Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food Review: Pros, Cons, Recalls

Written by Judie Sigdel
Updated: August 3, 2022

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Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food is a diet that’s formulated for dogs with food sensitivities and inflammatory bowel disease. In order to purchase any of the products in this extensive line, you will need to obtain a prescription from your veterinarian.

Summary

If your dog has a food allergy or inflammatory bowel disease, your veterinarian may prescribe Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein diet. This line of four dry foods, several canned varieties, and treats includes a hydrolyzed protein that may prevent allergic reactions to foods to which canines are sensitive or allergic.

Hydrolyzed protein has been “hydrolyzed” (broken down by water) into minuscule particles. Because the particles are so tiny, your dog’s immune system won’t recognize them as being something to which they’re sensitive or allergic. The other benefit is that your dog will be able to absorb the nutrients from hydrolyzed protein more efficiently than the protein in its original state.

Since dogs with food sensitivities and allergies often suffer from skin and coat conditions, the foods in this line also include B vitamins, DHA, EPA, and amino acids. These nutrients will help to restore your pet’s skin and coat to optimal health and beauty.

Our Top Pick
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Contains B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Include prebiotics to normalize digestion
  • Hydrolyzed protein is very east to digest
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Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Foods: Benefits and Features

  • The product line includes four dry foods, a wide variety of canned foods, and a treat
  • Suitable for adult dogs and puppies
  • Reduces skin and gastrointestinal reactions resulting from sensitivities to proteins commonly found in dog food
  • Formulated with hydrolyzed proteins that are less likely to trigger an immune reaction when they’re absorbed in your pet’s digestive tract
  • Each recipe contains B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, DHA, and amino acids to promote healthy skin and coat
  • The formulas include a proprietary blend of fibers and prebiotics to normalize digestion in dogs that are prone to diarrhea and other digestive issues

Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Foods Benefits: Pros & Cons

PROS:CONS:
Provides a line of foods and a treat that are safe for dogs that are sensitive or allergic to proteins in most dog foodsYou must have a prescription from your veterinarian to purchase it
Hydrolyzed protein is more easily digestible and absorbable than the protein in its original formIt’s expensive: A 25.3-lb. bag retails for $112.99
Can resolve gastrointestinal issues caused by food sensitivitiesSome reviewers stated that their dogs wouldn’t eat it
Can restore inflamed skin and coats to their optimal health and conditionSome reviewers said that it had a “weird” odor

Where is Royal Canin Dog Food Made?

Royal Canin is a global company that was founded in 1968 by veterinarian Jean Cathary in Puy-en-Velay, a small town in southern France. Today, the company has 12 production plants around the world.

In the United States., Royal Canin has headquarters in St. Charles, MO, and manufacturing facilities in Missouri and South Dakota.

Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food: Ingredients

The first ingredients in some Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein dry formulas are brewer’s rice and hydrolyzed soy protein. Brewer’s rice refers to the small pieces of white rice that broke off during the manufacturing process. Traditionally, these pieces are sold to breweries, where they’re used to make beer, including the gluten-free variety.

Royal Canin includes brewer’s rice in these formulas because rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates. It’s easily digestible, so it’s unlikely to cause digestive issues like diarrhea. It also contains trace amounts of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium, protein, and iron.

The second ingredient is hydrolyzed soy protein. While many people believe that meat is the best source of protein for dogs, that actually isn’t the case. Canines are omnivores, which means that they can absorb nutrients equally well from plant and animal sources. And soy is the most complete plant protein available.

Veterinarians often prescribe dog foods containing hydrolyzed soy for their patients with food allergies. That’s because soy protein that has been broken into tiny bits (hydrolyzed) can go through your dog’s digestive system in stealth mode. Since their digestive system can’t detect the protein, it can’t cause an allergic reaction. Your dog’s body can, however, absorb the amino acids from the hydrolyzed protein and use them to build muscles, bones, skin, etc.

Hydrolyzed soy protein is also veterinarian prescribed for dogs that are prone to bladder stones, which is a common problem in Dalmatians and Bulldogs. That’s because soy protein is lower in purines, a component in proteins that can cause the recurrence of stones, than animal protein.

Which Types of Dogs is Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food Best Suited for?

Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein diet is available in four dry formulas, a wide variety of canned recipes, and a treat. Your vet will prescribe the one that’s best for your furry friend.

Because the line is so extensive, we are focusing solely on the four dry recipes and the top canned formula below:

FormulaBest Suited for
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Dog FoodPuppies and adult dogs with food sensitivities. Contains brewer’s rice
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein PS Dry Dog FoodAdult dogs with food sensitivities. Contains potatoes instead of brewer’s rice.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein Small Breed Dry Dog FoodSmall and toy breed adult dogs. Contains “Relative Supersaturation” methodology to reduce the formation of bladder stones.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein Moderate Calorie Dry Dog FoodLow-activity adult dogs with food sensitivities tend to be overweight. Moderate calorie count.
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein Loaf Canned Dog FoodPuppies and adult dogs with food sensitivities, skin, coat, and/or digestive issues. Appetizing loaf recipe.

Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food: Recalls

As of March 24, 2022, none of the food featured in this review has been recalled according to the FDA recall database.

Where to Buy

You can purchase Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein dog food by following the links below:

Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food: Specs

Design

The dry dog food is available in bags of varying weights depending on the formula. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein Loaf Canned Dog Food comes in 13.7-oz pull-top cans.

Safety

Royal Canin conducts end-to-end quality testing to ensure product safety. They purchase raw materials only from trusted long-term suppliers. Every shipment is tested to verify nutritional quality and safety. During manufacturing, the company conducts 10 separate quality controls to ensure quality compliance.  

Durability

You can store the dry dog foods for up to two months in an air-tight container. Store unused portions of canned food in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

Price

Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein dry food prices vary by formula and bag size. A 25.3-lb. bag of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Dog Food retails for $112.99.

A case of 24 13.7-oz. cans of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein Loaf Canned Dog Food retails for $119.76.

Royal Canin Adult Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Dog Food vs. Forza10 Dermo Active Dry Dog Food

AttributesRoyal Canin Veterinary Diet Adult Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Dog FoodForza10 Dermo Active Dry Dog Food, Sensitive Stomach and Skin Dog Food for AdultFirst three ingredientsBrewer’s rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fatPotatoes, anchovy meal, vegetable oilContains hydrolyzed proteinYes – Contains hydrolyzed soy proteinYes – contains hydrolyzed fish proteinVeterinary prescription required?YesNo
Price25.3-lb. bag retails for $112.99.22-lb. bag retails for $89.99

Verified Reviews

Most reviewer complaints had to do with the price. They succinctly stated, “Overpriced!” or “Too expensive!”

Several said that the food didn’t resolve their dog’s skin, coat, or digestive issues. This reviewer wrote, “My dog has GI issues, so after much trial and error I was thrilled to find this dog food. I gave her a combination of dry and wet. For about six months she did well. Then became constipated and now is scratching a lot. Back to the drawing board!”

Some complaints came from reviewers who said that the food had a bad odor and/or that their dog wouldn’t eat it. This reviewer wrote, “We’re doing an exclusion diet to see if my dog’s skin issues are from food, so we’re stuck with this for now. However, neither of us is in love, for sure. It smells bad, he isn’t all that eager to eat it (which is a bummer because he loves food), and he’s gassier. I don’t love the ingredients, or the number of fillers either. We’re kind of just stuck with it for several weeks. I hope not forever.”

The majority of the reviews, however, were positive, such as this one: “I really don’t know what I would have done had I not discovered this dog food. My lab wouldn’t respond to anything, even boiled chicken and rice, without throwing up or horrible poops. I was at my wit’s end. Then my vet recommended this. She’s fine now. This food saved her life and I’m very grateful.”

Another wrote, “I have a dog with extremely sensitive skin. This is the only food she can eat and she loves it. Helps to keep her skin problems in check. Thanks, Royal Canin!”

Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food: Bottom Line

The Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food line of products is formulated for dogs that suffer from skin and coat conditions or gastrointestinal issues caused by food allergies. The products contain hydrolyzed protein, which prevents allergic reactions while allowing your dog’s digestive system to utilize the protein more efficiently.

While the products are expensive and require a prescription from a veterinarian, our experience is that the products do work to resolve digestive, skin, and coat issues.

About the Author

My passion is writing about animals. I’ve published articles on pet parrots, birds, and small animal care and reviews about pet food and products. I have an ever-evolving aviary and menagerie that has included cockatiels, parakeets, conures, European starlings, a chukar partridge, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. I’m also the author of Faith without Labels: a Guide to Eclectic Spirituality.

Royal Canin Hydrolyzed Protein Dog Food Review: Pros, Cons, Recalls FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is hydrolyzed protein dog food good for dogs?

Veterinarians often prescribe hydrolyzed protein diets to canines because they can alleviate gastrointestinal, skin and coat issues caused by food allergies. The process of hydrolyzation breaks the protein into such small pieces that they don’t cause an allergic reaction.

How long should a dog be on hydrolyzed food?

Most veterinarians recommend keeping a dog exclusively on a hydrolyzed protein diet for six to 10 weeks. At that point, your vet will probably conduct a dietary rechallenge to determine whether your dog is truly allergic to the suspected food ingredients. They do this because environmental allergies can cause similar symptoms.

Can puppies eat hydrolyzed food?

Yes! Hydrolyzed protein is highly digestible, easily absorbed, and reduces the risk of food-related allergic reactions in both dogs and puppies.