Breed Specific Nutrition?


Are breed specific pet foods really breed specific?  Are prescription pet foods really specific nutrition to address the health needs of a pet?  Here’s an interesting look at just how specific these pet foods are…well, that’s depending on what country you live in.

Piers Smart of Scampers Natural Pet Store in the UK sent me the question…’Are dogs different in the US than here in the UK?’  He was joking – pointing out that he discovered a fairly dramatic difference in breed specific pet foods sold in the UK with the same foods sold in the US.

The Royal Canin website says (about breed specific pet food):  “ROYAL CANIN® Breed Health Nutrition™ is tailor-made to address the unique needs of pure breed dogs.”  ‘Tailor-made to address unique needs of certain pure breed dogs’…hmmm.  Ok, well look at the image below that compares the Royal Canin Bulldog breed specific pet food sold in the U.S., the U.K. and in Canada.  Same food – three different countries…

Royal Canin US
Royal Canin UK
Royal Canin Canada


To be a pet food that claims to address the ‘specific’ nutritional needs of a particular breed, there are quite a few differences in these foods.  Dramatic differences between the specific ingredients of the US/Canadian bulldog food to the UK bulldog food – but there is even some slight differences of the US and Canadian versions of Royal Canin Bulldog pet food.

Now let’s compare the US and the UK versions of another breed specific pet food – Royal Canin Maine Coon cat food…

Royal Canin US
Royal Canin UK


Again, for a “breed specific’ pet food – these two foods from the very same manufacturer seem to be very different.

Our ‘smart’ friend across the big pond (Piers Smart of Skampers Natural Pet Store) also noticed there are significant differences in prescription pet foods sold in the US and in the UK.  Below are ingredient comparisons (first ten) of two Science Diet prescription pet foods -

Science Diet US
Science Diet UK


Science Diet US
Science Diet UK


I guess it depends on which side of the Atlantic ocean your pet lives in as to the specific nutritional needs they have – breed specific or prescription.  How very sad.

A big thank you to Piers Smart of Scampers Natural Pet Store in the UK for sharing this important information with all of us!   ‘Truth’ seekers are all over the world!


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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  1. Carol Lobmeier

    That is really amazing. Wonder what their answer would be if asked about the differences? And they expect us to feed this garbage to our dogs and cats? Not me! Thank you, Susan. I am so glad I found this site, have learned soooo much from you. Thanks for all you do for us.


  2. Stephen GOO

    ( AS Usual ) Nicely Done Susan ..

    Friendly Reminder for our Dog & Cat FOOD Companies …

    The World is Flat ..

    For Us Humans and our Animals.


  3. Bonnie

    dear Lord—it’s ALL disgusting–forget the differences-and yes-how do they explain THAT ???

  4. Iva Kimmelman

    What a load of crap. I HATE Royal Canin and don’t sell it in my stores!

  5. Margo Mann

    I have always said RC stands for Royal Crap. This is just shocking that they get away with this. I can understand perhaps some breeds of dogs need different diets, ie. Greyhound vs Chihuahua. But cats? They all are close in size and activity and they should have different diets? No! And what is all that garbage in the food, Corn? Gluten? Wheat, Beet pulp. Cats are OBLIGATE CARNIVORES! I want five million people to email that to RC Take the crap out of the food and give them what they need. MEAT!

    • Judy

      Hi Margo!
      Even so, the difference in size is made up by the amount eaten of a balanced dog food, because a small dog uses more energy and therefore needs more calories for it’s size than a big dog, normally. It doesn’t mean it needs an entirely different food! Just more for it’s size than what a bigger dog eats for it’s size!
      RC is crap and always has been. It wouldn’t be so bad if the price was at least down there with the rest of the crap foods, like Whiskas and some of the others, but they fool people into believing it is a premium food, which it’s not!

