Royal Canin vs. Pedigree: Does a Higher Price Equates to Better Quality?

Royal Canin vs. PedigreeRoyal Canin holds a prestigious position in the pet food industry due to its systematic methods, innovations, and stellar reputation. Pedigree, on the other hand, focuses on providing complete and balanced nutrition that the average pet owner can afford.

However, some people joke about Mars making Royal Canin, and whatever is left over as waste is used to make Pedigree. Although Royal Canin and Pedigree are both subsidiaries of the massive conglomerate, Mars Inc., these two brands differ in many ways.

So in this comparison article for Royal Canin vs. Pedigree, I will highlight the key differences between these two pet food brands. I will also review three of their popular products:

Comparing Brand Histories

Pedigree History

Pedigree logoIn the 1930s, Chappel Brothers Ltd, a small company in Manchester, took meat scraps, canned them, and sold them as dog foods under the brand name “Chappie.” This was an era when people pay little regard to the taste or nutrition of the foods their pets were eating.

Chappie canned dog foods were so cheap and popular that it caught the attention of Forrest Mars and acquired the company. Since the company was making more than the Chappie product, its name was changed to Petfoods Ltd in 1956 and became Pedigree Petfoods Ltd in 1972.

In 1936, a US rival was producing canned dog foods using horse meat from retired racehorses. Kal Kan dog foods were in-demand in the 1960s, so Mars purchased Kal Kan Foods in 1968. Mars began adding the “Pedigree” to Kal Kan packaging and ultimately, the name Kal Kan was dropped altogether.

It is safe to say Chappie and Kal Kan both contributed to what is today, known as Pedigree Petfoods.

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Royal Canin vs. Pedigree: Top 3 Products

Product Name
Caloric Content & Guaranteed Analysis
Top Ingredients
Primary Health Benefits
Price

332 kcal per cup
Crude Protein 19.5% min
Crude Fat 17.5% min
Crude Fiber 3.1% max
EPA + DHA .2% min
Omega-3 Fatty Acids .5% min
Brewer’s Rice,
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein,
Chicken Fat,
Natural Flavors,
Dried Beet Pulp
Improved
Digestion
Skin and Coat
Health
Check Price


248 kcal per cup
Crude Protein 20% min
Crude Fat 5.5% min
Crude Fiber 3.9% max
EPA + DHA.09% min
Potassium 0.6% min
Vitamin E 315 IU/kg min
Ascorbic Acid 240 mg/kg min
Brewer’s Rice,
Chicken By-Product Meal,
Wheat, Barley,
Natural Flavor
Improved
Digestion
Weight
Control
Check Price


333 kcal per cup
Crude Protein 17% min
Crude Fat 15% min
Crude Fiber 3.7% max
Moisture 10% max
EPA .08% min
DHA .05% min
Calcium.75% max
Phosphorus .7% max
Magnesium .08% max
Vitamin E 350 IU/kg min
Lutein 5 mg/kg
Brewer’s Rice,
Corn,
Chicken Fat,
Chicken By-Product Meal,
Brewer’s Rice Flour
Improved
Urinary
Tract
Health
Check Price


309 kcal per cup
Crude Protein 21% min
Crude Fat 11% min
Crude Fiber 4% max
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 12% max
Calcium 1% min
Phosphorus .8% min
Zinc 80 mg/kg min
Vitamin E 100 IU/kg min
Glucosamine 350 mg/kg min

