Virchew: Recommendations to Customers (This is important.)
After two years of results and feedback (plus, our experience with our veterinary partnerships) we’re sharing this very important, 'Recommendations' blog with you for the benefit of your dog's successful transition to Virchew's LOVE Bowl - meals and treats.
First and foremost: Our products and services are not a replacement for the expert care and advice provided by your veterinarian. Any dietary or healthcare changes should be made under their guidance, especially in the case of existing underlying health conditions.
We'll be adding this important information to our ever-growing FAQ section, however, we wanted to be very, very clear here in a special blog post with regards to key factors that could assist your dog's happy transition to Virchew.
Although rarely, we have heard back from new customers that have not followed these recommendations when first transitioning to Virchew. Their experience was not as positive as it could have been. This has prompted us to be even more diligent in sharing these recommendations over and over again through this blog.
Let's Discuss These Topics:
Extra Foods & Treats
Transitioning to Virchew for New Customers and Potential Customers
Feeding Virchew 50% of Diet
Veterinarian Prescribed Drugs
Based on veterinary recommendations, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog's daily intake. And did you know that up to 50% of our furry best friends are considered obese or overweight? We have come to realize that a few - ok, most! - of our customers tend to add other foods such as extra vegetables (healthy idea, but see below) or too many store-bought treats to their dog’s diet. I get it. It has been a BIG, heated topic in our household and business. I have discovered that my desire to feed more veggies and treats was not doing any good for my Shanti (my first Border Collie) and now, Seva. Emotionally, however, it was really good (or I thought) for me.
Over the years as we have taken a super deep dive into canine nutrition we discovered that in fact, dogs do not need extra foods or treats (not surprising!). However, we humans have this ‘need to feed’ and don't just do it with our dogs. We all remember how our parents used sweets and treats to placate us and, in turn, we do it with our children, too.
What we're recommending here is not an easy conversation. 'DOG' knows, Gord, my partner in life and business, has had a heck-of-a-time reprogramming my 'treating’ behaviors when it comes to this topic. However, I’m committed to sharing the facts with respect, and then from there, obviously, it’s your choice to consider these facts or not - it’s your pooch! Of course, it's okay every once in a while to give a fun treat (birthday pupcakes, anyone?).
There is a solution: Food disguised as treats!
Some of you have received them for your dogs and some of you even turned into doggy treat bakers! During our feeding trials with partner veterinarians, we innovated a treat that was conducive to the Virchew diet. Gord, a past food production specialist, suggested that we try baking the food into treats. Well, that worked - to say the least - dogs flip over the baked Virchew.
We are now making small batches of these and we've called them, the LOVE Cookies or LOVE Toppers. Once we move to our next level of production we'll be offering these cookies and Cheezy Chews consistently. These treats match the dog’s daily diet or are made with ingredients that do not compromise the dog’s weight, potential food sensitivity issue or digestion when fed in daily recommended amounts.
So now, my ‘need to feed’ is satisfied by using Virchew baked food/treats for Seva and she LOVES them! And every once in a while I give her small amount of something different - I know it sounds crazy, but she goes crazy for arugula or frozen kale!
New Customers: Transition is KEY to Healthy Tummies, Ideal Weight and Happy Wags
What to expect:
We will send you a detailed 10 day transition email once you receive your first order of Virchew. During the first 1 - 3 weeks of transitioning from one diet to another, it’s possible that your dog will experience noticeable changes such as:
Stool consistency: If your dog's stool is not normal (too loose) within a week to 10-days after eating 100% Virchew, let us know and we'll make recommendations from our feeding charts and resources. Although, the feedback so far has been excellent and many dogs are having 'easier' poops. This is why we highly recommend only using Virchew as we state below.
Possible weight gain or weight loss: Since Virchew is a new type of plant-based diet for dogs we strongly recommend that you follow the feeding amounts as recommended on this feeding chart:
Most customer dogs are maintaining their perfect weight on our recommended amounts. However, based on a few customer dog results we are learning it truly depends on the dog, their activity level, their age and also your treating habits ;) . This is why we highly recommend you weigh your dog at the beginning of the transition period and every week for at least a month. Thereafter, we recommend a weigh-in once to twice a month. It is simple to adjust the food by 10% - 15% up or down and weigh weekly.
