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Archive for the ‘Dog food’ Category

Why are Burns Pet Foods lower in protein?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Pet health questionsThis is one of the most popular questions asked of us through our website.

“Burns Pet Health products are lower in protein, can you explain why when other pet food products are much higher?”

The answer is that protein is used as a source of amino acids. Once the amino acid requirements are met, pets do not derive any known benefit from increased protein levels.

Studies in people suggest that protein restriction slows the progression of kidney disease. Note that foods high in protein are also high in phosphorous which has been shown to accelerate the progression of kidney disease.

As to why other pet foods use high protein, you will really need to ask them. We’ve seen a lot of hype about ‘dogs in the wild’ but we don’t feed wild dogs, only our pets.

Take a look at some more ‘frequently asked questions‘ about our Burns products and read other faqs about pet health.

Natural Dog Food is Real Dog Food

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Food is natural. What a simple thought.

Nature is with us day and night and with some cultivation and care, she provides us with almost unlimited natural resources.

We and our beloved pet dogs are also part and parcel of the natural system of beings.
As such there are particular natural foods which are best suited to feeding, energising and sustaining all of us. Humans, dogs, cats and all.

In the west, in Europe and America we have become used to feeding our pets processed foods a lot of the time.

These foods are well packaged and marketed by large, experienced companies who know how to mass-produce and mass-market their products effectively.

The matter of health is not prioritised by large corporate entities. By definition these entities exist to make profits from customers buying their products.

It is us, the individual, and the individual pet owners and care givers who must make health a priority.

Health is a natural state of being.

Animal physiognomy is such that the body and immune system is working to maintain health all the time. It is up to us to understand what is healthy for our pets and to make sure we give them healthy, natural dog food and supplements as required to support their natural system. Dogs love exercise and communication too, so we shouldn’t neglect these either.

And of course healthy food needs to be tasty and palatable otherwise it wont be eaten. Or at least wont be enjoyed.

When we are giving our pets natural food we know that what they are eating and therefore can have a much deeper, clearer understanding when health issues arise as to what might be the cause of the problem.

Often a minor adjustment in diet can quickly alleviate a health issue before it becomes acute.

Keep fluid intake up.

Just as we know when to take water our pets are guided by their nature to drink when needed and sleep when needed. We should try to always keep a bowl of fresh water available for the dogs that they can access anytime. Common sense but not everyone realizes these things straight away.

At Burns Pet Health online shop we only use natural ingredients in our foods. We love our pets just like you do and it’s an important principle for us that health is number one.

Being healthy means an animal can enjoy life and can be a willing and happy companion to us and our family and friends. What more could we ask for?

Article first published on Land of Holistic Pets.

Dog health, a priority for 78 million U.S. dogs

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Health, as we know, is essential for living a happy and fulfilling life, whether as a human or as a dog.

With there being so many dogs in the United States, as dog owners we have a shared responsibility to our pets to make sure health is always a top priority.

Lots of dogs

The following statistics were compiled from the American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey.

  • There are approximately 78.2 million owned dogs in the United States
  • Thirty-nine percent of U.S. households own at least one dog
  • Most owners (60 percent) own one dog
  • Twenty-eight percent of owners own two dogs
  • Twelve percent of owners own three or more dogs
  • On average, owners have almost two dogs (1.69 percent)
  • The proportion of male to female dogs is even
  • Twenty-one percent of owned dogs were adopted from an animal shelter
  • On average, dog owners spent $248 on veterinary visits (vaccine, well visits) annually
  • Seventy-eight percent of owned dogs are spayed or neutered

Digestive problems in dogs‘ is the most popular health information page on our website (BurnsPetHealth.com). Also, when we are at pet health shows and conferences we meet many people who want to talk about their dog’s health and digestion. And that is the same the world over in our experience.

This experience confirms the common sense principle that responsible dog owners are concerned to find healthy dog food for their dogs. That usually means dog food made with natural ingredients, carefully balanced proportions, and free from chemical additives and preservatives.

