VeRUS Dog Food (Dry)


Rating: ★★★½☆

VeRUS Dog Food earns the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.

The VeRUS product line includes eight dry dog foods.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

  • VeRUS Life Virtue [A]
  • VeRUS Adult Maintenance [A]
  • VeRUS Advanced Opticoat [A]
  • VeRUS Large Breed Puppy [A]
  • VeRUS Life Advantage (4 stars) [A]
  • VeRUS Cold Water Fish (4 stars) [A]
  • VeRUS Puppy Advantage (4 stars) [A]
  • VeRUS Weight Management (1.5 stars) [A]

VeRUS Adult Maintenance was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

VeRUS Adult Maintenance

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 24% | Fat = 11% | Carbs = 57%

Ingredients: Lamb meal, ground oats, ground brown rice, rice bran, flaxseed, ground grain sorghum, chicken fat (preserved with natural mixed tocopherols), chicory extract, sun cured alfalfa, kelp, natural flavors, Yucca schidigera extract, dried Pediococcus acidilactici fermentation product, salt, vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, biotin, thiamine mononitrate, l-carnitine, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin A acetate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, choline chloride, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, betaine anhydrous, iron proteinate, selenium yeast, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.7%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis22%10%NA
Dry Matter Basis24%11%57%
Calorie Weighted Basis23%25%52%
Protein = 23% | Fat = 25% | Carbs = 52%

The first ingredient in this dog food is lamb meal. Lamb meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh lamb.

The second ingredient includes ground oats. Oats are naturally rich in dietary fiber, B-vitamins and low in gluten.

The third ingredient is ground brown rice, another name for rice flour. Ground rice is made from either white or brown rice and is considered a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour.

The fourth ingredient is rice bran, a healthy by-product of milling whole grain rice. The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain containing starch, protein, fat as well as vitamins and minerals.

The fifth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.

The sixth ingredient is sorghum. Sorghum (milo) is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The eighth ingredient is chicory extract which is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.

Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.

The ninth ingredient is sun-cured alfalfa. Although alfalfa is high in protein (18%) and fiber, it’s uncommon to see it used in a dog food. This hay-family ingredient is more commonly associated with horse feeds.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With three notable exceptions

First, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.

Next, this recipe contains selenium yeast. Unlike the more common inorganic form of selenium (sodium selenite), this natural yeast supplement is considered a safer anti-cancer alternative.

And lastly, this food includes chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

VeRUS Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, VeRUS Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 25%, a fat level of 11% and estimated carbohydrates of about 56%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 26% and a mean fat level of 14%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 52% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 57%.

Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Even when you consider the protein-boosting effect of the flaxseed and alfalfa in this recipe, and the lentils, chickpeas and peas in other recipes, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

VeRUS is a plant-based dry dog food using a moderate amount of named meats as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5 stars.


Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

VeRUS Dog Food
Recall History

The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to this product line. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.

You can view a complete list of all dog food recalls sorted by date. Or view the same list sorted alphabetically by brand.

To learn why our ratings have nothing to do with a product’s recall history, please visit our Dog Food Recalls FAQ page.

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Advisor’s recall notification list.

Dog Food Coupons
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A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

The Dog Food Advisor does not test dog food products.

We rely entirely on the integrity of the information provided by each company. As such, the accuracy of every review is directly dependent upon the specific data a company chooses to share.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

We rely on tips from readers. To report a product change or request an update of any review, please contact us using this form.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

However, we do receive a fee from for each purchase made as a direct result of a referral from our website. This fee is a fixed dollar amount and has nothing to do with the size of an order or the brand selected for purchase.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

11/27/2016 Last Update

  • Judy Sharp

    Verus has never had a recall, I just bought a bag yesterday my dogs love it, I own 3 chihuahuas and a yorkie and I just adopted a German Shepherd, so we will give this a try, I don’t think it’s a bad food, you feed what ever your dogs look good on and healthy.

  • skmy

    I own 2 dogs and had been having Verus, it was a brand recommended by a friend. It was also recommended to lessen eye discharge that might blind aging dogs. Well I’m not a professional in what dogs needs or should be given or what would be harmful to them but I am just a dog owner who wishes to give the best to my dogs. After 3 months giving Verus to my dogs, fur starts to shed and they both started to have signs of fur lose well i also found out the “friend” that recommended Verus started switching her dog food as well andhave not been warning me about the signs. Apparently her poddle got the exact problem as well. Well maybe further research has to be made on the dog food on what made me feel untrustable to Verus. Thanks for reading and hope someone finds out what’s going on.

  • samc

    I own a dog day care and became interested in VeRus after I heard that a fellow day care owner (we are a franchise) was carrying it and having success. I convinced one of my customers to try the Opticoat because her Red Fox Lab had always had a dry coat and shed horribly. After only one bag her coat immediately softened and the shedding dramatically deminished. Then I noticed that the dog started to shed heavily again. The owner stopped feeding it because her couldn’t tolerate the fish smell. Another owner also reported a more frequent need to go out (including in the middle of the night). I personally fed it to my dog and like the product but just couldn’t find enough of a market to keep selling it.

  • BT

    It was in an earlier formula… maybe 5 years ago. Then, they continued to use the same bags for another year or so (guess they ordered in bulk), so it was still listed as an ingredient. Our dogs eat this food, so we called the company and spoke to the rep about all of this.

  • It’s important to keep in mind that it’s not necessarily the brand of food that is the problem or solution, rather it’s the ingredients of the food.

    I don’t know what you’re pup was eating before, but it could have been an issue with chicken, and by moving to the food reviewed above you got rid of the problem since it’s chicken-free (btw, chicken “fat” is not a problem, rather chicken meat/meal/organs).

