Royal Canin Mini Weight Care receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3 stars.
According to the manufacturer, Royal Canin Mini Weight Care is designed “for small breed dogs (between 9 and 22 lb) from 10 months to 8 years old with tendency to gain weight”.
Although this formulation appears to be designed for a specific life stage, we found no AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements for these dog foods on the Royal Canin website.
Royal Canin Mini Weight Care (Dry)
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken meal, corn gluten meal, corn, pearl barley, wheat, brown rice, powdered cellulose, natural flavors, wheat gluten, chicken fat, rice hulls, dried beet pulp, brewers dried yeast, fish oil, vegetable oil, potassium chloride, psyllium seed husk, calcium carbonate, l-lysine, fructooligosaccharides, sodium tripolyphosphate, salt, choline chloride, dl-methionine, magnesium oxide, taurine, 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], l-carnitine, trace minerals (zinc oxide, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, copper proteinate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), green tea extract, rosemary extract, preserved with natural mixed tocopherols and citric acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 9.8%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||10%||51%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||29%||23%||48%|
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 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.
The third item is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.
The fourth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index, barley can help support more stable blood sugar levels.
The fifth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is powdered cellulose, a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from the by-products of vegetable processing. Except for the usual benefits of fiber, powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a dog.
After natural flavor, we find wheat gluten, another plant-based protein booster.
The ninth 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.
Next we find rice hulls, an inexpensive by-product of the rice milling process. Rice hulls are used here to add dietary fiber to the recipe, which dilutes the total number of calories per serving.
This principle is known as “lowering caloric density”. Aside from this benefit, rice hulls can be considered a nutritionally empty component.
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, brewers dried yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein and is rich in 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.
What’s more, a vocal minority insists yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something 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.
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.
Thirdly, 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, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.
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 Mini Weight Care Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Mini Weight Care looks to be 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.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 32%.
Above-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the corn gluten meal and wheat gluten, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.
Royal Canin Mini Weight Care is a plant-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken meal as its main source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3 stars.
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
01/19/2010 Original review
08/21/2010 Review updated
04/18/2012 Last Update