Frequently Asked Questions
Below FAQ are some common concerns of our clients before purchasing the our products, if you have other questions,
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Our kibble brings essential nutrients in a healthy, plant-based package. It’s packed full of everything dogs need to thrive, but leaves behind the nasties from animal products in pet foods. We’ve got all the protein and amino acids, but without the carcinogens like heterocyclic amines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, no hormones, no antibiotic-resistant bacteria and no cholesterol. Our treats are designed with purpose in mind – they aren’t just hard tasteless biscuits in a bag. We have therapeutic chews specific for target applications, like calming chews for rambunctious puppies are small and tasty rewards that simultaneously help to gently and naturally focus and simmer down, or joint chews for larger, older or any dogs who need some mobility support.
When we talk about nourishing health and wellbeing, we use the word nutrition. The root of nutrition is nutrient, and that is what our focus is on – nutrients, not ingredients. Otherwise, we would use a word like ingretion… which doesn’t exist, because nutrients matter most! Just like in our own diets, on any given day we could get, for example, our daily protein allocation from whole foods like nuts, seeds, pulses, dark leafy vegetables and/or whole grains, or we could get it from processed protein concentrates (like what you might add to your smoothie before going to the gym), tofu, or a burger. If we take in as much of the ‘good’ nutrients as we can and try to avoid ‘bad’ substances or anti-nutritional factors, then we generally feel pretty good and keep ourselves on a good nutritional plain. The same holds true for dogs. We can, and do, provide all of the essential nutrients, as well as beneficial but non-essential nutrients, and avoid harmful substances with a diet that doesn’t include any animal products.
Short answer: because we don’t just care about pets, we also care about the people caring for pets.
Long answer: gluten is a name for a protein found in some grains, including, but not limited to, wheat. As such, it can be a beneficial component of the diet for many humans and dogs – as a protein it contributes to overall protein status, it provides essential amino acids, and in the food it contributes to structural binding properties, such as maintaining the lofty structure of risen bread. Despite the potential benefits gluten can bring to a diet, there are a number of people, up to 1 in 100 (according to the Celiac Disease Foundation) who have an autoimmune disorder for whom consumption of gluten can lead to health complications. While most of us don’t regularly eat out dogs’ food, and wouldn’t think twice about the gluten content of their diet, for people living with Celiac Disease even the residue of gluten from handling or meal preparation surfaces could cause clinical signs or, dangerously, could lead to chronic low-grade undetected inflammation that can lead to serious long term health implications. Vivus is committed to providing diets and treats that every can share with their pets, including products free from gluten containing ingredients, and, in many cases, products that are entirely gluten-free*.
Yes, kibble can be a healthy and efficient way to provide essential nutrients to our canine companions. The process of turning whole, raw ingredients into kibble is called extrusion - it’s akin to a combination of pressure cooking and baking, and is a very rapid process. Whole ingredients are combined and quickly pass through the extruder to pop out the other side as cooked kibbles. Because Vivus kibble is made from whole ingredients, the only processing they undergo before being fed to your dogs is this extrusion procedure. In this way, all of the nutrition contained in those ingredients is maintained and provided straight to your dog’s bowl. Because the kibble is cooked, it doesn’t require cold-chain storage, reducing the environmental impact of pet food while still providing all the nutrients your dog needs to thrive. It’s akin to cooking whole meals for your dog every single day, but packaged up and easy to serve!
Are Vivus products complete and balanced? Yes, Vivus kibble provides a balance of all the essential nutrients a growing puppy or adult dog needs in every bite, in accordance with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommendations (2022)
No, most Vivus products contain whole ancient grains because they are rich in complementary amino acids, forming a complete protein when combined with the other protein sources, like nuts and yeast, in the diet. The word “grain” typically refers to the seeds of specific plants, and it has long been recognized that nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein, fats and energy. Despite what some very successful marketing has many people convince of, allergens to grains are very uncommon in dogs. Indeed, the most common canine dietary allergens are to animal-derived proteins from chickens and cattle (including both their flesh and milk), not seeds or other plant-based ingredients.
From an essential nutrient perspective, Vivus is made to exceed the same standard as any complete and balanced meat-based diet out there. We formulate diets to be nutritionally complete and balanced, meaning they meet recommended nutrient profiles. There are no essential ingredients, only essential nutrients. Vivus kibble contains more protein than growing puppies or adult dogs require for healthy development and adult maintenance. Our food doesn’t contain extraordinarily high levels of protein like some very meat-rich diets, because those greatly exceed the recommended levels for dogs and may even exceed what dogs can effectively digest, absorb and utilise. While we don’t know all the long-term negative impacts of feeding excessively high levels of protein to dogs, we do know that these are unsustainable and taxing on not only the dog’s body, but also the world’s resources! For that reason Vivus contains an appropriate amount of protein, balanced with healthy fats and energy-rich carbohydrates.
Kibble requires a source of carbohydrates (yes, even grain-free kibble contains carbohydrates!) to maintain it’s shape and texture, so Vivus contains a comparable quantity of carbohydrates to other kibbles, both meat-based and plant-based. One thing that sets our carbohydrates apart, however, is that ours are derived from whole ancient grains, which bring along a host of additional healthy nutrients and phytochemicals! Dogs can indeed digest and utilise these carbohydrates efficiently, making them a valuable source of energy for growing puppies and adult dogs alike.
Veterinary nutritionists recommend that dogs consume no more than 10% of their daily energy intake from treats and snacks, in order to avoid imbalancing the diet. That means, every individual will have a different number of treats they could eat in a day, based on their bodyweight. Our “Bites” line of house-made soft treats are small and low-energy so you can treat your dog to more of them, while being tasty and high-reward for those high-drive pups!
Although domestic dogs are omnivores and evolved from ancestors who ate a wide variety of foods, depending on what was available in their environment, we recommend that their diet be changed gradually. This is to account for the most sensitive dogs who may experience upsets when their food is changed, especially dogs who have been eating a consistent diet for a long period of time with little variation. As such, we recommend gradually replacing a proportion of their old food with Vivus kibble. Start small, about a quarter or less, and gradually phase out the old food until your dog is enjoying exclusively the Vivus kibble. Or keep it a mixture at whatever proportion you and your dog wish!
Absolutely. Vivus provides complete and balanced diet nutrition with every bite, and is compatible with any other complete and balanced diet. If unbalanced (“people” foods or diets intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only) foods are added, it is recommended that they contribute no more than 10% of your dog’s intake per day, to avoid imbalancing the diet.