There are dozens of dog food diets out there claiming to be different from the rest, but sometimes it can still be hard to tell what makes one dog food diet different from the other.
From similar used ingredients, production, and much more, how can a pet owner figure out which diet is the best for their dog? Figuring out which dog food your dog needs is not as hard as it seems when you take the time to compare and contrast the similar-sounding diets.
To help you out, we will be going over Royal Canin vs. Blue Buffalo, two dog food diets some pet owners have a hard time figuring out which is better to feed their dogs.
We will try to keep this product comparison as unbiased as possible to give both diets a fair chance of being properly reviewed. By the end of this article, you should have a better idea of what makes each diet different and know which one will benefit your dog the best.
Who Manufactures Royal Canin and Blue Buffalo Dog Food?
Royal Canin was initially established by a French Veterinary Surgeon in 1968 and was catered towards breeders to help treat skin and coat conditions in their dogs. As the company grew and started to enter the world market it was sold to the Guyomarc’h Group in 1972.
The company’s research and development further expanded and was then bought by the Paribas Bank in 1990. Royal Canin was finally sold to Mars Incorporated who is now in charge of producing the food and selling it worldwide.
Mars Incorporated owns other dog food brands such as Pedigree, Nutro, and Greenies. Royal Canin has at least twelve production factories around the world; some of these facilities are located in the United States, France, South Africa, Brazil, Russia, and China.
Since Royal Canin has multiple factories around the world, they source some of their ingredients out of the country. It is not clear which ingredients are sourced outside of the United States, though, but Royal Canin cannot claim that their company only makes their products in the USA.
Blue Buffalo was founded in 2003 by Bill Bishop, a man who had a goal of creating natural and healthy foods for both dogs and cats. The company was independently run in small facilities until 2018 where General Mills bought the company for $8 billion.
Since the company has been purchased by General Mills, their manufacturing has changed as well. General Mills has established multiple facilities across the United States to obtain their major ingredients from trusted sources.
They also tend to use facilities from their partners, such as Tuffy’s and Ainsworth, to obtain some of their ingredients. There is little knowledge of where General Mills acquires the smaller ingredients that show up later down the ingredient list of their pet foods.
The majority seem to be still obtained in the USA, but others are suspected of being sourced from sources outside of the USA. Because of this, Blue Buffalo cannot completely say that all of their products are sourced and produced in the USA either.
Recall History of Each Brand
Since Royal Canin’s time of being brought to the United States of America and bought by Mars Incorporated, Royal Canin has had three recalls. Here are the three times of recall Royal Canin has had.
On February 2, 2006, Royal Canin recalled several of their veterinary diets designed for both dogs and cats. The reason that the veterinary diets were recalled was due to having an excess amount of Vitamin D3 levels. If pets overeat vitamin D3 their bodies store it in their fat tissue and liver that can then lead to vitamin D3 poisoning.
On April 19, 2007, Royal Canin pulled several of their Veterinary and Sensible Choice diets due to a high level of melamine originating from the rice protein concentrate used in the diets. Luckily, there were no reports of illness caused by the high levels of melamine before the recall was made.
On May 11, 2007, had another case of recall due to melamine contamination. Like with the April recall during the same year, the Chinese rice protein concentrate used in the recalled diets had high levels of melamine.
Blue Buffalo has had eight cases of recall since it was originally made and then bought by General Mills. Here is their list of recalls.
On April 19, 2007, Blue Buffalo recalled several dog and cat foods and treats due to a melamine contamination. This was when American Nutrition Inc. was producing Blue Buffalo foods, but this company is no longer associated with Blue Buffalo.
On October 8, 2010, three varieties of dry dog food were pulled from the shelves due to a suspicion of containing toxic levels of vitamin D.
On November 6, 2015, Blue Kitty Yum Chicken Recipe cat treats were pulled due to containing low levels of propylene glycol, which is toxic to cats.
On November 25, 2015, Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chew Bones were recalled due to salmonella contamination.
On May 31, 2016, Blue Buffalo recalled their Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato recipe for dogs due to many of the 30-pound bags containing mold.
