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

Pet food ingredients explained

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

How we choose pet food ingredients

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What is a nutrient profile?

Nutrient profiles are an analysis of the nutrients an ingredient or food product contains. At Royal Canin, we develop ideal profiles for each pet food diet based on the unique needs of cats and dogs. This means that when we create a new recipe, we can ensure that the precise formulas are adapted to support cats and dogs of specific ages, breeds, sizes, lifestyles, health conditions, and sensitivities.

Adult cat and dog eating from two bowls indoors
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Identifying nutrient profiles

Ideal nutrient profiles can be achieved in a variety of ways, combining any number of ingredients from many potential sources. For example, a plate of chicken and mashed potatoes has a very similar nutrient profile to rice, beans, and tofu, despite being completely different meals.

Jack Russell Terrier standing indoors eating from a silver food bowl
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Evaluate nutrient quality

By taking a nutrient-first approach, Royal Canin considers all ingredients, evaluating their nutrient quality and digestibility, how they are processed, and their safety for pets. In doing so, we ensure our formulation and sourcing teams select only the high-quality ingredients to fit our precise formulas and maximize the nutritional benefits for cats and dogs.

Kibble samples in a lab

Selecting nutrients sustainably

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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.

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 ingredients we use and the benefits they provide pets below.

Examples of animal proteins

Examples of animal proteins are poultry, pork, and beef, and also include by-products such as 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, and 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 fiber, 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 finely ground, 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 fibers

Examples of these ingredients include carrots, beet pulp, psyllium, and cellulose.

What do fibers provide

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

Benefits of fibers

Fiber is used to treat problems of digestive transit and facilitate fecal elimination, maintaining the health of colonic mucosa. Fibers 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 fiber is a very useful ingredient in some Royal Canin weight loss diets as well as certain other diets.

Examples of fats and oils

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

What do fats and oils provide?

Fats and oils may be 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 8.5 kcal of metabolizable energy, almost two and a half times more than a gram of carbohydrates or proteins provides. Fats and oils support skin health, skin integrity, and prostaglandin synthesis. Essential fatty acids also have structural roles for the cell or act as precursors to specific hormones.

Brown Labrador retriever adult and ginger cat sitting together indoors

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.