Pedigree vs Royal Canin - Top Dog Food Brands Compared
PetMonkey Rating: Pedigree
Overall PetMonkey Rating: 60 %
PetMonkey Rating: Royal Canin
Overall PetMonkey Rating: 90 %
To assess the quality of Pedigree vs Royal Canin, we need to look beyond the packaging and into its list of ingredients.
One way to assess quality is to compare the nutrient analysis that manufacturers legally have to provide on the pack. This covers protein levels, and analyses the amount of crude fats and fibre content among other markers.
For our review, we took three similarly sized feeds from each of the brands and took an average. For Pedigree, this included Pedigree Complete Adult Small Dry Dog Food - Chicken & Vegetables - 2.3kg.
We compared two other Pedigree feeds against three bags of Royal Canin dog food, including Royal Canin Medium Adult Dry Dog Food - 4kg.
Royal Canin vs Pedigree: Protein
Why is protein important for dogs?
Protein is packed with amino acids that help to keep your dog in good health. Amino acids can help make his coat glossy, his skin smooth and his muscles strong, to name a few benefits. Experts recommend that dogs need around 18-25% protein from their food. So while Pedigree has a decent amount of protein, Royal Canin just pips it. However, bear in mind that the protein figure doesn't represent its food source, only the total amount.
Where does the meat content come from?
Royal Canin states that its protein comes from concentrated, dehydrated poultry protein. Effectively, this is fresh meat with the excess water removed. This results in a nutritionally dense ingredient that manages to preserve all the goodness. In fact, Royal Canin states that treating the meat in this way actually boosts the overall protein content, since there is less water in the food when compared to feeding fresh. Royal Canin lists dehydrated poultry protein high in all the ingredients lists for all the feeds that we reviewed. This, to us, suggests that Royal Canin is a very high quality food.
What are meat and animal derivatives?
Pedigree on the other hand lists meat and animal derivatives high up on all the products that we reviewed. As any savvy dog owner knows, this refers to the non-flesh part of an animal, such as the organs. This is not necessarily a bad thing: Pedigree makes the case that these parts of the animal contain high levels of vitamins and minerals. Plus, in nature, your dog would've gained these nutrients from eating the whole animal anyway! As you'd expect, the use of meat and animal derivatives is highly regulated, so you can feed Pedigree knowing that all meat and animal derivatives always come from animals passed fit for human consumption.
Moreover, it's not only Pedigree that follows this practice: Royal Canin states openly on its website that it may also include meat and animal derivatives in its recipes, although we didn't find evidence of this. However, in conclusion, when it comes to protein sources, it would appear that Royal Canin contains higher quality meat sources than Pedigree.
Pedigree on average has higher amounts of crude fibre, with 4.3%, while Royal Canin has 1.5%. Crude fibre is important because it helps keep your dog's gastrointestinal health in good shape. Experts suggest that dogs need around 4 % fibre in their diets. As a result, Pedigree scores slightly higher.
Is Royal Canin Grain Free? What About Pedigree?
In short, no. Royal Canin lists maize, rice and wheat in the majority of its regular dry food range, whereas Pedigree lists 'cereals' high in its ingredient listing.
As you'd expect, both brands state the benefits of having grains and carbohydrates in your dog's diet. Pedigree Facts About Our Food reiterates the importance of grains for a healthy digestive tract, while Royal Canin FAQs praises grains for their excellent energy giving capabilities and the importance of grains for complete, balanced nutrition.
Of course, if your dog starts having loose stools, or their skin and coat becomes dry and flaky, then it could indicate a sensitivity to grain. In this case, you might wish to introduce a 100% grain-free feed, such as those from the True Instinct range or Vitalin Adult Dry Dog Food - Chicken & Potato - 12kg.
However, if, like the many pet owners worldwide, your dog does OK with grains, then there's nothing inherently wrong with either of these foods.
Kilo for kilo, Royal Canin undoubtedly comes in more expensive than Pedigree, with Royal Canin Medium Adult Dry Dog Food - 15kg costing just under half as much again as Pedigree’s comparative product, the Pedigree Complete Dry with Chicken & Vegetables 12kg. Not only this: if you go for a brand specific product, Royal Canin is more pricey, and some breeds are more expensive to feed than others! Whether you get what you pay for is ultimately up to you. If your dog thrives on Royal Canin, then it's worth every penny. However, if like many owners, you feed your dog on Pedigree without any ill-effects, then it's undoubtedly more cost-effective.
Here, we're looking at specifics. How relevant is each brand to your dog's unique size, shape and age?
Pedigree - feeds for size, age and weight
Pedigree makes great all-rounder dry dog food products that are suitable for all breeds and sizes. For example, its Pedigree Complete Adult Dry Dog Food - Chicken & Vegetables - 12kg is an all-in-one that most dogs will enjoy. In addition, you can buy Pedigree food products to suit your dog's size: so small, medium and large.
Pedigree Complete Adult Small Dry Dog Food - Chicken & Vegetables - 2.3kg is a complete dry dog food for small dogs up to 10kg. You can also buy Pedigree products to suit your dog's specific stage of life. For example, it offers a good quality puppy food Pedigree Puppy Medium Dry Dog Food - Chicken & Rice - 10kg.