  6. Lynne Bailey

    Once again we have documented proof the Pet Food Industry lies to consumers and is full of crap. Thank you Susan for exposing their lies and helping us be better pet parents by making informed decisions about what we feed our pets.
    You rock lady!!!

  7. Regina

    ugh, this is just more proof that it is all MARKETING!!!! People buy the food because it has a picture of their own dog on the front of the bag, thinking it is the ONE best thing for their pet. Well, if it varies by country, that’s just proof that they’re just yanking our chain.

    I often wonder what people with mixed breeds would feed?

    I try telling people that they should feed a natural pet food, but they just think that they need to have something specifically created for their own pet. They can’t imagine that some other brand would be as good, since it’s for “every” dog. They don’t even read the ingredients, they just trust the front of the bag. In my opinion the front of the bag is the what we should pay the least attention to!

  8. Marlene Rossman

    “Hydrolized” animal proteins and “natural chicken flavors’ are euphemisms for MSG.

    And yes, Margo is right. Cats as opposed to dogs are obligate carnivores. Dogs can eat a variety of foods/cooked vegetables, but cats cannot.

  9. Yemi

    Thanks Susan, live in South Africa and just about 2 weeks ago, I noticed thesame thing on the royal canin dog food sold here was different from that sold in the U.S judging by the ingredient listing even on the websites, thought probably the South African website was not being updated but with this revelation, it’s clear that buyers of dog food will continue to be exploited in countries considered docile if we don’t stand up and speak and hold this pet food companies accountable similar to the ‘revolution’ happening in the U.S presently where websites like yours continue to expose the exploiters.

  10. Herb Neu

    I read an interview with the CEO of Royal Canin a few months ago in a financial magazine. He boasted of Royal Canin pet foods having the highest profit margin of any [industrial] pet food manufacturer. Then I ran into an article that talked about a new Royal Canin formula that incorporated chicken feathers as its number one protein ingredient. The pet food industry seems to have a collectively corrupt attitude about pet lovers. I find it amazing that some of their products actually cost more per ounce than human food.

    • Mollie Morrissette

      Do you recall which financial magazine that was? I’d like to read it. Thanks.

  11. Judy

    CRAP, CRAP, CRAP! All of it is crapola and marketing genius at it’s finest! I absolutely DETEST a company that will snooker the unsuspecting public in order to wring every last cent they can while laughing the whole way to the bank! Good Lord! Other than maybe for the size of the kibble and calories per metabolism difference, a Chihuahua and a Great Dane have the same nutritional needs as far as anyone with a brain, knows. Has anyone ever noticed the shelf space the Royal Crapola take up?
    “Sensitive Stomach”, “Indoor/outdoor”, “big cat/little cat”, every condition and lifestyle known to man, according to them needs a different food, and at the end of the day, there isn’t 1c worth of difference between any of them. CRAP, one and all, wrapped in a fancy package! They spend more on packaging than they do on the ingredients that fill it! No wonder dogs and cats are sick!

  12. Judy

    I think they should be reported for false advertising to the FDA. It is absolutely FALSE that every breed and every lifestyle of pet needs a separate food! This is a downright LIE.
    They should not be allowed to continue with this scheme in order to rip off the public.

  13. Roger Davidson

    You will love this.

    Royale Canine is the creator of this website

  14. Gitta

    I had to laugh. Of course there ARE breed differences!
    Kennel Clubs in different countries have different breed standards and subsequently produce dogs that look different. So, it makes perfect sense, that breed specific foods are tailored to different kennel club breed standards/countries. I pity the door dog that finds itself transplanted to a different country and served food designed for its alien cousin. That can’t be good! :>)