    As for the cats, chances are they weren’t given a good food in the first place.

    In all… use what works. I just wanted to clear that up.

  • Oh, he gets kefir too, everyday, home grown from raw cows milk.

  • I am feeding VeRus to my dog, he is 7 with every know allergy to dog, on allergy shots, and until we started feeding VeRus he itched all the time. That has stopped. I have noticed he eats much less, I think, due to the fact that he is “sated” and does not crave more. Could your guy be overeating out of habit? or boredom? My dog poos a lot too, but does not go in the house. I guess I have been lucky… LOL good luck. We had sick cats, we rescue and re home ferals… when we switched to VeRus, they all got well, within two weeks, after months of horrible illness and death…. we love the VeRus and will continue to use it til something better comes along…
    Hope that is helpful

  • My Chesapeak Bay retrievers have been on Verus since they were puppies and they are “specimens of health” according to the vet. We feed 1 and 1/2 cups in the morning with 2 tbls of yogurt and one cup at night with 1 cup of veggies and both girls do not have any problems with poops, or excess weight – when they go swimming in the summer – due to the higher activity, we give a cup more food a day. My girls do react negatively to any food with wheat and Verus has made all the difference in keeping them healthy and happy! They are now 3 and 1/2 and 4

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Mike –

    Before you tell Dr. Mike he’s wrong and needs to research, maybe you should actually read the ingredients list for the product. Vitamin K is not included in any of the dry dog formulas: It’s possible that you have it confused with another product or that it used to contain menadione and has since changed the formula, but there currently is no menadione in the food.

  • mike

    i don unterstand why you don’t mention this food has menadiane source of vitiman k known for causing cancer listed …it is in this dog food…. you have to do more research guys….

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Corgi Mom –

    Check out this article on Stuvites:

    Low protein diets do not prevent struvite formation. A low protein diet, along with antibiotics, can speed the dissolution of struvite stones but it’s not necessary to continue a low protein diet once the stones are gone and won’t help prevent them from reforming. Controlling urinary tract infections is the best way to prevent them from forming.

  • corgi mom

    Would Verus Adult weight management work for a dog who has had struvite stone surgery? I know these dogs need lower protein. My dog is allergic to chicken and corn so many products are not right for her.

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  • melissa


    I get what your point is, and I am aware that grain free does not equate to carb free. However-

    I feed the same amount of food #1-carbs 49% as I do food #2-carbs 29-the same as food 3- carbs 35.

    Since I monitor the amount of kcals per cup they are all within the same range-for my crew, carb content does not make a difference, however their activity and calories per cup does. I have never had to severely limit my dogs calorie intake-as a matter of fact, I have never had a fat dog. If a rescue comes in overweight, we simply determine with the vet what the proper weight should be, how many calories are a place to start, and feed them. No special foods, no special carb or protein levels- My belief is pretty basic-don’t feed more kcals then they use. Shrug.

    I am sure others will prefer to dissect why they believe one way is better than the other, but for me, I go by my vision : )

  • Shawna

    Hi Mike :0)

    Of course you are correct — when activity is higher then food consumption needs to match.  And visa versa..

    However, the point attempting to be made here is that when a dog is eating a species appropriate diet which is high in protein and lower in carbs (like what you feed Jubilee) then calorie restriction is lower then when feeding a diet higher in carbohydrates (all sources of carbs–not just grains).

    My foster dog Mimi lost half of her body weight (14 pounds) WITHOUT excercising AT ALL on a high protein, LOW carb raw diet..  AND she wasn’t excessively hungry because I didn’t have to restrict her calories as severely as I would have if the carb content would have been higher in the diet.

  • Shawna

    Melissa ~~ “grain free” doesn’t necessarily mean the food is lower carb.  MANY grain free foods are still high carb.  And definitely higher then what the majority of raw feeders feed.

    This research paper states that when protein is high and carbs (not just grains) are low, calories do not have to restricted as much as when protein is lower.  Generally when protein is higher, fat is going to be higher (but hopefully not “high”) too.

    “Changing the macronutrient profile of a canine weight-loss diet from a high-carbohydrate level to one primarily based on protein can promote greater weight loss without further reductions in caloric intake. This weight loss is driven primarily from an increased loss of fat mass while maintaining lean muscle mass.”

  • Mike P

    I base her food intake on activity.This summer has been so hot our activity level is way down.I limit our after work walks to 20 minutes with lots of water breaks.During this time she (68lbs) is getting 1 1/2 cup of kibble w/topper.Days off we start at 4:30/5 am and go for a hour or more and she gets 2 meals.Breakfast 1 cup kibble with cooked toppers and 1 cup kibble for dinner.She is active all day on non work days.Running errands,swimming,playing with the todler so more food is required.I can’t wait for fall/winter and everyday long walks and hiking.I’m with you melissa you just have to pay attention and adjust.

  • melissa

     My husband feeds the same way-he always thinks the ‘amounts” look too small and since the dogs are willing to eat whatever is in the bowl, they must certainly be hungry.

    I think the conversation being had is interesting-to at least see the different points of view. But, I honestly don’t get what the problem is- 

    I have fed moderate to higher carb foods for years, and never had a dog be labeled as overweight or obese.Why? Because  I watch and monitor their weight and adjust food up or down as needed-the same thing I do with the grain free now.On the other hand, hubby is heavy handed with the scoop, and if left to his own devices, they would be butterballs with legs. Grain inclusive(higher carb) or grain free, my dogs who ate one cup, still eat one cup-

    The only time kibble amounts are cut back is based on the toppers, not the type of kibble. Shrug.

