Royal Canin Maxi (Dry)

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Rating: ★★½☆☆

Royal Canin Maxi Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Royal Canin Maxi product line includes nine dry dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for growth (puppies) and seven for adult maintenance.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Royal Canin Maxi Adult
  • Royal Canin Maxi Puppy
  • Royal Canin Maxi Adult 5+
  • Royal Canin Maxi Aging 8+
  • Royal Canin Maxi Weight Care
  • Royal Canin Maxi Spayed/Neutered
  • Royal Canin Maxi Starter (3.5 stars)
  • Royal Canin Maxi Sensitive Digestion
  • Royal Canin Maxi Joint and Coat Care

Royal Canin Maxi Adult 5+ Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Royal Canin Maxi Adult 5+

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 27% | Fat = 17% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, brown rice, brewers rice, wheat, oat groats, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, wheat gluten, dried beet pulp, fish oil, grain distillers dried yeast, vegetable oil, sodium silico aluminate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, psyllium seed husk, fructooligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, l-lysine, salt, taurine, l-tyrosine, choline chloride, vitamins [dl-alpha tocopherol (source of vitamin E), l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin A acetate, niacin, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement], glucosamine hydrochloride, marigold extract (Tagetes erecta l.), trace minerals (zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate), green tea extract, chondroitin sulfate, l-carnitine, 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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis24%15%NA
Dry Matter Basis27%17%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%35%42%

The first ingredient in this dog food is 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 (real 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 second ingredient is brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The third ingredient 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 fourth ingredient is wheat. Like corn, wheat is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any dog food.

The fifth ingredient is oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.

The sixth ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower 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 seventh 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 wheat gluten. 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.

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 four notable exceptions

First, 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.

Next, 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.

In addition, 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 Maxi Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Maxi 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.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 27%, a fat level of 17% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 29% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 47% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 55%.

Near-average protein. Near-average fat. And near-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effects of the corn gluten meal and wheat gluten, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Royal Canin Maxi Dog Food is a plant-based kibble 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.

Not recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every report is directly dependent upon the quality of that data.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

01/22/2010 Original review
08/26/2010 Review updated
03/11/2012 Review updated
09/20/2013 Review updated
09/20/2013 Last Update

  • Betsy Greer

    I think it’s just you Meghan.

  • Guest

    is it just me or does everyone on this site think they’re a nutritionist? its funny that majority are “holistic – grain free” loving and no one cares for the vet prescribed food. and when you search the vet food they barely have any listed! just seems weird and not right. I mean, I’ll trust my vet who has 25 years of experience over an internet nobody anyday…..just a thought.

  • skylarnz

    Hi was wondering the same as the RC here has the same dehydrated protein. What does that mean? Has anyone got any ideas? Thanks

  • LP

    It’s indeed a very bad food and I know it’s hard to believe but Royal Canin manages to make it MUCH worse!! The first 8 ingredients in the english version of the same Royal Canin Maxi Adult are the following: maize, dehydrated poultry protein, maize flour, animal fats, dehydrated pork protein, hydrolysed animal proteins, beet pulp, maize gluten. Maize as 1st, 3rd and 8th, gluten boosting the (still very low) protein level, generic “animal fat”, generic “poultry”… Scary! But I am only writing to ask Mike (or anyone who knows), what does poultry and pork “protein” exactly mean?? Can it be something worse than by-product? Or is it exactly the same with another name? (http://www.royalcanin.co.uk/products/products/dog-products/size-health-nutrition/maxi-dogs-26-44kg/maxi-adult)

  • Andrew

    When I got my German Shepherd, Sammi, at 9 month, her previous owners had been feeding her this. She pooped at least 4 or 5 times daily (never very solid). They had brought about 25 lbs of it over with her. My brother works at a natural pet food store, and I immediately began to switch her to NutriSource Heartland Select, which was what he suggested. With the Royal Canin, she would not eat immediately when I fed her, she would just graze a little here and there. Once I started switching to the NutriSource, she would flip out every time it was feeding time, and gobble it all down immediately. She started pooping solid twice a day, each about 6 hours after feeding. The NutriSource is less expensive than this crap, and much better in my opinion (and in Sammi’s opinion). I would not recommend this food to anyone. There are better options out there for much less money. The extra 25 lbs got thrown in the garbage, and not even the squirrels bothered with it.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi MountainDaddy –

    There are definitely better foods out there than RC…much better. RC is a premium-priced, average quality food. Basically you’re paying a 5 star price for a 3 star food. I’d recommend checking out the 4 and 5 star foods on this site and find one that fits your budget and that’s available to you.