Ground Whole Grain Corn,
Meat and Bone Meal,
Corn Gluten Meal,
Animal Fat, Soybean Meal
Proper
Digestion
Skin and Coat
Health
Dental
Care
Check Price
315 kcal per cup
Crude Protein 27%
Crude Fat 12%
Crude Fiber 4%
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 2%
Calcium 1%
Zinc 80 mg/kg min
Vitamin E 100 IU/kg
Ground Whole Grain Corn,
Meat and Bone Meal,
Chicken by-Product Meal,
Corn Gluten Meal,
Animal Fat
Muscle Development
Digestive
Health
Skin and Coat
Health
Dental Care
Check Price
332 kcal per cup
Crude Protein 21%
Crude Fat 11%
Crude Fiber 4%
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 2%
Calcium 1%
Calcium 1%
Zinc 80 mg/kg
Vitamin E 100 IU/kg
Glucosamine 350 mg/kg
Chondroitin Sulfate 275 mg/kg
Ground Whole Grain Corn,
Chicken By-Product Meal,
Corn Gluten Meal,
Animal Fat,
Meat and Bone Meal
Digestive
Health
Skin and Coat
Health Dental
Care
Check Price

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Dry Dog FoodSome dogs can have a negative reaction to certain traditional proteins, such as those coming from meat. These sensitivities can lead to recurring ear infections, gastrointestinal upset, itching, and hair loss due to excessive scratching. To aid dogs with hypersensitivities, Royal Canin crafted the Hydrolyzed Protein Adult HP Veterinary Diet.

As hinted by the name, it features hydrolyzed soy proteins that are composed of low molecular weight peptides to make digestion as smooth as possible. This diet aims to help the digestive system break down food easily, which is the key to optimal nutrient uptake.

Most importantly, the formula offers the least risk of triggering an immune reaction.

Moreover, this kibble is formulated with a select blend of fibers to promote proper digestion and normal bowel movement. The combination of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids ensures it nourishes the skin and further enhances its natural barrier. The result?

A hale and hearty pooch that looks great inside and out!

PROS:
  • Suitable for dogs that have food allergies or those diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, IBD, gastroenteritis, etc.
  • Can be used during a short-term elimination trial or provide long-term nutrition for hypersensitive pooches
  • Plentiful in EPA and DHA, B vitamins, and amino acids
  • Caters to both puppies and adult canines
  • Supports digestion, bowel movement, skin and coat health
CONS:
  • Expensive and you’ll need to pay extra for your vet’s prescription

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Low Fat Dry Dog FoodFat is a macronutrient that serves many important roles in the canine body. For one, it fuels dogs and provides insulation. Unfortunately, not all pets can metabolize fat due to a disease of the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas. Any of these diseases may occur in conjunction with other digestive problems, which means Sniffer might also struggle to digest proteins.

That is why the brains of Royal Canin crafted the Gastrointestinal Low-Fat Veterinary Diet. Albeit low in fat, its special formula energizes your pooch, so he could continue to be his playful self. Likewise, it features highly digestible proteins and a blend of dietary fibers to improve digestion, bowel movements, and stool quality.

To help keep tummy troubles at bay, probiotics are added to nourish and promote the growth of gut-friendly bacteria. Adequate amounts of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants are also added for optimum health.

PROS:
  • Low-fat content suits dogs that need to lose weight fast or have trouble digesting fat
  • Made with highly digestible proteins and supplemented with prebiotics for better digestion, nutrient uptake, and bowel movement
  • Omega-3 fatty acids support cognitive, cardiovascular, skin, and coat health
  • Contains antioxidants to strengthen the immune system
  • Energizes pets without the unwanted fat
CONS:
  • Expensive and it needs a vet’s recommendation to make a purchase

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Dry Dog FoodUrolithiasis is becoming a more common problem in dogs, with the most common being struvite, calcium oxalate, and urate crystals. Struvites are often caused by infections, while the rest of the uroliths are caused by metabolic abnormalities, nutrient imbalances, or genetic conditions.

If Sniffer is suffering from recurring UTIs or a leaky bladder due to uroliths, your beloved pet may benefit from Urinary SO Dry Dog Food Veterinary Diet. This formula provides your pet complete and balanced nutrition, while it dissolves urolith formations.

Royal Canin has pioneered a method called Relative Supersaturation (RSS), which allows them to determine the specific saturation level within the bladder that makes it unlikely for these stones to form. As such, they applied this knowledge to their food.