  • aimee

    Umm… not really following you here….what is it I said that you think is nonsense?

    I never said you couldn’t get a dog to lose weight on a high protein mod fat low carb diet. 

     I was agreeing with HDM that caloric intake trumps  dietary components.

    I have no love affair with carbohydrates…  not sure why you said I do. I’m just objectively neutral about carbs and don’t see a need to avoid them.

    I know you value practical observation.  I shared my observation that I acheive the best body score conditioning with diets of a lower fat content.

  • Shawna

    That is such nonsense aimee….

    No one here is recommending a “high” fat diet…  AND MANY of us have quite successfully taken off weight with high protein, moderate fat and LOW carb diets. 

    You’ve probably read about my foster dog Mimi losing half her body weight on such a (moderate fat) diet.  It should be considered too that the raw diet I feed is likely higher in fat (but still in correct proportion to protein) then most if not all of these kibbles.

  • aimee

    I agree that calories in/out is the primary contribution to the pet obesity problem.
    I’d consider the diets used in that study to be high protein, low fat, mod carb. which is what I find works best. The fat levels in those test diets ranged from 8-9% with a protein/fat ratio over 5:1. 

     Putting together various studies fat is most efficiently converted to fat in the body followed by carbohydrate with protein being the least efficient.

    Where I see a benefit for low fat diets for weight loss is primarily a people factor. People tend to feed by volume.. so a higher fat diet mean less volume fed. Most people see the small volume and then help the dog “cheat”. I struggle with this problem with my own husband who feeds by the “this amount looks good” verses measuring Grrr. So I always look for a 3:1 or higher protein/ fat level in the diets I feed.

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Aimee –

    Ultimately it comes down to calories in, calories out. Because diets high in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbohydrates are best for dogs I think calories should be reduced rather than altering the protein/fat/carb ratios.

    There is a lot of information out there supporting high protein/low carb diets for weightloss in dogs.

    “This study evaluated the benefits of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets as well as CLA addition on reducing body weight in dogs. Changing the macronutrient profile of a canine weightloss diet from a high-carbohydrate level to one primarily based on protein can promote greater weightloss without further reductions in caloric intake. The weightloss is driven primarily from an increased loss of fat mass while maintaining lean muscle mass.”


    I do agree that fat shouldn’t be too high for dogs needing to lose weight, but I don’t think low fat diets benefit dogs in any way. Generally fat should be 50% of protein. I do find that feeding fat levels at 60% – 75% of protein levels help keep weight on my female (she’s not an easy keeper). But I don’t think any benefit is gained from feeding overweight dogs a low fat diet as dogs utilize fat for energy much like people utilize carbohydrates.

  • doggonefedup

    I think the reality is that you can not blame weight gain and/or weight lose on either fats or carbs. It is the combination of both fats AND carbs that dictates weight gains and loses. In the presence of  carbs fat will be stored if they are both at high enough levels depending on the individuals metabolism. However, in the absence of carbs the body quickly moves into a fat burning mode which is probably why carbs get the blame for weight gain….. 

  • aimee

    Hi HDM,

    It is a common misconception that carbohydrates promote weight gain over dietary fat. From the most recently published book on dog nutrition Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition  “Dietary fat is very readily absorbed and converted more efficiently into body fat than dietary carbohydrates or protein” pg 129.

    In the moderate fat fed dog model dietary fat is increased to increase body fat proportions without increasing body weight. This is done for the purpose of diabetes research.

    The same is seen with cats; body fat mass parallells dietary fat levels. Backus (2007) concluded “These data provide evidence that in cats, high dietary fat, but not carbohydrate, induces weight gain” 

    Practically, I’ve found in my own weight prone breeds that it is easiest to keep them lean with a high protein low fat mod carb food. 


  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Bobbie,

    As BryanV21 said, all dogs are individuals and there are some instances in which an individual dog may not tolerate higher protein or fat or may have a health condition preventing them from eating a diet high in protein/fat – but in general, the majority of dogs will do best on a diet high in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbohydrates. Whether or not a dog is active has nothing to do with protein/fat levels. Inactive dogs need less calories (energy) – they should still eat the same high protein, moderate fat, low carbohydrate diets of more active dogs just in a lesser amount. Actually, diets high in carbohydrates promote weight gain in dogs so feeding an inactive dog a carb heavy food would be counter productive. Some highly active working dogs actually require higher carb levels in their diet just to help keep on weight.

  • BryanV21

    Fad? A diet high in MEAT protein and fat is not a fad, but it’s how dogs fed themselves for thousands of years before the advent of kibble.

    That’s not to say all dogs are better off with foods high in protein, as well as grain-free, but it’s not a fad either. If you’re pups do better on grain inclusive foods that are lower in protein, that’s cool. But what’s good for your dogs are not necessarily good for mine.

    Just like there is not one specific diet and workout that’s good for all people, there’s not one specific diet that’s good for dogs. Take these ratings for what they are… guides for owners to select what’s best for them and their dogs.

  • bobbie

    Seems that all the five star foods are higher protein.  I have been feeding my dogs grain free for a couple years.  Think higher protein is okay for working dogs, active dogs.  Most people have not so active dogs.  I have noticed that my dogs gain weight on high protein  The only grain free that kept their weight down was core reduced fat.  Also they burp all the time….like maybe the food is too rich and it upsets their tummies.  I bought a bag of verus opticoat fish and will start on that.  The only think I’m not sure of is they state on their website that they don’t use ethoyquin….but doesn’t state on bag.  Anyway, will let you know how it goes.

