Royal Canin makes both dry and canned pet food for dogs and cats. Its products include diets for all stages of a pet's life, breed-specific diets plus more than 50 veterinary prescription diets. A cornerstone of the Royal Canin philosophy is that there is no one food that suits all pets, and indeed, some of its foods can be unsuitable for some and have negative side effects.
Puppies and Kittens
Several of the Royal Canin prescription diets, including weight loss, skin support and hepatic (liver disease) diets are not suitable for puppies or kittens. They don't contain the right amounts of calcium and other minerals for proper bone and cartilage development, and may be too low in protein to allow healthy overall growth. Side effects could include weight loss or lack of weight gain and joint abnormalities in adult animals.
Lactating and Pregnancy
Pregnant or lactating (nursing) dogs and cats have increased requirements for fat and protein, and incorrect levels of calcium in the diet can cause a potentially fatal condition called eclampsia, according to Drs. Foster and Smith.
Some of the Royal Canin prescription foods cannot be fed if the pet is on certain medications. For instance, the Urinary Health prescription diet cannot be fed if a dog is taking urinary acidifiers. Additionally, some of the foods themselves may have side effects--the Urinary Health diet can make a dog need to urinate more frequently, so it might have accidents in the house.
Allergies and Intolerances
Dogs and cats can have an intolerance or allergy to any one of many ingredients in any food, including Royal Canin. Your veterinarian can prescribe a low-allergen, limited-ingredient prescription food for your pet. This is not a sure-fire cure, however. The hypoallergenic diet for cats contains soy protein isolate, which some cats are allergic to.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists 973 withdrawals or recalls of both consumer and veterinary Royal Canin products as of January 2010. Most are Class 1 recalls, meaning that there is a "reasonable probability" that use of the food can cause serious health problems or death. Note that this represents an extremely small fraction of the Royal Canin products sold and used throughout the world.
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Stevie Donald has been an online writer since 2004, producing articles for numerous websites and magazines. Her writing chops include three books on dog care and training, one of which won a prestigious national award in 2003. Donald has also been a painting contractor since 1979, painting interiors and exteriors.