⚠ Important recall information appears below.
Royal Canin was founded by a French veterinarian in 1968. The science-based pet food is formulated for the needs of pets, not the preferences of pet parents.
The worldwide headquarters is in southern France, and U.S. products are manufactured in company-owned plants in Missouri, South Dakota and Canada.
Below, we share more information about the history of Royal Canin pet food — including up-to-date recall information.
Royal Canin Quick Facts
Brand line includes: Royal Canin Large Weight Care, Royal Canin X-Small, Royal Canin Puppy Loaf in Sauce, Royal Canin Starter Mousse Mother & Baby, Royal Canin Mature Adult in Gel, Royal Canin Dental Care, Royal Canin Sporting Life, Royal Canin Digestive Care, Royal Canin Urinary SO, Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein, Royal Canin Kitten, Royal Canin Indoor Adult Cat, Royal Canin Intense Beauty, Royal Canin Hairball Care, plus various breed-specific formulas
Where to buy: Latest deals on Royal Canin pet food
Company: Royal Canin USA Inc.
Headquarters: 500 Fountain Lakes Blvd., Suite 100, St. Charles, MO 63301
Contact info: 1-800-592-6687, email, website
Royal Canin History
The history of Royal Canin goes back to the mid-1900s, when Jean Cathary decided to make his own dog food.
Born in rural France in 1927, Cathary was a veterinary surgeon, practicing in France’s Gard region. Early in his career, when small animal veterinarians were virtually unheard of, he helped farmers maintain the health of their horses and other livestock.
Cathary noted that many of his 4-legged clients suffered from bad skin and poor coats. A lightbulb went off in his brain. Could diet be responsible?
He mixed up some grain-based food in his garage, and voilà!, it did the trick of improving the skin and fur of the beasts who ate it. Thus was born a new pet food that would eventually dominate the world market.
A Diet Developed to Improve Skin and Coat
At that point in history, France was so unfamiliar with food processing that Cathary had to buy an extruder from the United States.
The extruder allowed him to blend and package ingredients more effectively, giving him an edge in the European market.
In 1968, Cathary closed his vet practice to focus his energies on making pet food, which he named Royal Canin. Sales grew quickly, and Cathary formally incorporated his business 2 years later, in 1970.
By that time, Royal Canin was already a leader in production and sales of dry dog food.
Cathery kept production close to home, building a factory in Aimargues, a French community in the same Gard region where the company founder had served as veterinarian.
Forty employees were hired to produce 5,500 tons of food each year, and the food found its way to dog bowls all over Europe.
Royal Canin grew so quickly that, within 4 years of its inception, it established a Spanish subsidiary called Royal Canin Iberica.
In 1972, Cathary sold his company to the Guyomarc’h Group. Up to that point, Guyomarc’h had specialized in large animal feed. Over the next 10 years, Guyomarc’h retained the Royal Canin name for its lines of pet food, but added subsidiaries in northern France, Italy, Denmark, Germany and Sweden.
During the 1970s and ’80s, Guyomarc’h also dedicated significant resources to animal diet research and development.
In 1990, Royal Canin was acquired by the Paribas Bank, along with all other Guyomarc’h holdings. The following years saw a decline in sales, which was reversed when Royal Canin shares were offered on the Paris stock exchange. The sale was quite successful, enabling Paribas to buy up 2 other pet food companies.
Mars Inc. Acquires Royal Canin
In 2001, Mars Inc. purchased Royal Canin for around U.S. $700 million.
In 2008, Royal Canin, under its Mars parentage, spent $73 million to build a factory in Puslinch, Ontario. The Canadian base allowed Royal Canin to penetrate the United States, Canadian, Mexican, Colombian, Chilean and Japanese markets.
Post-2010, the company built yet another factory in Korea, positioning itself to command a market share of the industry in Asia. Market research shows that, by 2017, Royal Canin, along with its sister company Pedigree (also Mars owned), was dominating the pet food industry in India.
And in the United States? As of 2020, Mars Petcare Inc. was the No. 1 pet food company in the world, with over $18 billion in annual revenue, according to data provided by Pet Food Industry.
In the next section below, we discuss the Royal Canin pet food recall history.
Has Royal Canin Ever Been Recalled?
Yes. There have been a few notable U.S. recalls of Royal Canin pet food over the years.
In May 2007 and April 2007, as part of the massive Menu Foods/melamine recall that shocked the country, specific varieties of Royal Canin dry dog and cat foods were recalled because of potential melamine contamination. (Royal Canin Canada and Royal Canin South Africa also issued recalls during this time.)
“We deeply regret the concern and anxiety this announcement … will cause our loyal customers and the entire pet community,” said Olivier Amice, who was president and CEO of Royal Canin USA at the time of the 2007 recalls.
And in February 2006, Royal Canin recalled thousands of canned pet foods sold exclusively at vet clinics because of excessive amounts of Vitamin D3 in the food. Several dogs and cats had been reported ill. A vitamin premix from a third-party supplier was to blame, according to the company.
Dr. Bryce Fleming, a Canadian veterinarian, told VIN News Service in 2019 that Royal Canin’s handling of the 2006 recall was a textbook example of how a company should respond in a transparent way to a safety crisis.
