Virbac Dog Food Review
I spent a few weeks in France visiting vets, and was a little surprised to find Virbac dog food sold more commonly than Royal Canin (a Mars brand marketed as hailing from France).
Let’s find out.
REVIEW: Virbac Dog Food (Veterinary Endorsed)
It’s really surprising to see meat as the first and main ingredient in a vet endorsed dry kibble for our pet carnivores. Usually it’s some sort of grain, and more grain, and as little meat as the manufacturer can get away with.
With Virbac the first ingredient is meat, and with the Adult Medium & Large Breed formula it’s dehydrated pork and poultry proteins. That’s far better for your dog’s health than a laundry list of grains which we know are harder for our dogs to digest.
Protein of 34% is really good for a kibble, which really shows the emphasis Virbac has put on real animal proteins. Vets can be more proud of endorsing this food compared to other brands.
The second ingredient, which we can also consider a main ingredient, is rice. I laughed at the (min. 4%) which you’ll see in the ingredients list after rice. Stating a minimum like that doesn’t mean there’s a mere 4% rice, as it’s very likely there’s a lot more rice than that.
Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it!
Ingredients on a pet food label must be listed in order of significant, highest percentage first. The third ingredient is animal fats, and fat percentage is listed in 17%. Surely that means the percentage of rice has to be more than 17%, even if they’ve stated 4%!
It’s misleading, isn’t it? It shouldn’t be allowed either, but technically they’re not lying.
Anyhow, when it comes to grains rice is one of the more digestible options. It’s worth keeping in mind rice (white rice in this case) is used in dog foods because it’s a very cheap ingredient, not because it’s optimal for your dog.
I estimate carbohydrates to be around 32% (which is a more realistic assumption of how much rice is in the food). That’s a lot more than “4%”, but the good news is that’s actually pretty good for a dry dog food.
We could easily wrap up the Virbac dog food review there and say it’s surprisingly good, and surprisingly much better in composition to other vet endorsed brands packed with grains for carnivorous pets (if you’re thinking of correcting me and saying dogs are omnivores, those brands are also full of grains for obligate carnivore cats).
To skirt over the smaller percentage ingredients we have a little more pork and poultry proteins – hydrolysed this time for better digestibility, and some potato starch (also listed as min. 4% which may be more accurate in this case).
Lignocellulose is used in dog food to add fiber, and also makes the kibble a bit more chewy. Some say that may benefit your dog’s teeth, but I wouldn’t count on it – gnawing on raw meaty bones will likely have much more benefit in warding off dental disease.
The remaining ingredients are included to add fiber, vitamins, and minerals required by your dog, and required by nutritional standards set out by AAFCO.
Overall Virbac comes across as a good dog food. Other positive points are it doesn’t contain ingredients which commonly cause digestive issues in dogs – wheat, corn, soy, gluten – and should suit many itchy scratchy dogs who react to dairy, eggs, or protein from lamb or beef.
If your dog reacts to chicken then you could choose the Virbac Hypoallergenic dog food (hypoallergy), but being formulated mostly from tapioca combined with fish protein isn’t ideal. Maybe as a last resort if you have a dog who reacts to almost everything?
If your vet gives you a choice of Hill’s Prescription Diet or Virbac, and you feel you absolutely must trust your vet’s recommendation, then I’d opt for Virbac.
Where to buy
In the US Virbac products are available on Amazon.
Ingredients of Virbac dog food (Adult Medium & Large Breeds):
Dehydrated pork and poultry proteins, Rice (min. 4%), Animal fats, Peas, Hydrolysed pork and poultry proteins, Potato starch (min. 4%), Lignocellulose, Faba bean hulls, Linseed, Minerals, Beet pulp, Psyllium fibre (Plantago (L.) spp.), Fructo-oligosaccharides, Brewers yeast (source of betaglucan), Hydrolysed crustacean (source of chitosan), Lactobacillus acidophilus, Chondroitin sulphate.
Guaranteed analysis of Virbac dog food (Adult Medium & Large Breeds):
When it comes to veterinarian endorsed dry foods for carnivorous pets we find they're surprisingly made from a range of grains and little meat. It's nice to see Virbac dog foods are different, with a much better focus on digestible meat proteins and animal fats which should really benefit your dog.
- Excellent protein and fat percentages, which means lower unnecessary carbohydrates.
- Protein from meat, not grains.
- Very good for a vet endorsed dry dog food.