Plus, for your older dog, there's a complete selection of wet food. Pedigree Senior Wet Dog Food - Meat Selection In Jelly - 12 x 100g will suit even the fussiest of eaters. And if your dog needs to lose a few pounds? Then Pedigree has a recipe for that, too. At 20% lower in fat than regular Pedigree feeds, Pedigree Light Complete Dry Dog Food - Chicken & Vegetables - 10kg is ideal for those dogs that are overweight, either through age, illness or lower activity levels.
Royal Canin takes tailored nutrition one step further. Its philosophy is that each dog is different, so instead of creating generic bags of food, the company creates product based around different doggie profiles. Everything from the shape of the kibble to the ingredients within is tailored to the dog’s breed. As a result, an amazing product range with food for every breed you can think of!
For example, Royal Canin dry dog food range consists of breed-specific pouches and bags, from Toy dogs to medium and large dogs, for example for toy dogs, there's Royal Canin Pug Puppy Dry Dog Food - 1.5kg.
For medium-sized dogs, there's Royal Canin Boxer Adult Dry Dog Food - 12kg and for large dogs, Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food - 11kg.
Royal Canin kibble sizes compared
To see the difference, let's look inside a pack and compare the kibble. Royal Canin creates a doughnut-shaped kibble to help Retrievers ingest their food more slowly for example, Royal Canin Labrador Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food - 12kg. Boxers, on the other hand, are provided with a wave-shaped kibble that is easier for this short-muzzled breed to pick up its food. You'll find these in Royal Canin Boxer Adult Dry Dog Food - 12kg.
Like Pedigree, Royal Canin also provides support for puppies. Again, these are available for specific breeds, from pugs to Shih Tzus and giant breeds. For example, Royal Canin Giant Puppy Dry Dog Food - 15kg is aimed at puppies that will grow into adult dogs of around 45lb. The specially formulated recipe contains extra calcium and phosphorus to help these pups grow healthy joints and bones and to maintain an ideal weight during the fast growth stage.
Royal Canin - good range of sizes and stay fresh bags
Royal Canin packaging is certainly eye-catching, with its trademark glossy white and gold colours. The brand places high importance on freshness and indeed, the plastic is very strong and durable so you don't have to worry about the bag leaking or breaking.
Each bag has its trademark illustration on the front, which as well as looking attractive, helps you identify it from the many other bags in your store cupboard!
We took a selection of 1.5kg, 3kg and 12kg bags and found them all very sturdy, each with an easy-open zip system which helps to create a protective atmosphere inside the bag.
This is always important, but especially so when you consider that you're paying a premium price for Royal Canin. The brand recommends that its dry food is eaten within one month of being opened, or up to two months if the bag is stored in an airtight container. Not only this: the feeds come in lots of different sizes, so you can choose just what you need, so making it more cost-effective if you're on a budget and more practical if you're short on storage space.
Other food types are packed in a sensible way to ensure freshness while making the product easy to feed to your dog. For example, Royal Canin Babydog Milk Puppy Food - 2kg comes in a sturdy plastic tub with a strong handle.All packaging lists the ingredients clearly, along with feeding guides. Some products of the same weight are vacuum packed whereas others aren't.
Pedigree packaging: quality sacks and pouches
In comparison, Pedigree pet food comes in plastic sack like bags that feel thinner overall. Although not quite as sturdy, they're certainly robust enough, and the zip fresh lock is a welcome addition. Like Royal Canin, the ingredients are clearly listed along with a feeding guide.
We've only compared dry dog food here, but it's good to know that Pedigree offers its food in convenient formats for example, pouches. Pedigree Adult Wet Dog Food - Pouch Favourites In Jelly - 24 x 100g are are an easily packed, fuss free wet food – just snip and pour. Therefore Pedigree offers flexibility if you're travelling with your dog, or simply don't like scooping food from a can.
You might be surprised to know that Pedigree and Royal Canin are both owned by Mars, with a reputation for quality that goes back decades. Pedigree Petfoods, part of the Purina Petfood Group, has been a UK household name for over 80 years. It has factories in Melton Mowbray and Leeds with offices in Virginia, US. Plus its science centre, The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, is recognised globally as a scientific leader in pet nutrition and wellbeing. In short: you can be sure that you're not feeding your dog a load of rubbish.
Royal Canin was established in 1968 by the French veterinary surgeon Jean Cathary. Today, Royal Canin remains headquartered in France while its pet food is manufactured in Missouri and South Dakota, US. The brand claims that it analyses 100% of its incoming raw materials and is able to trace each back to its origin for the full shelf life of the product. Its links to breeders, veterinary healthcare experts and commitments to sustainability are impressive.
Dog Dental Care
We really like the Pedigree Dog Healthcare range, specifically its Dog Treats. While it doesn't offer - or claim to treat a specific range of pet ailments like Royal Canin does, its Pedigree Dentastix Fresh Small Dog Treats - Box of 28 are very popular. And anything that makes it easier for us to clean our dog's teeth scores points with us!
On the other hand, Royal Canin Maxi Adult Dental Care Dry Dog Food - 3kg does a similar job, but in a feed, which is useful if your dog is suffering from extensive tartar build-up. Naturally, it's more expensive, but when it comes to finding the right food for your dog, it's worth every penny.
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