“We had several [pets] with sky-high calcium levels and at least one with elevated renal values” as a result of the vitamin problems in the pet food, Dr. Fleming said. “Royal Canin … picked up the problem themselves after they noticed a trend across North America. They triggered the publication, the recall and they actively sought out affected animals, provided intellectual and financial support, and eventually explained the entire situation.”
To other pet food makers facing similar crises, Dr. Fleming said, “staying silent and looking away” is never a good strategy.
List of Royal Canin Recalls
Cause: Melamine. Announcement: FDA report dated May 11, 2007 (archived here). What was recalled: The following Royal Canin dry pet foods with date codes between July 28, 2007 and April 30, 2008:
- Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice Adult dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice Reduced dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Lamb and Rice Reduced dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice Puppy dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice Large Breed Puppy dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Natural Blend Adult dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Natural Blend Senior dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Natural Blend Puppy dry dog food
- Kasco Chunks dry dog food
- Kasco Hi Energy dry dog food
- Kasco Maintenance dry dog food
- Kasco Mealettes dry dog food
- Kasco Mini Chunks dry dog food
- Kasco Puppy dry dog food
- Kasco Cat dry cat food
Cause: Melamine. Announcement: FDA report dated April 19, 2007 (archived here). What was recalled: The following Royal Canin dry pet foods:
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Early Cardiac EC 22 dry dog food
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Skin Support SS21 dry dog food
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Hypoallergenic HP23 dry cat food
- Sensible Choice Chicken Meal & Rice Formula Senior dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Puppy dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Adult dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Lamb Meal & Rice Formula Senior dry dog food
- Sensible Choice Rice & Catfish Meal Formula Adult dry dog food
Cause: Too much Vitamin D3. Announcement: FDA Health Hazard Evaluation dated April 10, 2006 and FDA Enforcement Report dated May 3, 2006, referencing a notice from Royal Canin issued Feb. 2, 2006. What was recalled: The following Royal Canin pet foods:
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO dog food, 13.6 oz. cans, Codes 511A/B and 521 A/B, best by March 2007
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO dog food, 13.6 oz. cans, Code 525A, best by June 2007
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Low Fat LF dog food, 13.6 oz. cans, Code 526A/B, best by June 2007
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Calorie Control CC in Gel dog food, 12.7 oz. cans, Code 515B, best by April 2007
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Calorie Control CC in Gel dog food, 12.7 oz. cans, Code 528A, best by July 2007
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Sensitivity VR cat food, 5.8 oz. cans, Code 518A, best by May 2007
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calorie Control CC cat food, 5.8 oz. cans, Code 449A, best by November 2006
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calorie Control CC cat food, 5.8 oz. cans, Code 451A, best by December 2006
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calorie Control CC cat food, 5.8 oz. cans, Code 515A, best by April 2007
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Renal LP cat food, 3 oz. pouches, Codes 519B and 522B, best by September 2006
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Renal LP cat food, 3 oz. pouches, Code 526A, best by October 2006
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Renal LP cat food, 3 oz. pouches, Codes 541A and 543A, best by February 2007
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- “About Us: More Than 50 Years of Health Nutrition.” Royal Canin. https://www.royalcanin.com/us/about-us/our-history.
- “Royal Canin Iberica SA.” Bloomberg. https://www.bloomberg.com/profile/company/6853825Z:SM.
- “Mars to Buy Royal Canin.” CNN. July 10, 2001. http://edition.cnn.com/2001/BUSINESS/07/10/canine/.
- Ellison, Sarah. “Mars to Acquire France’s Royal Canin to Boost Presence in Pet Food Market.” Wall Street Journal. July 10, 2001. https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB994679405411921073.
- “Royal Canin Marks a Milestone.” Veterinary Practice News. Sept. 21, 2018. https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/royal-canin-marks-a-milestone/.
- “Top Pet Food Companies Current Data.” Pet Food Industry. 2020. https://www.petfoodindustry.com/directories/211-top-pet-food-companies.
- “Melamine Pet Food Recall of 2007.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sept. 4, 2018. https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/recalls-withdrawals/melamine-pet-food-recall-2007.
- “Eight Sensible Choice Dry Dog Food Products, Seven Kasco Dry Dog and Cat Food Products Recalled Nationwide by Royal Canin USA Effective Today.” FDA. May 11, 2007. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ucm112196.pdf.
- “Royal Canin USA Announces the Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Its Dry Pet Food Products Containing Rice Protein Concentrate.” FDA. April 19, 2007. Archived at https://www.petful.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/ucm112172.pdf.
- “Health Hazard Evaluation: Firm-Initiated Recall of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Products With Excessive Amounts of Vitamin D3.” FDA. April 10, 2006.
- Rumbeiha, Wilson, BVM, PhD, DABT, DABVT, ATS, and Jamie Morrison, DVM. “A Review of Class I and Class II Pet Food Recalls Involving Chemical Contaminants from 1996 to 2008.” Journal of Medical Toxicology 7, no. 1 (March 2011): 60–66. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614097/.
- Eckstein, Sandra. “Valentine’s Campaign Aims to Bring Dogs in Off Chains.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution. March 12, 2006. MS8.
- Fiala, Jennifer. “Veterinarians Want Transparency From Hill’s About Vitamin D Recall.” VIN News Service. March 15, 2019. https://news.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=210&Id=9002956&useobjecttypeid=10&fromVINNEWSASPX=1.