PROS:
  • Reduces ion concentrations in the urine to prevent crystal formations
  • Has a reduced level of magnesium to make the bladder a less ideal environment for struvites
  • Provides complete and balanced nutrition while supporting overall bladder health
CONS:
  • Expensive and you can’t buy it without a vet’s prescription

Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food, Roasted Chicken, Rice, & Vegetables

Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition Dry Dog Food, Roasted Chicken, Rice, & VegetablesThis recipe is one of Pedigree’s best-selling products due to its savory roasted chicken flavor that canines crave. Most importantly, it offers complete and balanced nutrition to help your pooch perform his daily activities with ease.

To help Sniffer fight off infections, zinc and antioxidants are likewise added into the formula to boost his immunity against disease. The food also contains omega-6 fatty acids to make your beloved pooch looking his best from head to paw.

PROS:
  • The crunchy texture of the kibble helps remove tartar
  • A complete and balanced diet with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
  • Contains omega-6 fatty acids for reproduction, immune function, skin, and coat health
  • Includes a fiber blend for proper digestion
CONS:
  • Chicken is not among the main ingredients
  • Might fatten up your dog rather quickly due to the quantity of corn used
  • Some pet parents complained that it caused indigestion

Pedigree High-Protein Dry Dog Food, Beef & Lamb

Pedigree High-Protein Dry Dog Food, Beef & LambDid you know that feeding an overweight dog with a diet high in protein and less in carbs can facilitate weight loss? A high-protein diet is also excellent for adult canines with high-activity levels.

The Pedigree High-Protein dry dog food claims to help a pudgy pooch gain back a consistent lean weight. This kibble features a combination of beef and lamb flavors to ensure picky eaters wouldn’t ignore their food and get the complete, balanced nutrition they need to strive.

But as I looked deeper into the fine print, I realized that it actually doesn’t have beef in its top five ingredients, albeit Pedigree’s claim that it contains 25% protein from real beef.

Nevertheless, it contains vitamins and minerals to help strengthen the immune system and omega-3 fatty acids to nourish the skin.

PROS:
  • Affordable food with delicious beef and lamb flavor
  • Fortified with omega-3 fatty acids
CONS:
  • Neither beef or lamb is the main protein source
  • Two corn ingredients are listed among the top ingredients

Pedigree Complete Nutrition for Small Dogs, Chicken, Rice, & Vegetables

Pedigree Complete Nutrition for Small Dogs, Chicken, Rice, & VegetablesThis formula caters to small breeds, but it brings the same benefits nonetheless.

The recipe includes chicken, rice, and vegetables to give your little pampered pooch complete and balanced nutrition.

Additionally, the formula contains optimal levels of omega-6 fatty acids to keep the skin and coat looking healthy.

Every bite of the crunchy kibbles help clean teeth and remove tartar.
PROS:
  • Affordable dog food for small breeds
  • Contains omega-6 fatty acids
CONS:
  • Contains too many grains
  • Has more calories in each cup compared to other formulas
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Face to Face Comparison

Brands have infinite ways to make TV commercials and pet food packaging creatively compelling, but these claims are only superficial. You’ll need to consider the following factors to properly evaluate dog foods.

Ingredients

Before deciding on Sniffer’s food, you’ll need to read the ingredients list. The first five ingredients are the most important determinants when assessing the quality of the food. As per regulations, each pet food brand must list the ingredients in order of weight.

Ideally, the formula should start with an excellent protein source, such as deboned chicken, lamb, salmon, and turkey. The first ingredient will have more of that than any ingredient that follows.

Royal Canin
Royal Canin prefers dehydrated meats and organ meats over whole meats. While rendered meats might appear grody to others, they supply up to three times more protein than whole meat in equal amounts. Also, Royal Canin assures its patrons that all ingredients used are fit for human consumption.

