Are all ingredients in your food made in the U.S?
- When it comes to food products, very few exceed the quality of American growers. Even our vitamin-mineral premix is sourced and made in the US. Around the world though there are many countries that produce high quality food products similar to the US, with meeting the same regulations, such as New Zealand. One of the main proteins we use in our original formulas is a New Zealand and/or Australian grass fed lamb.
If you have the option to use U.S.A products, why did you create a New Zealand sourced and made canned line?
- Our manufacturing facility in New Zealand upholds the same standards as we have at our EU certified manufacturing facility in the U.S.A. They also show superior quality and have a few very beneficial ingredients, such as green lipped mussel, that is found only in New Zealand. All the red meats are range reared and accordingly eat fresh grass, they are not grain fed nor kept in confined spaces.The chicken and turkey items used are either barn reared or free range. NZ produces the safest chicken in the world as there is zero use of any growth promotants, hormones, antibiotics etc and there are none of the disease challenges that are prevalent in most other countries.There are very strict rules in NZ on the use of pesticides.Testing is regularly carried out in all meat production sectors to ensure that there are no residues detectable.There are no grains, fillers, flavorings, preservatives or any artificial inclusions in these products as well as zero GMO organisms.
Why have I not heard of your food before?
- This is one of the most commonly asked questions. For the most part, popular consumable products in the US are largely driven by advertising dollars. In the pet food industry, there is such a wide diversity of ingredients ranging from dead, dying and diseased animals to human grade foods. The cost of these obviously varies as well. Because they are all approved pet food ingredients, the government does not allow pet food companies to distinguish between qualities of ingredients on our bags. Pet food companies that spend money on TV, radio, and magazine advertising most likely are purchasing lower quality ingredients.
Other holistic brands include ingredients like blueberries, cottage cheese, and apples to their foods, but you don't. Why?
- While these groovy ingredients look and sound good, much- if not all- of their nutritional value is lost during the cooking process. The artisans at VéRUS would rather you add fresh foods to your pet's dry kibble. Your dog will receive real benefits... not ingredient list window dressing. The nutrition from our products is supplied through whole foods. Our take on holistic is the use of whole meats, whole grains, vitamin antioxidant preservation, incorporation of organic nutrient sources and chelated minerals- carefully crafted- to yield the ideal levels of protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and micro-nutrients for your pet.
Why do you have carageenan in the canned food?I heard it can lead to cancer...
- Carrageenan is a natural product from algae used in very small amounts in our foods as a binder. It has been used for hundreds of years, around the world for this purpose. It is an approved ingredient in human foods as well as pet foods throughout the world. It is our choice to use this natural binding agent in our foods over any of the synthetic chemical binders available. Like so many things in nutrition, when used properly it is a absolutely safe and effective food ingredient. Because of the nature of carrageenan, if excessive amounts are used it will bind nutrients and may also draw more moisture into the intestinal tract, increasing gut motility and reducing nutrient absorption. At the levels we use in our cans, the carrageenan is absolutely safe and effective.
How should I store my bags?
- Handling of the food is very important. Natural preservatives are sometimes very sensitive to plastic or metal containers. It is important to keep the food in the original bag. The bag can be stored inside any pet food container. The food should also be kept in a cool, dry place. Heat and humidity accelerate the spoilage process of foods.
When should I switch my puppy to an adult food?
- The age that you should switch your puppy to an adult formula will vary depending on the breed. When the growth plate in the leg joins, the demand for certain minerals diminishes, this is the time to move to an adult formula; Small breeds: approximately 8-10 months, medium breeds 10-12 months, Large and Giant breeds should be on the Life Advantage formula from weaning.
Why can large breed puppies have the Life Advantage adult dog food, but the small breed puppies have a different formula?
- Research has indicated that growth disorders which afflict large and giant breed dogs can be prevented by regulating the growth rate of the dog. This can be accomplished by simply feeding a food with maintenance levels of minerals and calories. The dog still reaches their genetic potential for height and size; they just grow slower which allows the skeletal system and the soft tissues to grow at the same rate.
Can I keep my dog on the Life Advantage for the life of my pet?