  • bobbie

    I’ve accessed this website for a few years now and it looks like star ratings are according to protein levels.  The higher the protein the higher the star.  I for one think the high protein and fat is a fad.  Sure wild dogs eat high protein, but most of our dogs don’t get the exercise a wild dog would.  I’ve been feeding grain free for about a year and my dogs don’t appear to have the energy that whole grains can provide.  Also, they are always burping like their tummys are upset.  I purchased a bag of versus opticoat fish and will see how that goes.

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  • DogsOntheHill

    I personally own a pet store.On anything by Natura, be it Innova or California Natural pet owners complain to me frequently that their dogs digestion is not great.The stool is too lose and I disagree on the muscle tone, they don’t have any real muscle mass on this food while on others they have really great muscle tone esp. Verus or Fromm like people say here, but also on Nature’s variety, Merrick, Pinnacle, just to name a few more who use human grade quality meats with higher grade crude protein levels.It takes the protein to build the muscle,so people in this forum are correct about the link.If they don’t use human grade meats the meats are likely expired and full of bacteria.That is where all the recalls are coming from.Some companies also don’t make their foods fresh and let them sit around,not the higher quality companies as listed below.You simply cannot buy a dog food without grain for cheap.Since you are using grain free foods I assume you pay more than $ 43 for 33#.And you are incorrect,Fromm and other human grade foods don’t cost $ 80-100 unlike you claim.The Fromm suf’n turf grain free for instance is $ 62 a bag,the Gold line $ 43.You can also buy Whole Farms by Merrick with higher quality ingredients for $ 31.Verus is $ 58.And it is a fact that Proctor & Gamble are using shortcuts now.Verus is of much higher quality,much safer food and has higher quality meats. Just because of their carb content I don’t believe they just deserve 3 stars on this website!

  • LabsRawesome

    Alex, yes, I know all about Fromm. I have used it in my rotation. My dogs liked it and did well on it. But for the price/size that you stated, you are talking about the line that is grain inclusive. I have since moved on to grain-free. I know all about the buyout of Natura by P&G, that occured in 2010. I actually know a couple people that use their foods, and their dogs are well muscled & healthy. And, I know all about denatured meats as well.

  • Alex

    California natural, Innova, Evo, etc. are the same company and have been sold to Proctor & Gamble; since then I know too many dogs who have suffered diahrrea, allergies, skin problems since it is now about Sharholder Value; they have either changed their formula, alot of their staff has left them because of their shortcuts and/or they started to use lower grade ingredients. Also since then Calfornia natural, for instance,  don’t state on their website anymore that they use human grade meats and they also don’t state anymore that it is a USDA gov. inspected facility. In comparison, Fromm uses only human grade meats in their own USDA inspected facility. You asked for a link, here is the website of cal.nat:

    Nowhere they say they use human grade ingredients. What that means, is that they use meats that are not be usuable for human consuption, as it has expired or is in other ways low quality meats.
    The protein in dog food comes from poultry, cattle, fish, lambs, swine, and other animals. Choice cuts are stripped away for human consumption. This leaves approximately 50% of the carcass including bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments and any other portion not usually eaten by humans, according to the Animal Protection Institute. Material received from the slaughterhouse is “denatured” to prevent it from being manufactured for human consumption. Denaturing involves covering the raw meat with any number of substances including the federally approved substances of carbolic acid (phenol, a potentially corrosive disinfectant), fuel oil, kerosene, crude carbolic acid, citronella, or creosote (used to preserve wood or as a disinfectant). Dr. Wendell Belfield, DVM, former USDA Vet, stated that as a veterinary meat inspector, he used carbolic acid and creosote, both of which are extremely toxic. Creosote, with its distinct odor, “was used for many years as a preservative for wood power poles. Its effect on the environment proved to be so negative that it is no longer used for that purpose.”

    Other companies with human grade ingredients use high quality meats, I can tell you the dogs on Cal. natural food have no real muscle tone. Then they switch to Fromm, and you can feel a real muscle tone due to a better quality meat. If the meat is not human grade, it also is likely to be preserved with chemicals, ammonia; and they don’t have to disclose that on the package.

    And by the way, you can get a bag of Fromm dog food 33 pounds for less than $ 50.00. It will last you longer, as your dogs will eat less and will be more healthy than a non-human grade lower quality food; they will eat more of it.

  • Shawna

    Protein is the “building block” for every aspect of the body..  The amino acids in protein are used to make glutathione (the master antioxidant of the body), to make the very enzymes that digest the foods eaten, to prevent cancer by inducing apoptosis via enzymes, to repair organs etc.. 

    Without enough protein the body can not function optimally and disease is the end result.  Yes, I do agree that quality protein is necessary but it doesn’t matter if it is quality or not if not enough is consumed for the needs of the body..

    This food appears to get a significant amount of its 25% protein from the grains in the food..  Plant based proteins do not have the same amino acid profile as meat based proteins and are not utilized on a cellular level as efficiently..

  • LabsRawesome

     Alex, please leave a link as proof to all the claims that you are making. Where did you get that Cali Natural uses expired meats? FYI many people consider their pets family, and can’t afford to spend $80-100 dollars a bag for human grade dog food.

  • Alex

    California natural doesn’t have human grade ingredients, I would go for human grade, such as Verus or Fromm (meals cannot be considered human grade, but also Verus is kind of human grade, high quality). California natural and many others use expired meats, not for human consumption, you don’t want that when you consider you pets family.

  • Alex

    I would not worry so much about the low protein content, vs. carbs. this food is pure, which is more important to have a food without or low on toxins, vs. a food with the ‘perfect’ ratio, but with low quality meats, not human grade and low quality ingredients. I would rater chose the save, pure ingredients and take the carbs! Another food I recommend is Fromm. Very high quality human grade; perfect ratio. My Schnauzer who normally gets skin allergies from food containing grains doesn’t get them on Fromm.

