VeRUS Dog Food receives the Advisor’s second-highest rating of 4 stars.
The VeRUS product line includes the 8 dry dog foods listed below.
Each recipe includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage: Growth, Maintenance, All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.
- VeRUS Life Advantage [A]
- VeRUS Puppy Advantage [A]
- VeRUS Adult Maintenance (3.5 stars) [M]
- VeRUS Advanced Opticoat (3.5 stars) [M]
- VeRUS Weight Management (1.5 stars) [M]
- VeRUS Life Virtue Grain Free (3.5 stars) [A]
- VeRUS Cold Water Fish Grain Free (3.5 stars) [A]
- VeRUS Large Breed Puppy Grain Free (3.5 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
Ingredients: Lamb meal, ground oat groats, ground brown rice, rice bran, ground grain sorghum, menhaden fish meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, flaxseed, dehydrated alfalfa meal, dried kelp, natural flavors, Yucca schidigera extract, dried Pediococcus acidilactici fermentation product, salt, vitamin E supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), calcium carbonate, niacin supplement, biotin, thiamine mononitrate, l-carnitine, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, choline chloride, potassium chloride, zinc proteinate, betaine anhydrous, iron proteinate, selenium yeast, copper proteinate, manganese, proteinate, calcium iodate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%
Red denotes controversial item
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||24%||11%||57%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||23%||25%||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 oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats. With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value.
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 next 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 sixth ingredient is menhaden fish meal, another protein-rich meat concentrate.
This item is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.1
Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.
The next item on the ingredient list 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 beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.
Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.
We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.
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 line.
With 5 notable exceptions…
First, flaxseed is 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.
Next, although alfalfa meal is high in plant protein (about 18%) and fiber (25%), this hay-family item is more commonly associated with horse feeds.
In addition, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this food. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
Next, we find 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.
And lastly, 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.
VeRUS Dog Food Review
Based on its ingredients alone, VeRUS looks like an above-average kibble.
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%.
Which means this VeRUS product line contains…
Near-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to other kibbles.
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.
VeRUS lists both with-grain and grain-free dry dog foods that use a moderate amount of named meat meals as their dominant source of animal protein, thus earning the brand 4 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
The following list (if present) includes all dog food recalls since 2009 directly related to VeRUS. If there are no recalls listed in this section, we have not yet reported any events.
A Final Word
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Important FDA Alert
The FDA is investigating a potential link between diet and heart disease in dogs. Click here for details.
Notes and Updates
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩
10/21/2019 Last Update