Royal Canin Lifestyle Health Nutrition Urban Life (Dry)


Rating: ★★½☆☆

Royal Canin Lifestyle Health Nutrition Urban Life Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-lowest tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Royal Canin Urban Life product line includes five dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • Royal Canin Urban Life Large Dog Adult# [M]
  • Royal Canin Urban Life Large Dog Puppy [G]
  • Royal Canin Urban Life Small Dog Puppy [G]
  • Royal Canin Urban Life Small Dog Senior [M]
  • Royal Canin Urban Life Small Dog Adult (2 stars) [M]

Royal Canin Urban Life Large Dog Adult was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Royal Canin Urban Life Large Dog Adult

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 26% | Fat = 13% | Carbs = 53%

Ingredients: Corn, chicken by-product meal, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, natural flavors, dried plain beet pulp, pea fiber, wheat gluten, fish oil, vegetable oil, grain distillers dried yeast, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, salt, dried fish protein digest, monocalcium phosphate, hydrolyzed yeast, choline chloride, 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, folic acid, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement], trace minerals [zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, zinc proteinate, manganous oxide, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, copper proteinate], marigold extract (Tagetes erecta l.), glucosamine hydrochloride, chondroitin sulfate, rosemary extract, preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis23%12%NA
Dry Matter Basis26%13%53%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%29%48%
Protein = 23% | Fat = 29% | Carbs = 48%

The first ingredient in this dog food 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 second ingredient 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 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 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 fifth 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 flavors, we find 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.

The eighth ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a dog.

The ninth ingredient is 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.

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, we find 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.

Next, we note the use of grain distillers dried yeast, also known as GDDY.

GDDY is an ingredient obtained from the fermentation of cereal grains separated from distilling mash as a by-product of the ethanol (biofuel) industry.

This low-quality item is typically found in cattle feeds and is only rarely used to make pet food.

Although it contains over 40% protein, GDDY would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

What’s more, 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.

In addition, fish digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings. Animal digests are usually sprayed onto the surface of a dry dog food to improve its taste.

Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

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 Urban Life Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Royal Canin Urban Life looks like a below-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 26%, a fat level of 13% and estimated carbohydrates of about 53%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 15%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 51% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.

Near-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, wheat gluten and grain distillers dried yeast, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing just a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Royal Canin Urban Life is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of chicken by-product 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.

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Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

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For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

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

Notes and Updates

07/11/2016 Last Update

  • Storm’s Mom

    Particularly if you rely on just one company!

  • Cannoli

    as a dog lover myself I prepare my dog’s meals. Therefor I know my food is safe and nutritious. If you rely on companies to make your dogs’ their food then this uncertainty will always exist.

  • Storm’s Mom

    The point is that this dog food line isn’t much/any different than any of RC’s other products (excluding the diets for specific medical conditions) so, in all likelihood, how a dog does on RC generally is going to be how a dog does on this one. In other words, this product line exists merely for marketing/profit purposes, not for any unique nutritional purpose which its name purports to do…and that’s what folks get a bit annoyed about.

  • Vera S

    Dear Dog Lovers: All the above comments about price and gimmicy names are all useless. Who cares what they call their dog food? Who cares about the price? If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it! How about posting some useful comments, such as the health of your dogs. How is your dog doing after eating this for a few months? Does your vet recommend this food? Has your furry friend become sick on this food? Have they vomited? Are your pets thriving? This is what dog lovers really want to know. I have a teacup poodle. They have tiny organs. I want to know if this dog food is nutritious and safe for the health of my pet. Are there any constructive comments…anyone???

  • clarify

    A highly recommended vet sells it in their office. The second I read the ingredients I decided that I would never bring my pup back to them. I don’t care how well respected their office is. THey shouldn’t recommend crappy food.

  • Amateria

    I totally missed all these comments!
    But that kind of happens when your asleep when they happen 🙁

    To me it just genuinely looks like they still don’t have enough money and are looking for more, but really how much do you need?

    The commercial for it was cute though, I’m not a fan of the look of those dogs but this one was actually super cute.

