What's Virtue, and how is Virtue different?
I'm Jen Williams, the founder of Virtue Pet Foods. Virtue was born out of necessity...the necessity to find not just a SAFE, but a CONSISTENTLY SAFE dog food for my own dogs and the pups I've brought into this world. I believe they are my responsibility for life, and their optimal health from conception to death of natural causes at a ripe old age is my top priority.
As an extremely conscientious breeder (some might substitute "paranoid control-freak"), I was finding it more and more difficult to procure a food that was calorically sufficient for my high drive adults, sourced from clean ingredients from top tier suppliers, and *guaranteed* to maintain optimal mineral levels for my rapidly growing pups and those in their new homes already.
Sure, there are foods out there that met my requirements. The problem was, they couldn't/wouldn't guarantee that the formulas wouldn't change in a manner that would render them unsafe for large breed puppies. Why? Well, to make a long story really short, it is far more expensive to use a top quality meat meal with very low ash than it is to add several whole meats (low protein, high moisture) or a lower quality meat meal with high ash/bone content. Controlled ash levels are key in creating an appropriate food for large breed puppies. The protein myth has been debunked for many years, and now the research shows that dietary calcium amounts play a critical role in orthopedic development.
Many foods started out with the best of intentions, but quickly seemed to make ingredient changes that 1) reduced calories and 2) reduced quality of the protein source, altering the delicate mineral balance that is essential in correctly growing large and giant breed puppies, and raising profits. The problem is that when one reduces calories, the amount consumed rises in order to maintain the same energy intake as before. If the amount consumed rises, then the total mineral intake can rise to a level no longer appropriate for growing large breed puppies.
The biggest problem, by far, that I've found in my 20 year quest for the perfect food is non-disclosure on so many levels. Pet food companies are not required to tell what the maximum levels are, only minimum. I have seen labels that should be safe, yet when I called the company I was told they would not guarantee a maximum, and a test batch had shown it over 2.1% calcium, despite a minimum showing 1/2% ca, .9% phos, and a perfect ca:phos ratio. Misleading, huh? This is what happens when manufacturers procure their ingredients from different sources on a regular basis; you have a lack of consistency, and a lack of consistency can be a minor hassle or a big problem, depending on the age and size of the dog you're feeding. Another issue leading to confusion is that companies are allowed to use any remaining bags or labels even after they change formulations. This is why people will order the same food and have different results and not understand why the dog has diarrhea now or won't eat it's food it used to love, one bag later. It's not illegal, but it does beg the question of ethics and honesty.
So, in closing, Virtue seeks to remedy these common and frustrating concerns for the owners and breeders and eliminate the need for a Ph.D when choosing a dog food, particularly if you are feeding multiple dogs or puppies on a regular basis.
HOW VIRTUE VOWS TO BE DIFFERENT:
Virtue will DISCLOSE any and all changes BEFORE they occur
Virtue will be HONEST (not just when it suits us financially!)
Virtue will act in an ETHICAL MANNER when sourcing ingredients
Virtue will GUARANTEE MAXIMUMS of pertinent minerals
Virtue will NEVER reformulate a LBP-appropriate recipe in a way that it would become unsafe for LBPs
Virtue will ALWAYS DISCLOSE age/size suitability clearly- no guesswork needed to determine suitability for LBPs
Virtue will NEVER CHOOSE INCREASING PROFIT MARGINS OVER THE SAFETY OF OUR PETS
Virtue will SUPPORT WORTHY ANIMAL CAUSES with each purchase; "Buy Virtue, Do Good"
Virtue will SUPPORT ethical rescues with bulk discounts and sponsorship opportunities
Virtue will SUPPORT ethical breeders with bulk discounts and special offers for puppies headed home
Virtue will EDUCATE and deal in facts, not fads, gimmicks, brand-bashing, or fear-mongering for financial gain
I sincerely hope you will give Virtue the opportunity to earn your trust.
Founder, Virtue Pet Foods