Royal Canin Mini (Dry)

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Royal Canin Mini Dog Food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.

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

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

  • Royal Canin Mini Adult
  • Royal Canin Mini Special
  • Royal Canin Mini Mature +8
  • Royal Canin Mini Weight Care
  • Royal Canin Mini Puppy (3.5 stars)
  • Royal Canin Mini Starter (3.5 stars)
  • Royal Canin Mini 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 indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%14%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%16%49%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%33%43%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 33% | Carbs = 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 30% and a mean fat level of 17%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

Near-average protein. Near-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, wheat gluten and brewers dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Royal Canin Mini is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.

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.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

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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 entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

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.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

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 Chewy.com 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

10/20/2016 Last Update

  • sharron

    i will also give her zoe turkey dry food for variety

  • sharron

    will also add zoe turkey dry for variety

  • sharron

    hi – she is eating the precise as long as there is wet mixed with it – she’s not as picky as she was when she was younger – so will stick with the precise

  • InkedMarie

    Since she has been picky in the past, it might be wise to try transitioning

  • sharron

    thanks for the tip – i have added veggies to her food in the past, she won’t eat it – she eats better if i don’t mix other stuff with her food – she’s not a fan of veggies or fruit

  • sharron

    no, never have

  • InkedMarie

    Sharron, don’t you gradually transition from one food to the next?

  • Babslynne

    There are some more affordable canned food options that are highly rated, such as Natures Domain at Costco rated 5 stars for around .81 cents a can, but you have to buy a case of 24 for $19, and Pure Balance at Walmart that’s 4 star rated for around $1 a can. you can also add some fresh foods such as plain canned pumpkin, bananas, squash, sweet potatoes, and green beans.

  • sharron

    thanks so much – she always eats canned food – whether alone or mixed with only a few pieces of kibble, and i buy kibble that is very small – she doesn’t need the kibble – i only mix it with the can to make the can food go further – it’s really expensive to feed can food – thanks again for your help – she hasn’t had an episode with her trachea in quite awhile now – it seems to happen more often in the summer – perhaps it’s outside allergies that causes it

  • Babslynne

    This article might explain a few things about his condition as well as why you should not feed him kibble and how it affects his condition.
    http://drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com/post/150548329866/tracheal-collapse-dog#.V_2jhc6cHDc

  • sharron

    hi – i haven’t been feeding her beneful – i look at it when i’m in the store but have never bought it – finished the bag of RC so tonight i bought a bag of Precise – i gave her a bit of it when i got home she ate it – woohoo!!

  • theBCnut

    Not far off. There is a slim chance that RC uses better quality ingredients to start with. Of course, there is a chance that Beneful starts with better quality, but I doubt it.

  • Pitlove

    Hi sharron-

    I do think there are differences between Royal Canin and Beneful that would lead me to use Royal Canin again, but never Beneful.

    If I were to compare the Beneful Original to Royal Canin Maxi Adult (which I considered at one point), I’d say the biggest detterant for me using Beneful would be the artificial food coloring which RC does not use. I also prefer that chicken by-product meal is the first ingredient in RC vs beef and then 4 grains in Beneful, since meals have more protein. Also because I prefer simpler foods, I prefer RC since in comparison to Beneful Original they have less ingredients before the vitamin pack.

    However, I’m sure those who dislike both companies would concure with your statement. Dog food is very emotional for some people as you know.

  • sharron

    am i wrong thinking that royal canin and beneful are the same in quality

  • simon grech

    In a previous review , with EXACTLY the same ingredients , you had recommended it and given it a three-year rating!! Same product!
    Maybe Acana are investing much more in marketing in dog reviews !!

  • Pompom mama

    Also asked them that I saw many complaint about RC products and it causes kidney and urine stone also cancers

    This is their reply

    Dear Teeb

    Unfortunately there is a lot of information available that is not always factual and 100% accurate. If you have any specific questions about our products then we would like to encourage you to contact our dedicated nutritional helpline who can answer your questions.

    You can reach our helpline on 0845 300 2958 or via the contact us page on our website.

    We would like to reassure you that we only produce high quality products and that everything that we do is designed to support the health of the dog and cat.

    Thanks, Royal Canin

  • Pompom mama

    Hi
    Contacted RC regarding the Preservatives – Antioxidants in RC mini adult and junior
    And if they are using any chemicals

    This is their reply

    Hi Teeb

    Thank you for your enquiry regarding the additives we use in our ROYAL CANIN® diets. We hope the below explanations will help to answer your queries regarding the additives we use in our ROYAL CANIN® diets. We hope the below explanations will help to answer your queries regarding the use of this diet, and dry diets in general. All our diets have been formulated with the correct levels of nutrients and types of ingredients to aid in the nutritional management of varying lifestages/styles and breed requirements.

