Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Gastrointestinal Dog Food is not rated due to its intentional therapeutic design.
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Gastrointestinal product line includes five dry recipes, each designed to help in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Puppy
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Energy
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Moderate Calorie
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Energy was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Energy
Dry Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken by-product meal, brown rice, brewers rice, chicken fat, corn, corn gluten meal, natural flavors, egg product, grain distillers dried yeast, dried plain beet pulp, monocalcium phosphate, fish oil, vegetable oil, salt, psyllium seed husk, sodium silico aluminate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, fructooligosaccharides, hydrolyzed yeast, taurine, choline chloride, dl-methionine, l-lysine, 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), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement], trace minerals [zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta l.), rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.6%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||26%||20%||46%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||21%||40%||39%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the prime cuts have been removed.
In addition to organs (the nourishing part), this stuff can contain almost anything — feet, beaks, undeveloped eggs — anything except feathers.
On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
In any case, although this item contains all the amino acids a dog needs, we consider chicken by-products an inexpensive, lower quality ingredient.
The second 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 third 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 fourth 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.
The fifth 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 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.
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.
After the natural flavor, we find egg product, an unspecified (wet or dry?) form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.
In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.
The ninth ingredient is grain distillers dried yeast, a by-product resulting from the fermentation of grains separated from distilling mash as a by-product of the production of ethanol (biofuel).
Even though it contains over 40% 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 meat content of this dog food.
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, 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.
Next, this recipe contains vegetable oil, 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.
In addition, we find 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 also 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 Veterinary Diets
Gastrointestinal Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Although this is a prescription product, our review has nothing to do with the accuracy of claims made by the manufacturer as to the product’s ability to treat or cure a specific health condition.
So, to find out whether or not this dog food is appropriate for your particular pet, it’s important to consult your veterinarian.
With that understanding…
Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Gastrointestinal Dog Food appears to be a below-average dry product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still prefer to estimate the product’s meat content before concluding our report.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 25% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 62%.
Below-average protein. Near-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 dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a modest amount of meat.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diets Gastrointestinal is a plant-based dry dog food using a modest amount of chicken by-product meal as its main source of animal protein.
Royal Canin Dog Food
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.
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.
Dog Food Coupons
Readers are invited to share news about coupons and discounts with others in our Dog Food Coupons Forum.
Or click the buying tip below. Please be advised we receive a fee for referrals made to the following online store.
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 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
06/18/2015 Last Update