  • BryanV21

    Well, to be brutally honest, it’s only up from here. Royal Canin is perhaps the last food I’d feed to my dog. Not only are the ingredients poor, but it’s way overpriced as well. Seems like the only people that feed this got bad information on it from their vet or breeder, which is too bad because how would you know any better.

    At that age you should have already moved away from a puppy food. Other than that, without knowing the breed and whether there are any issues with certain ingredients, it’s hard to say other than to look at the 5 star foods here and see what’s available to you.

  • MountainDaddy

    This brand was suggested by our breeder since the first day we brought home our puppy. He likes it plenty, but I too am concerned that this might not be the best food for my dog (now 2yrs old). Can someone recommend a better substitute?

  • Moscalej

    i just to give regal puppies but dive gases to mi dog and the hairdresser told me that his hair was dray (airdale terrier) 

  • BryanV21

    If the first ingredient is not a named animal, then I wouldn’t even consider that food. Seeing that rice is the first ingredient, on top of the fact that the second ingredient doesn’t even name what type of poultry it is, I’d return it. Don’t go for generically named ingredients like “animal” something, like how it later says “animal fats”.

    All of this is assuming you have something in the meantime to feed your dog. Something is better than nothing.

  • Moscalej

    i just buy royal canin maxi junior….. the first ingridient is rice???? 
      dehydrated poultry protein, dehydrated pork protein*, maize flour, animal fats, hydrolysed animal proteins, maize gluten, maize, minerals, beet pulp, vegetable fibres, vegetable protein isolate*, soya oil, fish oil, psyllium husks and seeds, fructo-oligo-saccharides, hydrolysed yeast (source of manno-oligo-saccharides), hydrolysed crustaceans (source of glucosamine), marigold extract (source of lutein), hydrolysed cartilage (source of chondroitin). ADDITIVES (per kg): Nutritional additives: Vitamin A: 11600 IU, Vitamin D3: 1000 IU, E1 (Iron): 48 mg, E2 (Iodine): 3.7 mg, E4 (Copper): 8 mg, E5 (Manganese): 63 mg, E6 (Zinc): 206 mg, E8 (Selenium): 0.08 mg – Preservatives – Antioxidants. ANALYTICAL CONSTITUENTS:Protein: 30% – Fat content: 16% – Crude ash: 8.5% – Crude fibres: 2.7% – Per kg: Fructo-oligo-saccharides: 3.4 g – Manno-oligo-saccharides: 0.5 g – Calcium: 12 g – Phosphorus: 9 g. *L.I.P.: protein selected for its very high assimilation.

    can somebodie explain if is wort it to open the bag

  • Aminvelez

    My german shepher was 10 pounds when they comes home at age of 40 days. Now two weeks later they are 20 pounds. They are eating Royal Canin maxy puppy large breed and one pill of Bully Max votamin a day.

  • Ginger’s mom

    meant boxer formula for 18mths and older sorry

  • Ginger’s mom

    maryJo…i am fedding the medium puppy to my 9 month old..i got her at 8 weeks and this is what the breeder sent me home with…she is doing great on it but won’t eat it plain so i add chicken to eat…they say the boxer formula is great but its for 8mths and older…i think this food is great for her and her coat looks great…its winter here so she is alittle itchy …this review scares me alittle cuase i want the best for her….so i am alittle confused on what to feed..:-(

  • Maryjo_g_1975

    I love the Royal Canin foods. I feed both of my Boxers the Royal Canin and they do great with it. I also love the line for cats. My cat was a picky ktten, rescued only weeks old from a drain. He wouldn’t eat anything but I tried the baby cat formula and he ate it! Working at an Animal Hospital, whenever we have kittens who wont eat, we give the baby cat to them. We nicknamed it kitten crack! LOL Bottom line, Royal Canin is good for my animals and they love it! They never miss their meals!

  • Ranti

    u guys are bloody good

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