    Antioxidants: Oxidation reactions are one of the major reasons for the degradation of dietary products during storage. It concerns mainly fats, which when oxidised can trigger the following:-

    • rancidity development, responsible for a lower palatability
    • degradation of essential fatty acids, inducing some deficiencies
    likely to alter the skin and hair health
    • destruction of some vitamins
    • formation of toxic by-products, especially for the liver

    Antioxidants are necessary to guarantee the quality of the fats incorporated in the products. As mentioned previously all our diets have been formulated with the correct levels of nutrients and types of ingredients to aid in the nutritional management of varying lifestages/styles and breed requirements and this also includes our veterinary specific diets, so it is vital that the quality of all these diets is of the highest standard.

    There are two categories of antioxidants:

    • synthesized antioxidants: BHA (Butyl-Hydroxy-Anisole),
    ethoxyquine, gallates, BHT (Butyl-Hydroxy-Toluene)
    • natural antioxidants: other tocopherols: extracted from vegetable
    oils, alpha-tocopherol: precursor of vitamin E, ascorbic acid:
    precursor of vitamin C

    Natural antioxidants are often preferred by consumers, but one must know that:-

    – they are less stable; consequently their efficiency is not so good (higher quantities must be used). Producing diets that have a short shelf life would not be considered practical by consumers.
    – they are largely more expensive: the cost of the products would reflect this price.

    Choosing the right antioxidant and its level of incorporation depends on several factors: ingredients to protect, shelf-life guarantee, using conditions, stability, cost etc.
    ROYAL CANIN® has chosen to associate two different antioxidants plus another substance working in synergy, which enhances their efficiency and allows a decrease in the doses of incorporation.

    These products are:

    BHA, propyl-gallate and potassium sorbate.

    These substances are incorporated in the fats just after their extraction, in order to prevent the oxidation process from the very beginning. This is done by our suppliers of oils and fats, according to a protocol established by ROYAL CANIN®.

    Whatever the additives are (vitamins and trace-elements included); they may have harmful effects when they are used over the maximum safe levels. These effects have been studied and they are well-known; this is why the European regulation imposes precise maximal rates of incorporation.

    The antioxidant residues likely to be found in ROYAL CANIN® products are 5-10 times less compared to the maximum limits imposed for human food. Controls are regularly performed on raw materials to check the strict application of the rules as listed above.

    All of the ingredients, including the meat in ROYAL CANIN® diets are of human grade quality. We will not use sub-class ingredients in these diets. The fats we use are from the same source as the meat. Poultry meal is meat with the fat and water content removed. It is a high quality, easily digested protein source and does not contain any by-products such as feathers, beak, hoof etc. We do not include “fresh” poultry meat due to logistical problems regarding transportation in this form and it would increase the cost considerably. ROYAL CANIN® provides strict checks on all the ingredients used in our range of diets, upon delivery at the factory and then again in an external laboratory. All animal meats are first examined visually to check there are no unwanted components and if any of the ingredients do not conform to the standards, then they are refused.

    Should you have any further questions all please do not hesitate to let us know

    Kind regards
    Royal Canin

  • Pompom mama

    No its only accure once I give them kibbles or raw

  • Pitlove

    Have they seen the vet for the bloody stool?

  • Pitlove

    Hi pompom mama-

    Customer reviews are one of the worst ways to choose a dog food for your dog. There will always be negative and positive reviews about every dog food, even the “best” dog foods.

    Your dog has already tried brands that many consider to be the “best” and they didn’t work. Doesn’t mean they aren’t good foods, but they are certainly not right for your dog.

    Doing whats best for your dog sometimes means taking internet comments from angry dog owners with a grain of salt and doing more research about what the proffessionals in the field have to say.

  • Pompom mama

    Thats why I afraid to use it
    Today is our second day on RC but I am not feeling ok to give it to my poms because of many bad reviews

    We used acana but they started eating their stool and also pooping alot

    Orijen and ziwipeak gave them loose stool

    We have forthglade with is made in Devon UK which is good ingredients

    Will keep searching

  • mozof2

    I have never used RC. My vet recommended it, but after researching I found some concerning reviews from some that had used it.
    I have personally found that I cannot go by “rating” alone. I like to look at reviews from real people as well as checking to see if there are any recalls on the product. Even a good product, if not manufactured properly can harm an animal.

  • Pompom mama

    I tried many high quality brands but non were agreeing with them
    Now am trying RC mini starter and adult
    They are doing well and loving the food

    I was trying the food for over 2 years with no success
    My friend ( pom breeder ) advise me to use RC as she using the food for years with good results
    Should I be worried about it because it is rated as a low quality ? Or I should feed them the food that they are doing well on

  • Briana Johnson

    what do you recommend then?

  • Briana Johnson

    My vet recommended this brand of food. He feeds this to his dog. I have always went by star rating, but am having a change of heart after nearly losing my little guy with a five star rated food, Diamond Naturals. I will not buy anything made from Diamond ever again.
    Do your research and you will find lots of consumers with the same complaints.
    The
    food may be quality, but the equipment used is not being cleaned
    properly leading to Salmonella poisoning time and time again. They are
    very slow to recall. Don’t be one of their victims. Any company that has
    multiple recalls obviously is not fixing the problem.

  • 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!!

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