Royal Canin Medium dog food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
The Royal Canin Medium Dog Food product line lists four kibbles, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for growth (Puppy).
According to the company, each recipe has been designed for dogs weighing 21 to 55 pounds at adulthood and the line includes:
- Royal Canin Medium Puppy
- Royal Canin Medium Adult 25
- Royal Canin Medium Aging Care 25
- Royal Canin Medium Active Special 25 (digestive and skin sensitivities)
Royal Canin Medium Adult 25 dog food was selected to represent the others in the line for this review.
Royal Canin Medium Adult 25
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, rice, oat, chicken fat, corn gluten meal, natural chicken flavor, dried beet pulp, anchovy oil (source of EPA/DHA), dried brewers yeast, soya oil, potassium chloride, salt, calcium carbonate, dried brewers yeast extract (source of mannan-oligosaccharides), dried egg product, choline chloride, 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), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], trace minerals [zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], L-carnitine, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols (source of Vitamin E) and citric acid, rosemary extract
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.7%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||28%||14%||50%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||25%||31%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The second item 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 mentions rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The fourth item mentions the word oat. We’re not sure what “oat” actually means. Is it oatmeal? Oat bran? Oat fiber? Without more information, it’s also difficult to gauge the quality of this item, too.
The fifth ingredient lists 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.
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 many 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.
After the natural chicken 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 have much of an effect on the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, we find soil oil, red flagged here only due to its rumored (yet unlikely) link to canine food allergies.
However, since soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains no omega-3′s, it’s considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.
Next, the the yeast extract mentioned here is most likely used here as a flavor enhancer.
However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in this ingredient can be controversial.
That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration has designated these food additives to be safe decades ago1, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.
So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.
We’re undecided about this issue and only call your attention here to the controversy.
Thirdly, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
And lastly, this food does contain 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 Medium Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Medium appears to be only an average dog food.
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 29% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 46% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.
Near average protein. Average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.
Royal Canin Medium is a plant-based dry dog food using only a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
Those looking for a kibble designed mainly for smaller adult pets may wish to visit our review of Royal Canin Mini Adult dog food.
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
01/20/2010 Original review
08/22/2010 Review updated
03/12/2012 Review updated
03/12/2012 Last Update