Contrary to popular belief, Royal Canin also stands to their philosophy that grains help provide your pet complete and balanced nutrition. According to Royal Canin, indigestibility can only occur when the grains aren’t completely processed and only dogs with celiac disease will react to wheat gluten.

Then again, pet owners are disappointed to see that the majority of Royal Canin products feature grains within the first five ingredients. Given the premium price tags, I was looking forward to more high-quality ingredients, as well.

Low-Quality Ingredients Used By Royal Canin:

  • Dried tomato pomace
  • Duck by-product meals
  • Pea protein
  • Pork by-products
  • Tomato pomace
  • Venison by-products
  • Wheat
  • Wheat gluten

Controversial Ingredients Used By Royal Canin:

  • Beef and pork plasma
  • Canola meal
  • Caramel
  • Hydrolyzed poultry by-products aggregate
  • Powdered cellulose
  • Propyl gallate
  • Rice hulls
  • Vegetable Oil
Pedigree
Pedigree employs a clever trick to push the grain content of their foods. Looking at the ingredients list of the products listed above, you’ll notice that each formula has whole ground whole corn and corn gluten meal in its top five ingredients. Corn is already the main ingredient and if you combine that with other grains in the recipe, it outweighs the amount of meat in the food.

Grains aren’t necessarily terrible to have, but they should not take the lion’s share of the formula. Another thing to note is that rice is more digestible than corn, albeit more expensive.

Pedigree also lists the over-processed meat and bone meal high up on their products, and this particular ingredient has stirred major conflict. But for the price you pay, you really can’t expect much in terms of the quality of the protein sources used in Pedigree dog foods.

Low-Quality Ingredients Used By Pedigree:

  • Ground whole grain corn
  • Ground whole grain wheat
  • Tomato pomace
  • Chicken by-products
  • Chicken by-product meal
  • Wheat gluten
  • Ground whole grain wheat

Controversial Ingredients Used By Pedigree:

  • Liver
  • Meat and bone meal
  • Meat by-products
  • Poultry and by-product meal
  • Powdered cellulose
  • Vegetable oil
  • Wheat middlings

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Recall History & Product Safety

A product recall is the removal of certain pet foods from the marketplace due to manufacturing defects. This process does not only cause serious financial losses, but it may also lead to a reputational crisis.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin goes to great lengths to maintain its stellar reputation, but even this pet food giant has been subjected to product recalls a few times.

In February 2006, Royal Canin recalled certain wet food formulas due to having excess levels of vitamin D3. In 2007, over 100 brands were involved in the Great Melamine Recall, and among them was Royal Canin.

What I love about Royal Canin is that the company picked up the problems themselves, triggered the publication, and sought out affected pets so that they could extend financial support as soon as possible. The way the company responds to each safety crisis says a lot about them as a brand.

Pedigree

DogIn March 2004, Pedigree issued a recall after hundreds of pets across Asia died of kidney failure. Pedigree later revealed that upon inspection of their Taiwan and Thailand plants, there was mold in rice and corn ingredients.

In September 2007, Pedigree recalled their “chilled dog rolls” in New Zealand because metal fragments were found in the packages.

A massive recall took place between August 2008 and September 2008 because of potential salmonella contamination. Earlier in 2012, pet owners reported bits of plastic in a few varieties of Pedigree wet foods. So in June that year, Pedigree issued another recall.

Certain bags were recalled in August 2014 due to metal fragments within the bags.

Pedigree has not issued a recall from then on, but dozens of pet owners poured their complaints in social media, saying that there were stiff fibers found in Pedigree dry dog foods. The company responded that these were pig hair and such were inevitable even in good processing practices. Furthermore, the company assures its patrons that these fibers are safe for dogs to consume in minimal amounts.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) did specify that meat and bone meals should have no hair. Can’t Pedigree manufacture pet food without animal hair in their finished product? What do you think?

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Product Lines

Pedigree offers many recipes, but when it comes to diversity, I don’t think there is any brand that could compete with Royal Canin.