On February 14, 2017, Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables, specifically the 12.5-ounce cans, were recalled due to containing levels of aluminum metal.
On March 3, 2017, Blue Buffalo recalled several of the Divine Delights and Wilderness Trail Trays recipes due to a quality issue with the foil seal on the top of the cups, which are meant to keep the food inside safe.
Finally, on March 18, 2017, Blue Buffalo recalled one production of Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner wet food for dogs due to having elevated levels of naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormones that can cause several health issues in dogs.
Let us go over some of the key ingredients used in the Royal Canin Diets.
Royal Canin chooses to use by-product meals in their diets, specially beef, chicken, pork, and fish by-products. While some by-products contain suspicious ingredients, Royal Canin states that they only use high-quality by-product meals sourced from human-grade facilities that do not compete with human food production.
Royal Canin also uses dehydrated poultry protein in some of their diets. Dehydrated poultry protein has excess water removed from the meat to better preserve the nutritional content of the protein and is easier to use and store without affecting the environment harshly.
The fat content in Royal Canin is low compared to other dog food brands, their highest content being around the 15% range. The reason they have a low-fat content is to prevent dogs with an average lifestyle from gaining excess weight when eating their diets.
Royal Canin adds carbohydrates to all of their diets in the form of grains. The grains that Royal Canin typically use are wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice, millets, and other cereal grains. Carbohydrates are essential for providing sugar to your dog that then gives them the energy to be active.
The Carbohydrates are also healthy forms of fiber that will help your dog stay regular and have healthy bowel movements.
To ensure that your dog has the most well-balanced diet, they do add essential vitamins, minerals, and other anti-oxidants to their diets.
Now let us go over the key ingredients in Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo uses a variety of high-quality, whole animal proteins and meals in their diets to ensure that your dog is getting the high protein content that they need. Here is a list of the animal proteins Blue Buffalo uses.
- Fish Meal
- Menhaden Fish Meal
Blue Buffalo’s at content mainly comes from the animal proteins used, but some formulas do have chicken fat added to the diet to ensure that your dog is getting the essential fatty acids and energy that pets need to have healthy bodies and an active lifestyle.
Blue Buffalo uses a variety of grains and starchy vegetables for their carbohydrates. Depending on if the diet is grain-free or not is whether a grain, like corn or barley or a starchy vegetable, like sweet potatoes, is used to provide pets with the sugar and fiber content that they need.
In all of the dry foods offered by Blue Buffalo, they include their patented LifeSource Bits. These LifeSource Bits are Cold-Formed, meaning that the Bits are exposed to less heat when cooking separate from the rest of the dry food to contain as many valuable nutrients as possible. The addition of LifeSource Bits will help your pets maintain healthy oxidative balance, supports their immune system and supports their life stage requirements.
Royal Canin vs. Blue Buffalo Reviews
1. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food
- Royal Canin small adult dry dog food (formerly Mini Adult) is precise nutrition specifically made for small dogs 10 months to 8 years old weighing 9–22 pounds
- Meets the high energy needs of small dogs while helping maintain a healthy weight with L-carnitine
- Supports skin and coat health with optimal levels of fatty acids like EPA and DHA
- Exclusive small, highly palatable kibble adapted for miniature jaws
- Satisfies the fussy appetites of small dogs with enhanced palatability
Royal Canin Small Adult Diet is specifically tailored for dogs weighing 9-22 pounds.
- Adapted kibble sizes
- Meets small dog energy needs
- Contains optimal nutrient levels for small dogs
Though small, small breed dogs have higher energy requirements compared to large breed dogs. Their small bodies burn calories faster, so Royal Canin uses higher levels of protein and fat to ensure that your small dog will always have the energy they need to stay a healthy weight, maintain an optimal L-carnitine level, and still have the energy they need to stay active.
Optimal levels of fatty acids like EPA and DHA will make sure that your small dog will have smooth skin and a soft fur coat.