    • Allison

      Ok that makes no sense. It’s funny because I used to sell these foods while working in a pet store and compared them many times. The only real difference for each breed is the shape of the kibble…the ingredients are generally the same (sometimes with very minor protein % differences etc.) The kibble shapes are different because we have deformed certain breeds of dogs so much that they have trouble eating properly ex) pug or bull dog with squished faces. Any breed of dog can do fine on a raw diet so breed specific diets are completely unnecessary. I own a beagle, a basset hound and a lab and they all eat raw. Dogs are all ancestors of the wolf…even though their body shapes and sizes look different their digestive systems are generally the same. No need for breed specific diets…it’s just a huge money grab like others have said…seeing a picture of your dog on a bag might make you want to buy it. Educated pet owners don’t fall for these stupid tricks…

  15. Valerie

    There is nothing wrong with Royal Canin or Science Diet. Be it in stores or prescription diets! RC in expensive and the breed specific diets don’t really mean much but yet people still buy it. Just like they buy Blue Wilderness for their dogs with 30% plus protein which is crazy as dogs do not ever need that much protein. I have used both SD and RC for many many years and my cats and dogs have lived long health lives. I have been a vet tech for 16 plus years and I have not seen as many crazy people as there are today about pet foods and think they suddenly know it all! It has taken me many years to learn about nutrition in small animals and I am still learning.

    • Allison

      Yes dogs actually do fine on a high level of protein. You know what dogs don’t need? Carbohydrates. They actually need 0% carbs in their diet and foods like RC or SD can be 50% carbs +. Do some research before posting your opinionated comments as they are definitely not science based! I’m a vet tech too and I know the training you receive in vet clinics is sponsored by the brands you sell. Don’t fall into the false security of expensive foods being good. My dogs have been on raw for 1 year and have never looked better…my vet agrees.

      • Amanda

        You go, Allison! I work at a vet’s office too and I love how people think they know what real nutrition is after reading a couple of Royal Canin, Iams, Hill’s, and Purina brochures. That’s like learning children’s nutrition from the guys who make breakfast cereal. Or declaring yourself an expert on human physiology because you bought a treadmill.

        Proud raw feeder since 2012!

  16. Valerie

    By the way for all you people who have cats and fed them kitten food have all be lied to! 100% fact cats do not need kitten food like puppies need puppy and large breed puppy food!! People just do not understand it all like they think do. It is all about money and marketing these days.

  17. Cleo

    I’ve always thought these breed specific foods were silly, I’ve owned “English” Bull Terriers for many years, and while they do have a tendency toward food sensitivities, but it’s rare I can feed all my dogs the same food at the same time. Fortunately, my breed is not popular enough for there to be a financial incentive to create a special food for them!

  18. Susan

    Does Royal Canin manufacture the food in the UK and is that why the food blend is different? You are always told to buy pet food and the pet stores and not the grocery stores and then you read about how poorly the food is manufactured. What are you supposed to feed then? And breed specific? Does anyone believe that? They must since the food is sold.

  19. Casey

    Are there nutritional differences between the UK and the US foods, too? I would have to imagine that there are.

    The whole thing is so deceptive. All in the name of marketing…

  20. Mollie Morrissette

    As if the differences aren’t troubling enough, anyone still sitting on the fence about Royal Canin should jump off immediately, that is, if they care anything at all about animal welfare.

    I did an expose on RC’s involvement with sponsoring bear-baiting events in Europe. Bear baiting is a horrific, barbaric blood sport where a starving bear that is tethered or chained to a long lead is set upon by fighting dogs while the bear’s movements are controlled by two men pulling on leads.

    The “winner” of the contest is awarded with a RC branded trophy.

    Fortunately, the bad press had RC scrambling to deny any involvement, claiming at first they had “no idea that it was going on”. RC eventually fessed up and agreed to stop sponsoring bear-baiting events and work with an international animal welfare group to rescue and re-home the captive bears in the Ukraine.

  21. Differences in formula's between the USA and overseas

    […] differences between formulas for the exact same formula being sold in the USA and overseas. Breed Specific Nutrition? | Truth about Pet Food I'm not going to copy the whole article, but she links to the manufacturer pages for the various […]

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