  • mahoraner

    this is ridiculous
    i wasjust on chewy, curious of how much this sh!t costs,
    this sh!t is fuck!ng $46 FOR 16 LBS
    and its basically an over priced dog chow! dont believe me? read the first 5 ingredients!
    ORIJIN is cheaper than that.

    never thought royal canin would ever try to trick consumers this badly.
    it was already bad enough when they created the “breed specific” formulas
    now they’re trying to charge you 3x more for the same sh!t
    as if the breed specific food was already over priced for its ingredients
    Royal canin, give us a break from your scams!
    just for a year! or even 6 months would be nice.

  • Storm’s Mom

    I don’t see how that ingredient list would meet the needs of the kind of stressed out dog living in a busy city that RC imagines any more than it would meet the needs of a dog living on a 300 acre ranch in the middle of nowhere. The ingredients are pretty much exactly the same as every other formula RC puts out…there doesn’t appear to be any new “magic bullet” ingredient or set of ingredients that would help a specifically “urban dog” to make their argument compelling. Only the name has changed, really. It’s RC up to its old marketing tricks again.

  • mahoraner

    hmm, i didnt see that
    The thing i was basing my comment on was the name. Urban life makes me think of a dog that lives in an apartment in an urban area (the city) and that just makes me think that this is like an “indoor” dog food

    But i see what your saying.

  • bojangles

    Hi mahoraner,

    Royal Canin does not say Urban Life dog food is for indoor, or for less active dogs. They kinda say the opposite:

    “Dogs with an urban lifestyle may be exposed to crowded public places, car exhaust, noise and traffic as well as the excitement of parks. These environments create specific needs and challenges for your dog. Royal Canin Urban Life meets these needs through precise nutrition.”

    “Supports health against environmental conditions
    Supports healthy aging
    Easily breakable kibble
    *LIP: protein selected for its very high digestibility – Digestive Health – Stool Quality
    100% Complete and Balanced Nutrition
    100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
    Urban Life Large Dog Adult is for on-the-go adult dogs from 22-100lb impacted by busy lifestyles”

  • mahoraner

    i forgot to mention, the name sounds like cat food!
    The difference of indoor and outdoor CAT food is that outdoor cats get more exercise while indoor cats, not so much

    Just the name makes me think this is an “indoor” dog food and that all other foods are for outdoor dogs.
    Even though they do have new things like turf mats and “dog litter” (no joke, look it up)
    but unlike cats, dog need to be regularly exercised, NOT just put on a “low fat” diet, Cats on the other hand, the world is their playground, Thats why they can live perfectly fine indoors.

    And since being an “urban dog” isnt that different than being a regular dog, there’s no reason to go off and make a completely “different” food.

    If it were that big of an issue, other companies would have it covered by now.

    Same thing with their ridiculous “breed specific” “food”, if it were that big of an issue, other brands would have covered it way before royal canin did.

  • Storm’s Mom

    As I’ve said before to you, if that’s the case, then I would agree. That has nothing to do with RC’s marketing gimmicks with naming their formulas, though.

  • sharron

    if royal canin, both wet and dry, is the only dog food that she likes and will eat consistently, then i am going go to keep feeding her RC

  • mahoraner

    ANOTHER ridiculous line from royal canin?!?!

    *face palm*

  • Amateria

    Pshahaha yeah they are really up their own A’s with most of their foods and how happily they talk about new formulas or that hardly anyone is an expensive as they are and other general things makes you wish you could tell them to grow up as their acting like 5 year olds who just got a new toy…

    Really don’t like Royal or Purina or Mars or anyone talking good things about clearly bs foods.
    (I mean the companies talking here, their websites what they write on them and all that, not talking about anyone on here or any person thereof just the company.)

  • Storm’s Mom

    “Urban Life”?! Oh gees.. what’s next “Suburban Life”? Or a combo with the “breed specific” stuff..”Urban Poodle Life”?!..ugh. As if the breed specific formulas weren’t bad enough 🙁 RC’s marketing gimmicks/formulas are really starting to get on my nerves.