  • Alex

    You are incorrect, Diamond dog foods has had more recalls and killed more animals than I want to know; just recently there was salmonella found and all they can say, no salmonella found in the food; while thousends of animals, and even some people, got sick, by using this food! Diamond doesn’t use human grade ingredients, which should be a consideration when determine the ‘stars’; they use expired and chemically preserved meats not usuable anymore for human consuption, absolutely ridicilous. Verus uses prime ingredients and absolutely care, no issues ever! So does Fromm, human grade, is what you want, not garbage meats!

  • Kissaspen63

    Your review is almost two years old. It is time for an update.

  • sandy

    And of course avoid corn meal gluten.

  • sandy

    I’m not sure if the oats are completely gluten free. Does it actually say gluten free on the bag? Natures Select has some gluten free foods and you can get 50 pound bags as well. Look for the ones that just have brown rice and/or millet. Natures Logic is also gluten free and so is Solid Gold Sundancer and Canidae Single Grain Protein Plus. Actually, I think if you just avoid oats, barley, rye, and wheat, you’ll be gluten free.

  • Amber

    When our 2 pit bulls were puppies we had them on NutroMAX large breed puppy then switched to the adult after 1 year of age. They constantly had diarrhea but we figured they were puppies and liked to eat things they shouldn’t, so we didn’t blame the food we were giving them. After about 6 months on the Adult NutroMax the diarrhea got out of hand and we went in to a pet food store near by and they recommended a gluten-free dog food. They said Pit bulls do better on that, so we got them on Verus, it was the cheapest high quality gluten-free food. I must say, my Husband and I love it for them. No more diarrhea!! Although, they do still poop 3+ times a day… We feed them twice a day and they really seem to like the taste. 40lb bag = 44.00 “crazy”, but it lasts a month. I would highly recommend this food.

  • m

    I have an 8 month old golden retriever who has been eating verus opticoat menhaden fish dry food for her whole life so far. I temporarily switched her over to Wellness because it’s easier to get but her stools loosened up a bit and became more inconsistent. Switched back to Verus and all has been good. I add a little organic chicken broth and big spoon of pumpkin. We get perfect poops and a silky smooth coat.
    Verus was recommended by my breeder and I agree that it’s an excellent quality food.

  • Jen

    Your post helped me so much!! We just switched to Verus and I have a Jug (pug/jack russell mix) and about a week after the switch, he started having excessive BM’s. I was wondering why. Now I think it is because he is getting too much food…he never used to go in the house and he would be able to hold it all day. The past week, not so much. I am going to start experimenting and researching the calorie counts. I feel as though, based off of your post, that he is getting too much. And too much of a good thing can be bad.

  • Ann

    I have had my greyhound on Verus Lamb for several years and she is in perfect health. She loves the taste of it, has good solid poops. She is 75 lbs and 10 years old and gets 2 feedings a day. morning and late afternoon. She gets about 1 and 3/4 cup both times, almost 2 cups. Her coat is shiny and the vet always says she is a perfect specimen of great health. I highly recommend this product to all my foster greyhounds new parents.

  • sandy

    I just read your first replay again and noticed you said you adjusted for volume. But did you know one cup of brand X could have 350 calories and one cup of brand Y could have 540? Makes a big difference. When you factor in a food that has more meat/protein and is nutrient dense and less carbs, you should always be feeding less of it as well (if you should go to Blue buffalo Wilderness). You also said you go by the vet for the feeding schedule. I would go by your dog. He’s right in front of you everyday. For my dogs, excessive intake = excessive BM’s. Their bodies use what it needs from the food and discards the rest. My dogs have been on 350-400 calories (or as close as possible) for 2 years now. My 2 small ones have stayed the same (or vary 2 pounds either way depending on the season and how much exercise they get) and the obese ones I have adopted have been losing weight. I actually have a pug that was 38 pounds down to 30 and still needs to lose more. Pugs can not get full. They would and will eat anything all the time! Not sure about your maltipoo. But I tell you what – it is hard to resist those “eyes” and the “look” I get when I’m eating something…must must resist for their own good, long term health. Actually, it’s more like I have to be strict because I work nights and my husband orders in and the dogs will eat their food and get pizza or chinese food or something. So frustrating!

  • Jeff

    Hi Sandy,

    Love pugs – couldn’t get one because of allergy issues. Frodo is a whopping 13.5 pounds and gets a cup a day – and it’s interesting that you feed dogs much bigger than him the same amount of food. Again, I went by the vet on his feeding schedule and amount. Perhaps we need to cut it back a bit. I will look into the Blue Buffalo Wilderness – he was getting the other version (can’t remember the name offhand).

    Thank you!


  • sandy

    By the way, how big is your Maltipoo? I have pugs. I have fed them Blue Buffalo Wilderness with good results. Even my foster pugs ate it. They are 20-23 pounds and they only get 3/4 to 1 cup a day 350-400 calories. This brand has more fiber than a lot of the other above-average/high protein brands which I liked about it. This Verus food appears to have too many carbs!

  • Jeff

    Hi Mike, Sandy,

    Thanks so much for the responses. Mike: I will check with the vet. I know she recommended the Royal Canin when he was a puppy and has a pretty good handle on him. Sandy: we’ve kept his feedings steady, adjusting for the different volumes. I know – you’d think that would have been it; and that’s what makes it frustrating. That’s why I’m wondering if it might be the food – too much grain/carbs? Perhaps he needs the higher protein version. I will check with the vet, though. Again, thank you both for your responses!