- Life Advantage is a perfect formula for a dog with an active lifestyle however we suggest that for any average dog over the age of 9 be put on a food with protein level no higher than 22%. Life Advantage has 24%. We feel that too much protein can overwork the kidneys which may result in renal failure. If your dog maintains an active lifestyle, and has high energy, the higher protein levels will suit well. However, Weight Management may also be used as a senior diet. It provides a 17% protein. This would be recommended for any dog that lives a low activity, low energy lifestyle to ensure proper functioning of the kidneys.
Why are there 2 rice ingredients (Whole Ground Brown Rice and Rice Bran) in some of your formulas?
- The rice bran is added to the formula for the dietary fiber and the added organic vitamins and minerals. It essentially offers all the benefits of the brown rice, minus the carbohydrates. Rice bran also adds an ex-factor in that it helps satiate the dog. Rice bran is fairly expensive but it makes such an incredible difference in the overall performance of the food.
Why does it seem like my dog’s stool has increased?
- The physical size of the stool will vary from dog to dog and formula to formula. Most pet owners report an overall decrease in stool output to coincide with the reduced feeding quantity. The physical size of the stool has more to do with the moisture content of the stool. In order to properly exercise the anal glands, insoluble fiber sources in the diet helps to aid in the proper stool formation by absorbing moisture and swelling slightly. This provides the proper stool size and consistency to exercise the anal glands as your dog passes the stool. If you are experiencing excessive stool volume, most likely you are overfeeding your dog. The average quantity to feed is approximately 1 cup a day for every 25-30 lbs of body weight.
What is the shelf life?
- Each of the dry food formulas is stamped with a “best by date”. This is 12 months from the production date. The barrier protection bags with the one-way valve, protects the food from moisture and minimizes oxygen transfer, to keep the food “production day fresh” for the extent of the shelf life. The canned products have a 3 year shelf life.
My dog is small and doesn't need a whole can of wet food. How long will the canned food last in the refrigerator?
- The canned dog food will last about a week in the refrigerator if it is covered with a sealed lid.
Do you have a product that will clear up tear stains?
- Tear staining can be resolved with a food that has ingredients low in heavy metals, includes chelated micro nutrients, and has immune stimulating components. Our Opticoat Fish & Potato works exceptionally well at eliminating tear stains. The food should be fed exclusively for 6-8 weeks with no treats, table food, or biscuits. The staining will stop quickly but requires several weeks for the already stained hair to grow out.
What kind of fish is Menhaden fish, Ocean fish or freshwater?
- Menhaden is a cold water ocean fish, very rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. It is higher in Omega 3 fatty acids than any other fish. It is wild caught, stabilized naturally with Duralox natural oxidation inhibitor, pressed, cooked and deboned for use in VéRUS Pet Foods.
What is the difference between chicken meal and fresh chicken?
- Don't be fooled by clever marketing. The only real difference between the two ingredients is water and cost. Every pet owner wants to do the best they can for their pet. So when manufacturers place "fresh" ingredients on the label, pet owners think it is better. Not so! Pound for pound chicken meal contains 4 times the amount of protein than fresh chicken. Additionally, there is no difference in the digestibility of the two ingredients. So why use fresh chicken? Ingredients on your pet food bag are in descending order of inclusion. Fresh chicken is 75% water; water weighs 8 lbs pet gallon. Chicken meal is less than 10% water. What do you want for your pet, Chicken or Water?
Isn’t beet pulp a filler?
- There have been many misconceptions about the use of beet pulp in premium dog foods. Some people feel that it is not only an indigestible fiber but it is also a cheap filler and therefore slows down the digestive system. Others think that it is similar to the beets we buy and eat from the grocery store with the purplish-red color. These statements are untrue. From the AAFCO handbook, Dried Beet Pulp is the dried residue from sugar beets. Once it is dried, there is no color or flavor to the ingredient. However, it does support a healthy digestive tract by enhancing probiotics, or good bacteria, in the flora of the intestines. It not only has amazing digestibility but is also high in fiber to provide a natural stool firmer.
With all the other vegetables you could add, why is tomato the one you chose?
