Royal Canin Mini (Dry)

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Rating: ★★½☆☆

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

The Royal Canin Mini product line includes 12 dry recipes, nine claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and three for growth (puppy formulas).

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 Aging 12+
  • 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 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
MethodProteinFatCarbs
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.

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 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.

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 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 five 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.

Next, fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

And lastly, this food 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 Mini Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Mini looks like an average dry 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.

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 and wheat gluten as well as the brewers dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a modest amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Royal Canin Mini Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a modest 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.

Notes and Updates

10/20/2013 Original review
10/20/2013 Last Update

  • 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!!