  • sandy


    Have you tried reducing his feedings? Overfeeding can lead to excessive BM’s. And different foods have different calorie counts. Are you feeding more calories now than before on the other brand?

  • Hi Jeff… Sorry to hear about your dog’s urination and defecation habits. Could it be the food? For the stools, this is certainly possible. For the urination, it’s not nearly as likely and your puppy’s urination may actually be normal for your dog.

    However, since I’m not a veterinarian and due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, it would be inappropriate for me to provide specific health advice or product recommendations. Please see our FAQ page and our reviews for more information. Or check with your vet for help with the answer to your questions. Wish I could be more help.

  • Jeff

    Hi Mike,

    About a month and a half ago we switched our one-year-old Maltipoo to VeRUS from Blue Buffalo (via Royal Canin). He ate the RC through puppyhood, but we discovered he was peeing excessively. Through your site (and others) we learned that RC was higher in sodium than most, leading to more drinking and, hence, more peeing. We moved him to BB, but his stools became excessively loose. The saleslady at our local specialty pet supply store recommended VeRUS. Almost immediately, Frodo’s stools solidified. Gradually, though, another problem has crept into the picture: excessive BMs. He’s a little dog – but, boy, can he “go!” The really troubling thing is that, aside from his frequent no. 2s during the day, he is leaving us “presents” when we get up in the morning, something he had stopped doing. Could it be the food? There have been no other changes in our (or his) lifestyle.

    Thank you so much for your help.


  • Hi Gloria… I’m sorry you’re troubled with my review. However, please realize that there are over 2,400 dog food recipes on my website. And most are not available here where I live.

    Unfortunately, I cannot go out and buy each and every one of them (my wife wouldn’t like that much food filling up our home). So, I rely on (and trust) the information published by the companies on their own websites. And VeRUS is no exception.

    At your suggestion, I just now re-visited the VeRUS website and compared the VeRUS Adult Maintenance Diet (Lamb) with our review and found them both to be 100% identical. I can’t explain why your bag doesn’t agree with the company’s website.

    Either you are using an out-of-date product or VeRUS has changed their recipe and failed to update their website.

    I’d suggest you call VeRUS Customer Service and find out whether your bag or their website is in error.

  • Gloria

    Mike, I was troubled by your analysis of Verus Dog Food. I think I have researched the food thoroughly, in fact, I have a bag next to me at this time. On the back of the bag, under ingredients, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate. I have been feeding this food to my two terriers for about two years and couldn’t be happier. I researched several other foods, such as, Great Life, Natures Variety, and Nutro. I believe I made an educated decision. I suggest that you get a bag of Verus Adult Maintenance and check out the ingredient panel again. Waiting to hear back from you. Thank you.

  • Mike P

    Allan , Must have something to do with the flaxseed meal . Congrats on your dogs improvement …

  • Allan MacLellan

    I must say that i was quite impressed with this Verus Opticoat dog food. My Airedale was on steady diet of that highly advertised, store bought, brown bag crap and over time he developed a skin condition. The recommendation was to switch to a quality food and i purchased the Verus brand, Opticoat. His skin condition cleared up within a week, and his coat improved dramatically. I was very pleased. The product isn’t widely available here in Nova Scotia, but worth every penny.

  • Hi Dawn… Unfortunately, since I’ve never had the pleasure of sniffing this dog food (in person), I can’t help you with an explanation for its odor. However, dogs are the only ones that can properly judge the odor of any dog food. The food we’ve recently been feeding Bailey smells just awful. When I unzip the top of the bag, the odor is overwhelming. But he absolutely loves it.

    Many dog food manufacturers intentionally spray the surface of the kibbles with flavorings produced (in some cases) from slurries left over from meat processing. They create these coatings to enhance the palatability (sensory appeal) of their products. Hope this helps.

  • Dawn

    Personally, I have dealt with a dog that had a very abrupt decline in renal health. Having a lower protein amount is favored by the vet oncologist that I took my one lab to. But, having four dogs, I also am searching for another food which is why I came to this site. In this regard, I think taking a couple different high-rated foods to your vet will help you decide which is best for each dog. Easier said then done as I have not yet found another food I am ready to try. Not all 4 of my pups can always eat the same thing. I know it is a simple thought, but so many people want the ease of feeding one food to all dogs. My oldest lab had severe allergies after an ill-advised rabies booster and could not have anyting containing chicken. The other dog had renal problems, so Verus was good, whereas our younger dog needed a food higher in protein. Taking the ratings provided and then planning the feedings based on the differences seems to be the best way to go. I wish Canidae never changed its formula – it did seem to coincide with changing manufacturing plants. I understand not blaming a company for one recall, but when so many companies were withholding information, how can a parent not look at them with skepticism in the future? Issues were known MONTHS before some of these companies and plants went public with their information. I agree that not all food must be made in the US, but I also will personally never trust the health of my family, canine or human, to any company based in China. How does melamine keep wandering into our food???? To ignore the past is welcoming the same results in the future. I wish the government would hold these companies to a higher standard with strict financial and legal penalties. If anyone has any suggestions for the food odor, I would appreciate it. It has not always been there and it is not in every bag, so it has be a bit nervous about staying with Verus. If it is definitely just the fish being used, if anyone knows of something that will counteract it, I would appreciate it, I miss the doggy kisses!

