Royal Canin Mini (Dry)


Rating: ★★½☆☆

Royal Canin Mini Dog Food earns the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Royal Canin Mini Dog Food product line lists 12 dry recipes, nine claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and three for growth (puppies).

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

  • Royal Canin Mini Adult
  • Royal Canin Mini Puppy
  • Royal Canin Mini Special
  • Royal Canin Mini Mature +8
  • Royal Canin Mini Weight Care
  • Royal Canin Mini Indoor Puppy
  • Royal Canin Mini Indoor Mature +8
  • Royal Canin Mini Starter (3.5 stars)
  • Royal Canin Mini Aging +12 (2 stars)
  • Royal Canin Mini Indoor Adult (2 stars)
  • Royal Canin Mini Indoor Aging +12 (2 stars)

Royal Canin Mini Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Royal Canin Mini Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 16% | Carbs = 49%

Ingredients: Chicken meal, brewers rice, brown rice, corn, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, wheat gluten, dried beet pulp, vegetable oil, brewers dried yeast, fish oil, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, fructooligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, dl-methionine, choline chloride, l-lysine, magnesium oxide, vitamins [dl-alpha tocopherol acetate (source of vitamin E), l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin A acetate, niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin supplement (vitamin B2), folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], taurine, trace minerals (zinc oxide, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), l-carnitine, rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.6%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis25%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%16%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%33%43%

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

Although corn gluten meal contains 60% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably 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 wheat gluten. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once wheat has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.

Although wheat gluten contains 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably 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 ninth ingredient is 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 four 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, brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

In addition, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is a claim we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

What’s more noteworthy here is that brewers yeast contains about 48% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

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 includes 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 Mini Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Mini 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 28%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 49%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 28% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 48% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 56%.

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

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal, wheat gluten and brewers dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a below-average amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Royal Canin Mini Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a below-average amount of chicken meal as its main source 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 and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

Royal Canin Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

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A Final Word

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

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely almost entirely on the integrity of the information posted by each company on its website. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the quality of the test results from any specific batch of food a company chooses to publish.

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.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

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

Notes and Updates

05/11/2015 Last Update

  • Pitlove

    good. wait til her stomach heals. in the meantime u can certainly do research on a food that would work when she’s ready for a commercial food. it will give u plenty of time to find the right food. sounds like u have a pretty good vet. u could say you’re not wanting to switch her yet since she’s doing so well but does she have suggestions for when she is ready

  • sharron

    you’re right – i’ll keep her on it – why upset the apple cart

  • Pitlove

    ya it could definitely help, money wise, to find a canned food that was close to the rX diet. It could be hard though. Most commercial diets aren’t formulated that low in fat. RC’s website lists the nutrient analysis of the GI low fat canned diet (dry matter basis). So you would have to convert all canned foods you were interested in into dry matter basis.

    Honestly, with IBS I feel like a little more time on the rX diet could be beneficial if you swing it financially.

  • sharron

    well i’m not really sure due to the fact that i don’t want to get on the merry go round again especially with dry food – the vet called me to make sure everything is still fine with her, i didn’t call her about changing foods – it’s not something i have to do, it was only a suggestion – i wouldn’t mind in-cooperating a dry food, feeding straight can is getting quite expensive – i did have a bit of dry left that i wanted to use up, i only gave her a few pieces mixed with the can once in awhile

  • Pitlove

    hmm. how do u feel about doing that? are u looking at continuing with only canned?

  • sharron

    hi – was talking to the vet today and she said i could take lexee off the Rx diet and see how lexee does – if she does have another bout of diarrhoea then put her back on the Rx – my question is what food should i try – the vet says average protein and fat

  • sharron

    you’re such a dear, thanks so much
    got myself FINALLY on the right track with lexee

  • Pitlove

    exactly. don’t let people bully you. they don’t know lexee’s situation and how much the food is helping her. you made the effort to feed her a “higher” quality food and it just wasn’t right for her! she’d honestly be worse off on Acana even though on paper its a good food. the people who have half a brain will see how lucky lexee is to have a caring mom like you.

  • sharron

    thanks a bunch – i have to focus on the fact that she is doing well on the RC Rx and leave at that – thanks again

  • Pitlove

    I feed a food that has 3.5 stars and I could not care less. I do think that some people focus more on the star rating and less on things like if it works for their dog, if the company making the food is a good company and many many other things. I understand that meat content is important, but sometimes the 5 star foods don’t work for our dogs needs.

  • sharron

    thanks – do you think there is too much emphasis placed on the number of stars a dog food gets – i always feel guilty that i’m feeding her a food that is only 2 stars and has corn wheat etc in it, rather than a higher starred food that so many people feel that i should be feeding – this is where i get confused ad feel guilty – i guess i rely too much on other peoples’ opinions rather than what is working well for lexee

  • Pitlove

    The RC prescription diet Lexee is on right now would probably not get a good review either if Dr. Mike reviewed the food, but that shouldn’t matter because Lexee is doing well on it and that IS what matters.

  • aimee

    No! As Dr. Mike writes in each review “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”

  • sharron

    since this food doesn’t have a great rating, does that mean she shouldn’t be eating it even though she does well on it?

  • sharron

    have had her on orijen and acana – she likes those but every time i feed them to her she starts licking and chewing her paws. the only ingredient that i think it might cause it is alfalfa.
    that;s why i switched her back to royal canin and she’s not having any issues

  • WeimyLife

    I would keep her on it for sure then. Salmon oil on top of her food will help prevent dry skin. NaturVet has one I recommend (:

  • sharron

    thanks – she is a very picky eater – have had on most of the grain free dry foods – she won’t eat them – royal canin seems to be the one that she eats without any fuss

  • WeimyLife

    The corn gluten. Corn usually causes skin and coat issues. Unless the dog is a very picky eater, I do recommend a diet change.

  • sharron

    hi – i have a yorkie/chihuahua, eating RC mini adult.
    been told by quite a few people to change foods – why would this be – thanks

  • carol

    I too have found small black hairs in my dogs and cat canned foods. What is this?

  • Kat

    I know it is not the best, but is the one that works with my Kaya so far :

  • Joe

    I would highly urge anyone who is feeding their pet Royal Canin or any other pet food manufactured with U.S. industry standards to do some serious research on the pet food industry in this country. You would be appalled and disgusted. I have lost a pet and another sick because of Royal Canin food product recommended by my vet (my opinion). Please do some research before you trust your pet to this product or any other Royal Canin product.

  • maltipoos

    i Love Royal canin mini puppy. i i the best that i have used. and i have tried everything. and i always go back to Royal Canin mini puppy. Debbie,

  • kpstitch

    my dog weighs 14 lbs and is on brothers complete turkey allergy formula 1/4 cup 2 times a day. She is 4 years old and should weigh 11.5 lbs. She is 3/4 maltese and 1/4 yorkie. She is always hungry. when she is hungry I usually give her carrots or green beans. What else can I do?

  • Sue Ritter

    Chicken meal has been replaced with chicken byproduct meal. That makes a big difference!

  • Eldee

    It amazes me that they can spend millions of dollars formulating prescription vet foods, yet on the other side of the factory they are spewing out foods to feed cattle. Maybe this way, you are a customer for life. You start your dog on the pet food store Royal Canin dog food, and then you have to buy the vet prescription food to help heal your dog. Wow,,, now that is a marketing strategy!!