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Kibble Science

Nutrition Corner


Think a kibble is just a kibble? Think again. 


The Science behind our Kibble

Our knowledge of the unique characteristics and nutritional needs of cats and dogs, gained from years of research and collaboration with veterinary schools, breeders and dog and cat professionals, goes into every aspect of our formulations even down to our kibbles.

Royal Canin is a leader in kibble research and development. We take into consideration size, shape, texture and density when developing our kibbles and adapt them to the specific characteristics of the cat or dog the kibble is intended for. Extensive trials at the Royal Canin campus and use of advanced equipment such as the Texturometer a tool to measure the kibble hardness and force required to break kibble - allow for a thorough understanding of the product and confidence in its quality and performance. 


Kibble Shape and Size

Royal Canin is a true innovator in its research developing kibble shapes best suited to the particular needs of cats and dogs. Siamese cats for example, are known for picking up their food with their teeth and eating very fast. A tube shaped kibble, designed to encourage chewing, works to slow down the speed of ingestion, supports optimal digestion with reduced regurgitation, and even helps maintain good dental hygiene.

On the other hand, a Boxer’s unique “brachycephalic” jaw makes it difficult to pick up and chew round kibble. A specialized wave shaped kibble was designed to make it easier to pick up his food and chew it since it can’t roll away. Kibbles which are designed to encourage chewing also can help to slow down ingestion in those animals that tend to eat their food more quickly, like Labrador Retrievers for example. Eating too quickly can increase the risk of bloating, choking, regurgitation, satiety and inadequate digestion, so controlling consumption speed is very important to the health of this dog.

Additionally, a dog or cat’s size is important in kibble size.  For example, the kibble size and texture for a Giant breed dog is drastically different than the size and texture of kibble for a mini breed dog.


Kibble Density and Texture


Not only do we take shape and size into account when developing our kibbles we also consider kibble density and texture. Adjusting the density can affect kibble texture.  It is important that the cat or dog’s teeth penetrate into the kibble so that a “brushing” effect can be achieved. This helps to reduce plaque and tartar and encourage good oral hygiene. The amount of crunch in a kibble also influences the risk of bloat, regurgitation and choking. As with kibble shape and size, texture and density also help to encourage chewing which aids in proper consumption speed and digestion. 

A cat or dog’s age is also important when taking into account kibble texture and density. Very young puppies and kittens, as well as much older cats and dogs, require a softer kibble because their teeth are more fragile and dental pain can occur if the kibble is too hard. 

Kibble density can also influence satiety in dogs or cats that overeat. Kibble density can help to alleviate the sense of hunger between meals by creating a sense of fullness, while offering a lower level of fat and calories. This helps keep the cat or dog satisfied and helps to support a proper body weight. Proper body weight is critical in maintaining health and longevity.

Finally, kibble texture plays a very important role in palatability. Dogs and especially cats are sensitive to the mouth feel food offers. Kibble texture punctuates other elements of palatability such as aroma and flavour and can positively enhance the feeding experience. 


A kibble is not just an interesting shape

As you can see a lot of research and development goes into each and every one of our kibbles. You will never find a fish shaped kibble in any of our bags because our kibbles are designed to be functional in delivering the best nutrition possible, and every aspect of our diets is designed to promote optimum health and longevity for your cat or dog – including our kibble.