  • Dawn

    I used to feed my 2 Chocolate Labs, my Norwegian Elkhound, my Irish Setter (who passed away suddenly and painfully in August – horrible rash on face ulcerating the skin and black drainage from his nose) and Rhodesian Ridgeback Canidae, but my Lab refused to eat it after they changed formulas. My friend has used Verus for a decade and we switched a couple years ago. We noticed about 6 months ago that some of the food, not just the fish, smelled pungent and caused horrible doggy breath. We were assured by the owner of Verus who got on the phone with us that it was due to the fish content and formula of the food, that there was nothing wrong with the food. I was just wondering if anyone has been able to locate the exact cause of this odor and whether it is affecting the oral health of the dogs. My one lab just had a full dental exam and his breath was perfect until he ate his next meal. The chicken seems to have the least odor out of the fish, lamb, or chicken.

  • Hi Kristy… I haven’t yet reviewed the canned version of Verus. But it’s currently on my list awaiting future review. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Kristy


    I was wondering what rating you would give Verus for their canned dog foods. I am using Taste of the Wild high protein dry food for my 2 adorable Mini Aussies and I am topping it with Verus canned chicken and rice or lamb and rice. They love it and it seems to be regulating their digestive system. I did not see a review for Verus’ Canned Dog Foods and was wondering if you could add one.


  • Mike P

    Anne , I read the post and become familiar with the true people here that want to contribute and help others . So many honest posters .Since this is such an important web site for consumers , reps will infiltrate this fine site . Some are from great places like the raw people and some will be from the crap places . Don’t get discouraged by the money maker frauds that push the crap products . The proof is in the pudding ( or dog food reviews ) that reveal the posers from the posters. The power is from the real people who visit this site and not the ones trying to make a buck on dooping the public on junk foods . They will always be here …

  • Anne

    There’s something that bothers me about a sales rep for Verus and Annamaet coming on here to put other products down. Can’t you be grown up and professional about this?

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  • Ruta

    Hello, I agree with Selena. Verus Pet Food is definately 5 star!!!! My English Bulldog love it!!!! Verus Advanced Opticoat has very high omega 3 fatty acids for fantastic skin and coat.No chemical preservatives. No hormones. No antibiotics. No soy, corn, or wheat. No Menadione (synthetic k3). Has complex carbs to maintain energy. Stops obsessive itching. Relieves skin rashs. No worries with whether a dog will eat it… the menhaden fish is one of the most pungent smelling cold water fish out there. Which although it sucks for our noses, dogs love the taste of it. This food is extremely palatable. I give it an A++

  • Selena

    I tend to agree with Heather about the Diamond thing. On a positive note though, I lovvveee VeRUS. I think the protein is quite average for a dog food. Orijen’s extremely high protein may work for some, but I feel that too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing. It forces the kidneys to work too hard. Not to mention, the chicken that verus uses is from Mountainare, which is quite close to perdue. They are raised in barns and have no hormones or antibiotics added. The menhaden fish they use is naturally preserved, instead of using ethoxyquin. It is also has amazing omega 3 fatty acids to stimulate the immune system. I honestly don’t know much about the lamb as I have never been interested in feeding it but I do know that it sourced from New Zealand, which still isn’t China and that is great news for me. The grains they use in their formulas are complex carbs so the energy of the dog can still be retained. They also don’t add any extra ingredients for the narrow minded consumer who feels their dog should eat like they do. Some other companies add fruits to their ingredient panel, which as we all know has little to no nutritional value once cooked. VeRUS has never had a recall. Their food is definately 5 star to me! 🙂

  • sharonb

    My 6yo bull terrier was raised on Calif. Nat., and did very well until they changed formula. Thru trial and error with many different brands, we found she was very allergic to gluten. Since she also has weakened kidneys, probably due to the high protein diet she had been on, we finally found VeRus, for weight mgt., total protein 17%. Kidney functions have improved, and is doing very well.

  • S

    Oh you must mean the incident where the supplier made a scheduling error and accidentally added supplements into the food that should not be there. Hmmm? What exactly does a company have to do to get bad marks? Selling many bags of food does not make a quality product; examples would be Iams, Purina, and Ol’Roy. Blue would not even disclose the location of its plant until recently…

  • Jonathan

    S, the “illness” you are referring to must have to do with the hand-full of dogs that have a vitamin D sensitivity that got sick. It is unfortunate that it happened, and Blue voluntarily recalled thousands of dollars worth of product to ensure that no other dogs that happen to be sensitive to vit. D would be harmed by it.

    So, it is also unfortunate that you judge Blue so hard on this one mistake that they made right on even though the vitamin level was still within AAFCO’s acceptable range.

    I sell tons of this food every month to many happy customers with happy, healthy dogs. I trust Blue, and I believe they have dog’s and cat’s best interest in mind.

  • S

    The Great Dane Lady typically recommends foods that she tests or develops; she no longer recommends Eagle Pac (which she helped develop) and recommends Precise now (she again helped with the testing), thus I feel her reviews are skewed. The protein levels in the food that she uses reflect my comments with protein no more than 25% and fat 15%. Precise also contains yeast which is a suspect ingredient for Danes because of the link to bloat. It also contains “Natural Flavor” which could be anything.
    If you read the recommended foods section of the Great Dane Lady’s website, you would also find that Blue, a five star food on your site, is causing illnesses. Please do not take my comment against your reviews personally; I feel that dialog is what will help us all make the best decisions for our friends. It is a tough decision choosing food, I would obviously prefer to prepare the meals myself, but am unable to do so. I do not want to regret my choice. I am on my last bags of Innova and California Natural now…and am returning all unopened bags.