- Tomato Pumice, as stated by AAFCO, is the dried mixture of tomato skins, pulp, and crushed seeds. It is added for its palatability, as well as being a source of fiber, Vitamin B, and Vitamin A. Among other positive benefits, Vitamin B helps with metabolism, maintaining healthy skin and coat, and enhancing the nervous system. Vitamin A has a variety of influences, including vision, skin health, antioxidant properties, and immune stimulation.
When cooked, I didn't think flaxseed had any omega 3 properties remaining, wouldn't it be a filler then?
Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega 3) from flaxseed is only 10-15% convertible to DHA. We use flaxseed in our formulas for a fiber source and also for the other phytochemicals which is fantastic for a cat's health. To obtain superior levels of DHA for the omega 3 fatty acids, VéRUS uses Menhaden fish meal and the menhaden fish oil.
If humans aren’t even supposed to eat a lot of salt, why would you put it in my pet’s food?
- By AAFCO definition, salt is an acceptable source of sodium chloride. It is an antioxidant additive. There is a very minimal amount in the food, but the salt that is added also helps with palatability of the food.
Why do you use corn gluten meal in the cat food?
- Corn gluten meal is a very low ash, high protein concentrate from corn. By AAFCO definition, it is the dried residue from corn after removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm. AAFCO defines Gluten as the tough, viscid nitrogenous substance remaining when the grain is washed to remove the starch. Basically, it is the protein portion of the corn. Meal is a dehydrated form of gluten. It is essentially the protein and minerals with the carbohydrates removed. It is also a source of the amino acid cysteine, which helps strengthen the protective lining of the stomach. Corn gluten is also very palatable for cats. When the VéRUS feline was originally formulated, the addition of small amounts of corn gluten with our low ash chicken kept our Magnesium levels below .095%. Low magnesium combined with acidic urine ph and high caloric density provides the greatest protection from urinary tract infections. It is an easily digested form of protein, which should never be the primary form of protein in a kibble. Let’s not forget, the greatest cat food in the world is worthless if your cat won’t eat it. Cats love the taste of VéRUS Feline.
My cat has crystals. Will VéRUS feline Life advantage help with this problem?
- This is a very common problem in cats, particularly male cats. Crystals are a problem when the concentration level of crystals is so high, that they irritate the urinary tract. As a result, the cat’s urinary tract becomes infected or may clog, which can prevent your cat from urinating properly. The best dietary management practice is to minimize the particular minerals in the food that form the crystals; Calcium, Phosphorus, & Magnesium, and to produce an environment, and acidic ph, in the urinary tract that minimizes the risk of infection. VéRUS Feline formulas are designed to accomplish both. Additionally, keeping your cat well hydrated and in proper weight are significant factors in prevention of Feline urological problems.
My puppy keeps eating her stool. Is this because of the food?
- Coprophagia or stool eating is a habitual problem with dogs that often starts in the litter environment. Once the habit is formed it is very difficult to break. Changing the diet can sometimes assist in breaking the habit, but more importantly, picking up the stool quickly will accelerate breaking the habit. Make sure that the proper formula is being fed, and the feeding guidelines are followed.
Compared to other products on the market, do you think your protein is too low, specifically for pregnant or active dogs?
- The protein and fat levels in the foods and feeding guidelines are regulated by AAFCO, a US government body of regulating labels of pet foods. They have developed certain protocols for feeding dogs in various conditions of pregnancy, lactation, puppyhood, active lifestyle, training, etc. Diets such as VéRUS have 25-50% more nutrient availability than standard commercial diets because of ingredient quality and cooking procedures. For instance, low ash chicken meal produced from just muscle tissue will yield approximately 25% more digestible protein than an equal quantity of chicken by-product meal. Yet crude protein levels of each is the same. So, in fact, we state the typical guidelines that our government requires but in actual use, feeding is far exceeding the standards. Additionally, ground whole grains (complex carbohydrates) yield significant levels of micro nutrients as well as 10-15% more digestible carbohydrates when cooked a little slower. This reduces plant efficiency while increasing food digestibility.
If the Life Advantage is for Large Breed Puppies, why doesn’t it have any DHA in it?
- DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid. Among other things, it is beneficial for brain cell development. It is only found in the oil processed from cold water fish. It is not a required nutrient for dogs because they are able to essentially produce their own DHA by converting Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) into DHA. In our Life Advantage Formula we include "flax seed" which is an oil seed very rich in the Omega-3 fatty acid ALA. This will provide more than adequate amounts of DHA for proper brain development.