Small dogs have little mouths, some of which are picky when it comes to putting things in their mouths. The kibbles are highly palatable and have an appetizing taste and texture any small dog will enjoy consuming.
You can feed this diet to your small dog once they reach ten months of age and they can continue to eat this diet happily until they reach eight years of age. You also want to be sure your small dog will not surpass 22-pounds as they will not get the nutritional content ideal for their weight range.
- Available in 2.5 and 14-pound bag options
- Contains 25% of protein
- Contains 14% of fat
- Corn is the first ingredient used, so risks the diet being mainly filler based
If you are looking for a diet that will benefit your small dog, consider feeding them Royal Canin Small Adult Diet.
2. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Medium Adult
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Medium Adult Dry Dog
- Royal Canin medium adult dry dog food is precise nutrition specifically made for dogs 1–7 years old weighing 23–55 pounds
- Supports natural defenses for immune support with a blend of antioxidants and prebiotics
- Maintains healthy skin and coat health with optimal levels of EPA and DHA
- Promotes healthy digestion with easy-to-digest proteins and a balanced supply of fiber
- Exclusive kibble design encourages chewing and has a palatability dogs love
Royal Canin Medium Adult Diet fits the specific dietary needs of dogs weighing 23-55 pounds.
- Kibble size-specific for medium-sized dogs
- Supports medium-sized dog’s energy level
- Has specific nutrient content for medium-sized dogs
Medium-sized dogs seem to have boundless energy, so they need a diet that can help them stay energetic and active throughout the day. This diet is made for dogs with a high-energy lifestyle by containing optimal levels of antioxidants and prebiotics special for keeping your dog moving longer.
An optimal balance of highly digestible proteins and fibers are easy for your dog to absorb and digest the vital nutrients.
A variety of Omega-3 fatty acids will nourish your dog’s skin to keep it from flaking and will help your dog’s fur be smooth and soft for loving pets ahead.
The specially shaped kibbles encourage your dog to slow down and chew so that they do not bloat and can actually enjoy their meals. You should only feed this diet to dogs weighing 23-55 pounds and are within the 1-7 year range to be sure that your dog is getting the optimal nutrient content that their bodies need.
- Contains 23% of protein
- Contains 12% of fat
- Available in 6-17-30-pound bag options
- The first ingredient is brewers rice, so this diet risks being mainly filler based
- Contains high levels of grains and low levels of animal protein
Help your medium-sized dog have all of the healthy nutrients that their bodies need for a healthy lifestyle by feeding them Royal Canin Medium Adult Diet.
3. Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large Adult
Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large Adult Dry Dog Food
- Royal Canin large adult dry dog food (formerly Maxi Adult) is precise nutrition specifically made for large dogs 15 months to 5 years old weighing 56–100 pounds
- Promotes healthy digestion with easy-to-digest high-quality proteins and a balanced supply of fiber
- Helps support bones and joint health in large breed dogs
- Nourishes healthy skin and coat with EPA and DHA
- Exclusive large-sized kibble design is highly palatable
If your dog weighs 56-100 pounds, then they will benefit from the Royal Canin Large Adult Diet.
- Highly digestible
- Supports large bodies
- Ideal for active or average moving dogs
Large breed dogs are loving family pets or can be diligent working animals. Depending on what lifestyle your large breed dog needs, they need a diet that will help maintain their activity levels.
This diet uses an animal protein as the first ingredient since large breed dogs need a higher protein source to make sure that they have strong and lean muscles. The kibble sizes are made specifically to fit in your dog’s mouth so that they chew their food correctly instead of scarfing their meals down.
Since large breed dogs put more strain on their bodies, Royal Canin has added nutrients that will support strong bones and healthy joint movements. It is best to feed your large breed dog this diet when they are 15 months to 5 years old and do not weigh over 100 pounds to get their optimal nutrient content.
- Available in 6 and 35-pound bag options
- Contains 24% of protein
- Includes 15% of fat
- Contains a high level of grains, which risks the diet being mainly filler based and heavy in carbohydrates
Provide your large dog with a diet that will benefit their daily lifestyles by feeding them Royal Canin Large Adult Diet.
4. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dog Food
- REAL MEAT FIRST: Blue Buffalo foods always feature real meat as the first ingredient. High-quality protein from real chicken helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles. Plus they contain wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit.
- SMALL BREED DOG FOOD: Specially formulated for the wellness of adult small breed dogs, BLUE Life Protection Formula Small Breed dry dog food contains increased levels of protein and carbohydrates
- WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits – a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance.
- A NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dog foods are made with the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals. BLUE contains NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.Calorie Content: 3,648 Kcals/kg, 397 Kcals/cup
- Contains one (1) 15 lb. Bag of BLUE Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken and Brown Rice
Blue Buffalo Small Breed Diet Chicken and Brown Rice will give your dog the essential nutrients their small bodies need.
- Contains no questionable ingredients
- Chicken is the first ingredient used
- Provides full-body support
This diet by Blue Buffalo is made explicitly for the well-being of small dogs. Deboned chicken is the primary ingredient used, and it offers small dogs with the high protein source that small dogs need. Wholesome grains and garden fruits and vegetables have been added to provide small dogs with the fiber, carbohydrates, and essential nutrients that small dog bodies need.
Small dogs burn calories faster, so they need this diet offered by Blue Buffalo as it has an increased amount of protein for muscle strength, and an increased amount of carbohydrates to provide sugar for much-needed energy.
You will not find any artificial ingredients or flavors, preservatives, corn, wheat, or soy products that provide little to no nutrients to your dog.
As with all Blue Buffalo diets, this diet has the exclusive LifeSource Bits packed with an extra boost of nutrients and provide your small dog with the extra energy content that they need to stay active longer throughout the day.
- Available in 3-6-15 pound bags
- Contains 26% of protein
- Contains 15% of fat
- Contains chicken and grains, so not ideal for dogs with food sensitivities or allergies
Blue Buffalo Small Breed Diet Chicken and Brown Rice cater to the flavor profile, and health needs small dogs need.
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free
- PACKED WITH REAL CHICKEN: A recipe made to satisfy your dog’s natural love for meat, this high protein dog food features real chicken to help build and maintain lean muscle mass
- HEALTHY INGREDIENTS: BLUE Wilderness grain free dog food, made with healthy carbohydrates, including sweet potatoes and peas, helps fuel your adult dog’s active lifestyle; It also contains omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to support skin and coat health
- WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits – a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance
- NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food features the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals; It never contains chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives
- Contains one (1) 24-lb bag of BLUE Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Chicken
Dogs are closely related to wolves, so it is not surprising that Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Diet with Chicken offers your dog a diet that best mimics what wolves eat in the wild.
- Contains no grains
- Contains healthy carbohydrates
- Anti-oxidant rich
- Caters to a natural dog diet
Wolves eat a protein-heavy diet in the wild, so dogs need to have a high protein diet as well. Deboned chicken, chicken meal, and fish meal work together to supply your dog with the high protein that they need to build strong muscles and have the energy to stay moving throughout the day.
Wolves are not prone to eating grains in the wild, which is why this formula from Blue Buffalo contains no grains, wheat, corn, or soy products. Wolves do eat some fruits and vegetables obtained from the contents of their prey’s stomachs.
In a dog’s case, healthy fruits and vegetables are added to the formula to ensure that your dog will get the anti-oxidant rich diet they need to get their daily fix of essential vitamins and minerals.
To supply dogs with healthy carbohydrates and fibers, sweet potatoes, peas, and potatoes have been added to the diet. You can be sure that this diet also contains Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits so your dog can have a healthy Immune System, meet their life stage requirements, and have an oxidative balance.
- Available in 4.5-11-24-pound bag options
- Contains 34% of protein
- Contains 15% of fat
- Contains chicken, so not an ideal diet for dogs with known poultry allergies
Your dog will have a diet that best suits their dietary and health needs when they eat Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Diet with Chicken.
6. Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet
- STARTS WITH REAL TURKEY: A recipe that starts with real turkey as the first ingredient, this adult dry dog food features a single animal protein source along with potatoes, peas and pumpkin to support gentle digestion in your dog without the grains that contain gluten, making it a good option for dogs with a sensitive stomach.
- LIMITED INGREDIENT DOG FOOD: BLUE Basics is a limited ingredient grain free dog food that doesn’t contain any chicken, beef, corn, wheat, soy, dairy or eggs making it a good option for dogs with food sensitivities. Plus, it’s specifically formulated with essential proteins and carbohydrates to help meet energy requirements and promote a healthy lifestyle.
- WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits – a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance.
- NATURAL DOG FOOD: BLUE dry dog food is formulated for the health and well-being of your adult dog and features the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals. It never contains chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.
- Contains (1) 4lb bag of BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain Free Natural Adult Dry Dog Food, Turkey & Potato
If your dog is known to having certain sensitivities, then you should try feeding them Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Potato Recipe.
- Deboned turkey is the first ingredient used
- Contains easy to digest ingredients
- Contains no by-products meals, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or egg products
Blue Buffalo Basics is a limited-ingredient diet made to minimize food sensitivities that some dogs may suffer from. But even though this diet is limited-ingredient, the nutritional value is not lost.
Deboned turkey is the only protein source used so that your dog can enjoy the animal protein they are not allergic to peas and potatoes are added to supply the carbohydrates dogs need in an easy to digest format. To help your dog have the fiber they need for better digestion pea fiber and pumpkin are mixed in with the diet.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids will help dogs have less flaky and smooth skin and a soft and shiny coat.
Blue strives to use only the best ingredients in all of their diets, so you can be sure that you will not find any by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, dairy, or egg products, especially since many of these are known to trigger food sensitivities issue when consumed.
- Available in 11 and 24-pound bag options
- Contains 20% of protein
- Contains 12% of fat
- Contains grains, so not ideal for dogs with known grain allergies
Help conquer your dog’s dietary issues by feeding them Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Turkey and Potato Recipe.
Comparison and Conclusion
Royal Canin and Blue Buffalo have had their positives and negatives since they were established, but both are striving to provide the essential nutritional content that domesticated pets need.
Royal Canin focuses on using by-product meals, grains, and added anti-oxidants specifically tailored towards different pet sizes, breeds, and health conditions so that there is a diet for every pet regardless of their issues.
Blue Buffalo uses whole meats, grain, and grain-free diets, as well as fresh or dried fruits and vegetables to provide a well-balanced diet that any pet can benefit from.
When it comes to choosing which diet best fits your dog you need to consider if you want a diet tailored specifically for their breed or health concern, or are okay with trying a not so specified diet that is still high-quality and can be enjoyed by most pets.
Do not go with either pet food brand because someone told you that one is better than the other; even if the dog foods claim to use high-quality ingredients, every pet is different. Pick a diet that best fits what your pet needs or what you are looking to provide your pet with.
Do be aware if your pet has any food sensitivities before investing in either food brand. If your pet has grain allergies, then Royal Canin will not be the best diet for them as all of their formulas contain grains.
If your dog has a poultry allergy then you need to be careful which Blue Buffalo diet you use since the majority of them have chicken fat added to it for flavor and for a higher level of essential fatty acids. Our pet food review is not meant to make you pick one diet over the other.
Instead, it outlines the good and the bad of both diets as unbiased as possible in order to help with your research.
Use our review as you start to narrow down which diet would best benefit your pets for the rest of their lives. If you are unsure if either diet is the best for your pet, do a trial run of both and watch how your pet reacts to the foods both in taste and any effects caused by the diet. From there, you will better be able to see if Royal Canin or Blue Buffalo is the right diet for your beloved pets.
Royal Canin vs. Blue Buffalo
We've compared the top Royal Canin and Blue Buffalo dog foods on the market today to help you choose which one is the best for your dogs.
- Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food
- Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Medium Adult Dry Dog
- Royal Canin Size Health Nutrition Large Adult Dry Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Dog Food
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free
- Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet