When it comes to feeding time, every owner wants their pet to enjoy his meal and leave a clean bowl. But what is it that makes him really want to tuck in? And why are some dogs fussier than others? Royal Canin, experts in Health Nutrition for dogs and cats for over 40 years, looks at the question of palatability.

Appetite and Instinct
In humans, all of our senses combine to give us an appetite; for dogs, it’s different. With approximately 80 – 220 million olfactory cells (compared to 2 – 10 million in humans) their sense of smell is far more sensitive, and as a result, their food needs to smell appealing.
Creating the perfect food starts with the careful selection of top quality ingredients; grinding to create the right texture; cooking and cooling; and the addition of a coating which provides the aroma that our dogs enjoy so much.
ROYAL CANIN® kibbles combine top quality raw materials, carefully selected for their nutritional and digestive properties, as well as packaging that ensures freshness from production through to feeding.

Eating Behaviour
Dogs are creatures of habit – they prefer their food in the same place, and at the same time. Meals are an important part of their routine, along with walks and playtime, and it’s recommended that your dogs’ feeding space remains calm since stress can affect their appetite. One should take into account their dog’s age, physiological state (e.g. sterilised or not) as well as lifestyle and breed when selecting his food.
Unlike humans who like to vary their meals, it is better for a dog’s digestive system when he stays on the same diet. If you do change his diet, make a gradual transition from the old food to the new one over the course of a week. Very small dogs are prone to being fussy, perhaps because as owners we are tempted to spoil them. Older dogs can also lose their appetite because their sense of smell and taste decline with age. With this in mind, a variety of ROYAL CANIN® ageing diets are rehydratable to increase palatability and stimulate appetite.

Food Hygiene
Your dog needs separate bowls for food and water which should both be washed every day. Make sure your pet always has a full bowl of fresh water available. It’s also wise to keep his food in an airtight container (ideally within the original packaging) to prevent oxidation, which will ensure that the food stays fresh right to the end of the bag.

Each kibble is adapted to the needs of different dogs. The size, shape and texture of the kibble are designed to maximise palatability as well as providing oral-hygiene benefits. Kibble sizes vary for tiny or large jaws; the adapted texture is adjusted depending on younger or ageing teeth; and the shape of the kibble is designed so that it can be picked up easily. Each of these contributes to how much your dog enjoys his meal.

For over 40 years, Royal Canin’s mission has been to provide the best possible nutrition for dogs based on their size, age, breed, lifestyle and physiological status. Our relationships with veterinarians, scientists, nutritionists, breeders and dog owners worldwide deepen our knowledge and understanding – with the pets needs at the heart of our world.
For more information and personalised advice on your dog’s nutritional needs, please contact Royal Canin SA Customer Care on 0860 63 00 63, or visit


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Thinking like your ancestors

The low-carb diet from Tim Noakes and the Paleo diet (which encourages people to eat like their cavemen ancestors) are the meal-plan ‘revolutions’ that are on everyone’s lips at the moment. In the animal kingdom, that same thinking is becoming a recipe for success for savvy pet owners in the know. The question is, as cats and dogs are built like their ancestors, surely they should eat like them too?

Food is an evolutionary thing – even when it comes to pet food

That is Dr Sonja Maricevic’s thinking anyway. Luckily, her university degree in art restoration came in handy when her beloved Russian Blue Cat, Salvador, got very sick. Her pedantic approach to research from her PhD background coupled with her degree’s heavy slant on chemistry was a formidable combination when she was trying to work out how to help Salvador. She trawled through endless amounts of research and literature on animal health and has since completed several courses covering animal nutrition in depth. Three years later, it has led to a change in career – Sonja is now the technical director for Champion Petfoods in South Africa, thanks to her new passion for animal nutrition – and at 15 years old and thanks to a change in his diet, Salvador is still going strong. With everything she learnt, Sonja wanted to share her knowledge with pet lovers around the world. This is what she found:

  1. Why are our pets not eating like hunters? As domestic dogs and cats have evolved from hunters, the physical structure of their teeth, jaws and digestive system scientifically classify them as carnivores, which for thousands of years have eaten exclusively a meat-based diet. The problem is, although the animals themselves have evolved, the food for their smaller, domestic counterparts has not, as the majority of pets are still largely fed a grain-based diet.
  2. Why is a protein-rich diet best for animals? Just like with human food – where a prime cut of fillet steak will cost slightly more than a veggie substitute – in order for the costs of pet food to be kept to a minimum, a lot of grain and human food remnants are used in pet food as they are cheaper than meat. The problem is, the high grain and carbohydrate content is not actually needed by dogs and cats and doesn’t allow them to thrive as much as they would on a protein rich diet.
  3. So what is the “biologically appropriate” answer then? Champion Petfoods is filled with only the good stuff that your pet needs – the ingredients that will bring the best out of your best friend... whether you’re taking your dog for a run around the neighbourhood or if you’re playing with your fluffy new kitten. Brands Orijen and Acana are bursting with cage-free poultry, nest-laid eggs, wild-caught fish and free-range red meat, all delivered fresh (never frozen and free of any preservatives) for unmatched nourishment and flavour. This protein-rich diet has helped pets all around the world to perform at their peak and for many cats and dogs that struggled with bad health for years, they literally did a 180 degree turnaround, once they were put onto a protein-rich diet... and more specifically, Champion Petfoods.
  4. Did you know that it’s even good for big cats? Your dog or cat has specific dietary needs that Mother Nature cultivated, so it’s interesting to note that even big cats have seen a marked improvement since eating Champion Petfoods. As Champion Petfoods have such a high protein content, with significant quantities of real meat, Champion Petfood was given to cheetahs in rehabilitation, which are now all thriving. Interestingly it even works for different species! As one of the cat foods is packed with six different types of fish, it was fed to fish eagles in rehab, which flourished on their new diet and are back in the wild. With such an impact, just think what two small bowls a day will do for your pet.

Champion Petfoods is available from all good pet retailers and vets countrywide. For more information, visit