Pet food ingredients explained

At Royal Canin, we choose our ingredients first and foremost according to their nutritional benefits. This approach also helps to ensure we develop products suited to cats and dogs' needs and enables us to select ingredients with less of a footprint to minimise our impact on the environment. Find out more about our approach below.

Cocker Spaniel adult in black and white eating out of a red bowl

How we choose pet food ingredients

Selecting nutrients sustainably

Sustainability partners

At Royal Canin, we have been working with the large majority of our suppliers for many years. We have grown together to achieve the level of quality we are proud of. When needed, we work as partners and investors with them to develop specific ingredients or standards, including developing farming practices that have a positive benefit on the ingredient's nutritional quality or safety, or on the environment.

We also work with a range of strategic partners, such as The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), to ensure we address the sustainability of ingredients and don't use materials coming from endangered species.

Lush and green rain forest
Green farm land

Alternative nutrient sources

Adopting a nutrient-first approach means we are able to produce the same nutrient profile in our products across the world, with a lower carbon footprint than using the same ingredient globally. Focusing on just the nutrients provided means we can replace, for example, certain marine-based ingredients with more sustainable sources such as algae. This ingredient provides a similar nutrient profile to crustaceans but has a lower social and environmental impact.

Similarly, by using animal by-products such as organ meat, ingredients of high nutritional value that are often outside of the human food chain, we minimise waste. This approach also reduces strain on livestock production, an industry which is known to have an impact on the environment, and ensures we don't compete with the human food industry.

Understanding Royal Canin pet food ingredients

Royal Canin only accepts ingredients from validated suppliers who undergo regular, comprehensive audits. Find out more about the types of ingredient we use and the benefits they provide pets below.

Examples of animal proteins

Examples of animal proteins are poultry, pork, beef, lamb, and also include by-products such organs, that are nutritious and beneficial to cats and dogs.

What do animal proteins provide?

Animal proteins provide a wide range of nutrients, such as protein, calcium, chondroitin, magnesium, taurine, iron, and vitamins, including D, B12, A.

Benefits of animal proteins

The nutrients provided by animal proteins are key to developing strong bones, teeth and muscles. Animal proteins also support production of red blood cells and skin cells and can also provide energy for both cats and dogs.

Examples of plant proteins and cereals

Examples of plant proteins and cereals include rice, wheat, corn, barley, and oats.

What do plant proteins and cereals provide?

Plant proteins are excellent sources of many essential nutrients for pets. High-quality plant materials can provide starch, dietary fibre, fat, minerals, amino acids, and vitamins.

Benefits of plant proteins and cereals

As with animal proteins, plant proteins are a high source of energy. Plant proteins are also highly digestible for cats and dogs, and when processed properly, some can even be more digestible than animal protein sources. These ingredients also help your pet maintain their healthy skin and coat, and help prevent damage to healthy cells.

Examples of fibres

Examples of these ingredients include carrots, beetroot and wheat.

What do fibres provide

Fibres are complex carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion in the small intestine and play a major role in regulating the digestive system.

Benefits of fibres

Fibre is used to treat problems of digestive transit and facilitate faecal elimination, maintaining the health of colonic mucosa. Fibres provide pets with little to no energy which means, when consumed, they allow cats and dogs to feel full without eating as many calories. It is for this reason that fibre is a very useful ingredient in some Royal Canin weight loss diets.

Examples of fats and oils

Examples of these ingredients include fish oil, vegetable oils such as soya oil, sunflower oil and animal fats including chicken fat.

What do fats and oils provide?

Fats and oils are sources of energy, omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, and omega-6 fatty acids. Fats and oils may also provide vitamin D and vitamin E.

Benefits of fats and oils

In measured amounts, fats and oils are crucial for storing energy; a gram of fats represents approximately 9 kcal of metabolisable energy, almost two and a half times more than a gram of carbohydrates or proteins provides. Fats and oils support anti-inflammatory properties and skin health, skin integrity and prostaglandin synthesis. Essential fatty acids also have structural roles for the cell or act as precursors to specific hormones.

Think nutrient-first

When considering your pet food choices, remember, ingredients are only as good as the nutrients they provide. What truly matters is that the right nutrients are provided in the right quantities to support your pet's health and lifestyle. By understanding nutrients and their benefits, you can make informed decisions about your pet's diet.

Essential nutrients explained
Brown Labrador retriever adult and ginger cat sat together indoors