Royal Canin

Since its inception, Royal Canin has aspired to deliver precise nutrition for every pooch.

Age-Appropriate Formulas
This retail range offers various recipes that meet the specific nutritional needs of puppies, adults, and seniors of varying sizes.
Breed Health Nutrition
The Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd are both large canines with contagious energy.

However, these dogs have different predispositions for disease and age-related illnesses. That is why dogs benefit from a diet specific to their breed.

The Breed Health Nutrition range currently offers tailored nutrition for the following breeds, and each recipe comes with age-appropriate formulas and wet food variations.

  • Golden Retriever
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Maltese
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Poodle
  • Shih Tzu
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Prescription Diets
Royal Canin offers a broad range of therapeutic formulas to alleviate symptoms and prevent further deterioration of certain conditions in our beloved pets. Each recipe is also available in wet food variations.

  • Hypoallergenic Small Dog HSD 24
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Maxi Dermacomfort
  • Mobility Support
  • Ultamino
  • Urinary SO
  • Renal Support
  • Satiety Support
  • Selected Protein Adult PR
  • Skin Support SS 23

Take note; prescription diets can be detrimental to a healthy dog who doesn’t have the disease for which the food is designed.

ICU Range
Royal Canin also has an ICU range for canines that feed through a gastrostomy tube.
  • GI Low-Fat Liquid Dog
  • Recovery Liquid
  • Renal Liquid

Pedigree

Pedigree also has an assortment of dog foods for the largest canines to the smallest dogs. Their food selection also caters to puppies and adults of varying sizes. However, the brand’s dry food varieties are limited compared to its wet food category.

Canned Foods
  • Pedigree Little Champions Grilled Flavours in Sauce
  • Pedigree Little Champions Chunks in Gravy
  • Pedigree Little Champions Casserole Dinner
  • Pedigree Little Champions Butcher’s Stew
  • Pedigree Puppy Meaty Ground Dinner
  • Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner (chunky)
  • Pedigree Meaty Ground Dinner (chopped)

Dry Foods
  • Pedigree Healthy Weight food for Dogs
  • Pedigree Active Nutrition for Dogs
  • Pedigree Healthy Longevity Foods for Dogs
  • Pedigree Healthy Joints Food for Dogs
  • Pedigree Small Breed Nutrition for Dogs
  • Pedigree Large Breed Nutrition for Dogs
  • Pedigree Puppy Complete Nutrition for Puppies
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Frequently Asked Questions

Does Pedigree contain grain?

Pedigree craft grain-based dog foods.

Is Royal Canin dog food made in China?

Royal Canin is founded in Garda, France, and branched out across the globe. In 2009, Royal Canin built its 12th production facility in Shanghai, China.

Why don’t veterinarians recommend Pedigree?

Veterinarians only recommend dog food brands that perform stringent lab-testings and AAFCO feeding trials.

Is Royal Canin dog food worth the money?

The ingredients used in Royal Canin’s dog foods are not as high-quality as other brands with similar price points, but their products remain expensive. Unless your vet recommends it because your pooch has a medical issue, it might not be a good fit for those on a budget.

Does Royal Canin contain taurine?

Royal Canin products provide adequate levels of dietary taurine.
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Conclusion

Due to cost-cutting measures, Royal Canin is now using meat meals and meat by-products. While the quality of the ingredients is not as it used to be, it is no secret that the company spends a fortune on its state-of-the-art facilities and scientific research. More impressively, vets see Royal Canin as a dependable brand, especially because they meet rigid AAFCO standards.

All in all, Royal Canin is a fantastic choice for pet owners looking for breed-specific diets and those whose pets have special needs. However, the company doesn’t offer grain-free options as of yet, as they firmly believe that grains provide essential benefits to your pooch.

As for Pedigree, I wouldn’t say it is a bad dog food nor is it a great option. One thing is for sure — Pedigree has always kept their price range pocket-friendly to cater to the masses.

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