  • Hi S… Not everyone would agree with your assessment of feeding giant breed dogs a low protein diet. The following is taken directly from an article published on the Great Dane Lady website and written by Dr. Albert S. Townshend, Staff Veterinarian at Eagle Pet Products:

    “Protein levels in diets for large and giant breed dogs were once thought to play a major role in the incidence of developmental bone diseases in young dogs. The seminar presented sufficient data to completely refute this false hypothesis. High protein levels in the diet were found to have no effect on the incidence of disease. Low protein levels were found to play a major role in inhibiting the maximum developmental potential of individual dogs.

    “The energy (calories) in a particular diet was found to play a major role in the incidence of bone disease in young growing large and giant breed puppies. Also the amount of food fed and the method of feeding were found to have an impact on the incidence of problems. Pups fed free choice or ad lib had a far greater incidence of disease. Pups fed high calorie diets in excess were also at risk. Increasing calories consumed, increased the rate of growth, which increases the stress on the bones and encourages developmental bone disease to occur.”

    This is in keeping with our philosophy of what makes a superior dog food. You can learn more on our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Dog Food Protein”.

  • S

    I am also left with the task of replacing California Natural for my Great Danes. I am considering Versus Advanced Opticoat and am concerned by your rating system. It seems a food is rated poorly simply because it has a low protein content. Danes, even adult need a low protein level, not more then 25%, so your rating system that is based just on protein is not helpful. I am also looking at Solid Gold but am concerned that they use ocean fish instead of farmed. I am in a panic find the perfect food soon for my girls.

  • Hi Heather… Our reviews are based upon the only reliable information we feel we can trust… US government regulated pet food labels. To see why we intentionally ignore everything else (especially the source of the ingredients), please be sure to see our article, “The Problem with Dog Food Reviews“.

    We shamelessly favor a product’s label over a manufacturer’s unprovable claims of the source of their ingredients.

    Regarding your statement about recalls…

    So far, I’ve never been able to find a single scientific study proving the predictive ability of any (human or pet) food recall event to reliably forecast another. Most recall events appear to be completely random (and unpredictable).

    Diamond Pet had a single and unfortunate recall event back in 2005 (involving aflatoxin). The reason so many dogs were affected was not because the company had repeated this same error (over and over again as you suggest) but because the company made so many different brands.

    Contrary to all the rumors and gossip, there has never been a single recall involving Diamond since then. Could they have another recall? Of course. But if you eliminate their products from your shopping list based solely upon that single event, you’d be avoiding some of the best quality (and best values) on the pet food market.

    Just because a food is manufactured in the USA does not automatically (without further information) make it superior. Some of the highest manufacturing standards including the highest quality EU (European Union) certification you mention are associated with facilities located outside our own borders.

    Our reviews aren’t perfect. And we freely admit that. That’s why we’ve provided this website and its reports in the form of a blog. A blog allows everyone (including you) to share their own experiences, information and opinions.

    Even if they disagree with ours.

    Regarding our rating of this product…

    Please re-read our review of VerUS. Then, notice the implied meat content (as evidenced by the ingredient list and the Guaranteed Analysis reported by the manufacturer itself) is at the lower end of the range of our database. This information suggests our review is a fair depiction of this product line.

    By the way, we clearly state in our review that this product does contain chelated minerals.

  • Heather

    I myself am quite confused as you rated Verus as a 3 star which is a USA manufactured and resourced food that is made in an EU certified plant. Some of your five star foods are made in Diamond which all should know has killed more dogs that any other manufacuterer of dog food in USA. Why would a food that is processed in a non dependable plant be a five star food with no chelation, as you state is important and chinese ingredients. I do have to say that you have chosen Annamaet GF which is a terrific USA made food.

  • Heather

    You are incorrect about the chelation of minerals. All of Verus’s mineral are chelated, as a matter of fact they are of the highest chelation possible.

  • We have been feeding Verus to our adult German Shepherds for 3 years now. I can honestly say it has been an excellent food for them. They maintain weight, coat, and energy effortlessly. I also wean my litters on Verus puppy with similar results. A very nice food for a very nice price.

  • Hi Bob… As you’d expect, every dog food varies in its design (sometimes a lot and others only subtly). What’s more, each dog responds to a particular food (or ingredient) in its own unique way. So, it would be impossible for me (or anyone) to compare two or more dog foods and know which one would be the better choice for your dog.

    Since VeRUS and Pro Pac have both been awarded favorable ratings, I don’t see how you could go wrong with either one. Unfortunately, selecting the right dog food still involves at least some trial and error. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Bob

    In doing my own research and reading your reviews I’ve come down to either Verus or Pro Pac as my choices to feed my dog (also taking price into consideration). Would you have a comment on which you think is better and whether there’s much in them. I like that Verus doesn’t use corn but Pro Pac does have higher protein. Really would appreciate your help Mike!

  • Hi David… The amount and size of your dogs stools are directly related to the food you’re feeding. This can include fiber content, moisture content, etc. In most cases, if the stools are formed, this is certainly no cause for concern.

  • David

    I am feeding my dog VeRus Canine Life Advantage and and my dog poops at least 4 to 5 times a day, can the food have something to do with her pooping?

  • Hi Kim… Both California Natural and VerUS are very good dog foods. However, VerUS appears to contain notably less meat than California Natural. We don’t rate any foods on who the owner is but rather just the only thing we feel we can trust. Information provided on the products government-regulated pet food labels. VerUS is still a one of our recommended dog foods. Hope this helps.

  • kim

    I’m totally confused! Shopping for a replacement for my dog’s Calif. Natural (boo P&G!)…several stores in my area recommend the Verus, yet you only give it 3 stars— how does it compare with CF? Surely it’s better than some of your other 3 star foods? I was going to go with Canidae, but the many bad reviews of sick dogs and the all encompassing “ocean fish” kind of scare me. Help!