NOTE: If you live in the Greater Vancouver area, we provide a mobile weigh-in service. Therefore, you can make an appointment here at Virchew HQ to use our veterinary-style weigh scale. Please let us know if you want your pooch weighed during the next delivery. Get in touch for our recommendations if your dog experiences weight gain or weight loss.
Increased stool volume: Due to increased, plant-based fiber intake, this is normal. However, they will not necessarily go more frequently. In fact, we’ve had several customers that have reported the opposite. Less frequent and firm, sometimes larger, good poops.
May drink less water: Keep fresh water available at all times. It's more likely your dog will drink less water due to getting a good amount of water with their Virchew diet.
We Recommend Virchew Only or Choose Another Food
We cannot possibly state this strongly enough. Once you’ve completed the transition we highly recommend that you only feed your pooch, Virchew. Combining it with a meat-based diet such as kibble, raw diet or other home-cooked foods will cause a different result.
After several years of experience and research, Virchew has been developed in consultation with a team of Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionists and contains nutrient-dense, high-quality plant-based protein, whole fats, and healthy carbohydrates. If you mix other foods, or supplements, or too many treats, it could possibly skew the positive results that Virchew may bring or cause digestive upset, etc.
If you do choose to feed Virchew only part-time, we strongly recommend choosing ONE food and diet. If you do not choose Virchew, we recommend you choose a diet that has been properly balanced with supplementation, approved by a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist and it is a reputable brand.
If you still want to feed Virchew for 50% of your dog's diet, this is not an easy task to ensure a complete and balanced diet, therefore we highly recommend you have your veterinarian go through each diet to ensure your dog is getting the proper amount of nutrients.
Extra Supplementation, Fiber, Fats and Prescribed Drugs
1. Supplementation: Further to the above and why we recommend not to add extra supplementation. Virchew has been developed in consultation with a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist and has been carefully balanced (along with the high-quality plant-based ingredients) with more than adequate amounts of our 100% vegan supplement. The supplement blend includes important vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (including high amounts of taurine and methionine). Therefore, there is no further need for any additional supplementation. Again, this could cause an imbalance in your dog's digestion, or cause any number of possible issues.
2. Fiber: We have worked diligently to ensure Virchew provides an adequate fiber level for both health and convenience. If you add extra vegetables and other high fiber foods as treats - such as pumpkin, carrots, bananas, apples and even too many blueberries - this could cause an imbalance and possible loose stools or other unwanted issues.
Too much fiber could cause less absorption of vital nutrients. Also, for dogs that have diabetes, an adequate amount helps to slow the uptake of sugar by the body and keeps blood glucose levels balanced. Too much, however, could have the opposite effect.
3. Fat: In some cases, feeding your dog extra, fatty treats (peanut butter, coconut oil, high-fat commercial treats) could cause tummy upset and vomiting while transitioning to Virchew (or any new diet). It's important to understand that our meals have been developed with a generous amount of healthy, plant-based fats (such as hemp and golden algae). Most pooches thrive without any digestive upset. However, some dogs are more sensitive to higher fat or may have pancreatitis. Of course, if your dog has pancreatitis, we strongly recommend that you have your veterinarian review our nutritional analysis before choosing Virchew.
In most cases dogs are thriving on the healthy fat and in fact, we feel it could be the beneficial reason behind why many customer dogs are getting the extraordinary skin, digestion and senior-related results.
If your pooch continues to have any issue with the regular fat diet, please let us know and we'll deliver a box of lower fat LOVE Bowls for your dog to try. This has eliminated any issues with infrequent vomiting for the small amount of dogs that seem to be sensitive.
4. Drugs and medicine: If your dog is on medication, it's possible that if (as noted above) you feed too many other foods, treats, or supplements, your dog could have less than optimum results. We recommend that you always discuss any concerns with your veterinarian, first.
VERY IMPORTANT: If your dogs have a specific chronic or concerning health issue, we strongly recommend that you consult with your veterinarian before making a diet change. We will happily provide our nutritional information to your veterinarian.
Fetch information about puppy questions on our FAQs page. Depending on your puppy's age, Virchew may be an option. However, please consult your veterinarian, first.
To learn more about Virchew and our ingredients check out our FAQ on our website page - www.virchew.com/faqs