Giant Junior
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat gluten, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried beet pulp, sodium silico aluminate, fish oil, potassium phosphate, vegetable oil, grain distillers dried yeast, calcium carbonate, salt, psyllium seed husk, fructooligosaccharides, l-lysine, potassium chloride, hydrolyzed yeast, choline chloride, taurine, dl-methionine, glucosamine hydrochloride, l-carnitine, vitamins [dl-alpha tocopherol (source of vitamin E), l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement], trace minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate), marigold extract (Tagetes erecta l.), chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||32%||16%||44%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||28%||33%||39%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
The second item lists chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except quality skeletal muscle (conventional meat).
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.
The third item is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The next two ingredients are wheat gluten and corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior plant-based proteins low in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.
Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.
After the natural flavor, we find beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With three notable exceptions…
First, vegetable oil is a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).
Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.
Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide, an alternative sweetener1 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.
And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Royal Canin Giant Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Giant Dog Food looks like a below average dry product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 32% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 42% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the wheat gluten and corn gluten meals, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a moderate amount of meat.
Royal Canin Giant is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product or chicken meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
10/22/2010 Original review
08/23/2010 Review updated
03/12/2012 Review updated
09/20/2013 Review updated
09/20/2013 Last Update