- Throughout all of our formulas you will see a fish oil or flax seed in higher quantities than in most pet foods. When other companies do use flax it is normally flax seed meal which only contains 10% of the oil or ALA that the whole seed contains. This is one of the foundation blocks of VéRUS Pet Foods. We have been firm believers in the significant benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids since the beginning. The cost is higher of course, which may cause most companies to stick with traditional levels.
- We include the fish oil in the Puppy formula for an added fat source since small breed puppies need a little more energy during their development stages. By using DHA rich fish oil we meet the energy needs plus add Omega-3's. Large breed dogs develop much better with foods lower in energy, calcium, and protein.
My dog only eats grain free because I bought food with grains and my dogs had many problems. Why should I go back to a grain product again?
- There are many factors that may cause problems with dogs including diet. All foods are not created equal, including ingredients, ingredient quality, cooking process, and handling that may effect the performance of a food. Unless your dog was diagnosed with an allergy to a particular grain ingredient, it is most likely that your dog may have performed poorly on the food because of some other factor. Grains, like any carbohydrate, are undigestible for dogs unless they are ground and cooked properly. The most common cause of digestive problems associated with grains is undercooking. VéRUS adopts specific cooking procedures to maximize the starch conversion. Our normal cook is about 98%. This eliminates issues created by grains.
Should I supplement my dog with vitamins?
- Pet owners ask this question very often. The answer is "no you do not need to supplement while feeding VéRUS". Our foods are formulated to meet higher standards of nutrition than those established by AAFCO. If you do choose to supplement your pets diet of VéRUS Pet foods, we encourage you to add fresh foods like vegetables or a balanced supplement. Avoid adding excessive amounts of meat because excessive protein is filtered through the kidneys and can lead to kidney damage. We do not recommend the use of individual mineral nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, etc., without professional direction because of the possibility of throwing off the mineral balance in your pet.
Can I mix formulas?
- Unless your pet experiences sensitivity to a particular ingredient, there is no problem mixing formulas.
Is it true that having multi-meats in a dog food will help the dog to not be allergic to dog food?
- No. The root of allergy development is poor quality nutrition for the immune system. A dog with an under nourished immune system may react to any food protein. VéRUS incorporates an exclusive micro nutrient package rich in zinc, selenium, chromium, and vitamin E, all know immune stimulants. As well as food ingredients such as flax seed and flax oil, omega 3 rich cold water fish and fish oil and other organic nutrient sources that fuel the immune system. These ingredients and nutrients are not required to be added to pet foods, we recognize the absolute necessity to maintain optimum long term health for our companion animals.
Does your company test on animals?
- The ingredients added to our formulas are simple and provide all nutrition necessary for a dog/cat. There are no artificial preservatives, hormones, GMO’S, or by products. For this reason, we trust the product and the ingredients in it that when we do complete a routine palatability test, we simply take the product home and feed to our own pets.
- All the facilities that we purchase ingredients through follow good manufacturing and processing practices. The meats are all from USDA inspected facilities so we are not dealing with "backyard" processors that just raise meat for the pet industry. This is what you get when you purchase grocery or low priced products. Purchasing a higher quality meat, raised for human consumption, means that the processors handle the animals with much greater care so as not to damage or bruise the meat. We recognize that all creatures, even those we use to produce our foods, deserve to be killed in a humane fashion.
What are the results for any feeding trials? Has VéRUS done feeding trials?
- The average feeding trials involve the contracting of facilities that house dogs just for the purpose of testing. As a company we are opposed to this procedure. Using simple, basic, high quality ingredients precludes the need for testing. If we do any feeding trials, we are confident in our food that we take it home and feed it to our own pets.
Have you ever had any recalls?
- VéRUS Pet Foods has never been involved in any recall.
What makes VéRUS so different?
- The ingredients. Any label may read the same. It's the quality that matters. VéRUS will NEVER sacrifice the nutrition and health of your pet. We are loyal to our customers. We believe that with a proper diet, pets will not only live a longer, healthier, happier life, but they will also have the opportunity to provide more love, memories, and loyalty to you as well.