Responsible dog owners want answers to their dog health questions. Dog health issues vary from breed to breed and there are of course issues affecting large dog breeds which don’t affect small breeds, and vice-verse. But there are also many health issues which are generic in principle and can be understood and managed by careful consideration on the part of the dog owner or carer.

Dog health issues are addressed and hopefully solved by careful observation of symptoms, diagnosis of condition and prescription of diet, supplement, rest and exercise to restore health.

It is up to us then, as dog owners who care about our pets to make sure that we are observant to seeing when our pet is not well and that we take appropriate action to help our dependent friends to stay well.

There are numerous dog health websites and dog health forums all created with the purpose of helping owners find the best dog health information and resources. Often there are testimonies from other owners who’ve suffered similar challenges to maintaining pet health.

And of course we have our Pet Health Questionnaire for you to use anytime to ask us for advice about your dog’s health.

Burns Dog Food

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

“Burns dog food was developed to promote pet health and enable our beloved pets to take part in a full and varied life.”
George Burns
- Founder of Burns Pet Health and creator of Burns Dog Food.

Different foods suit different animals

There are a huge variety of tastes amongst us humans as to what foods we like and what foods promote health. There is similar variety among our pets.

So part of the process of giving our pets a healthy diet is to understand what exactly is healthy for them.

It may be that in carrying out dog food analysis we find that there are one or two ingredients that are ideal and others which may or may not promote health.

As pet owners it is our responsibility to give our pets the right foods. They are harmless creatures who are easily led or misled and they rely on us completely.

It really doesn’t matter whether your dog is a pedigree animal or a cross-breed, health is still paramount for a happy and fulfilled life.

For years many of us have shopped in stores and pet supermarkets for our pet supplies, looking to buy the best dog food we can to promote wellness in our dogs.

We read dog food reviews and even ask the local pet shop owner their opinion.

After some time we find that actually we are seeking to find a natural, balanced dog food (or cat food for that matter). We may try different brands and combinations including homemade dog food.

There are various dog food ratings that we can consider in our pursuit of finding the ’solid gold’ best dog food that suits our pets.

While some dog food recipes are surprisingly simple others are more complex and scientific.

Keep to natural dog food

Burns Pet Health like to promote natural dog food as a basis for pet health.

Sometimes we see on pet health forums that pet owners are discussing the ‘best dog food brand’ or the ‘best puppy food’.

In reality, ‘what’s best’ often comes down to a combination of what the particular animal likes and also what the owner discerns as best for health.

At Burns we enable you to buy dog food direct from the manufacturer - our store is open all the time at burnspethealth.com/shop/.

It’s about trust and love.

(This article first published on BurnsPetHealth.com in 2011.)

Dogs Shedding

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

 Dogs Shedding Hair

 Dog shedding occurs in nearly all dogs and is a natural process of eliminating (shedding) dead hair. There are a few natural reasons for this – It is a bit like a human sweating,  to allow a new coat to come in and for seasonal changes in temperature. There is no such thing as a non-shedding dog,  excepting of course the hairless varieties. That said,  shedding varies greatly between the breeds because of dogs differences in genetics, environment and of course , the dog food it is being fed.

As a point of interest the difference between dog breeds and how dogs shed hair  rests with  the growth rate of the dogs hair (3 cycles: anagen, catagen and telogen),

Dog shedding is influenced by these three dog coat characteristics:

  • Different types of dog coats: hairless, presence of undercoat.
  • Different degrees of curl & wave in dog coats: wavy, wirehaired, and straight.
  • Different dog coat lengths: short, medium, and long.


 Dog shedding can be problem  for two major reasons for dog owners: allergies and the time it takes to clean up hair that has shed.

 “Very light shedders” are  breeds which  usually need to be clipped, stripped and/or cut with scissor’s.  Of course as mentioned earlier diet has also a major influence and those fed a very healthy natural dog food tend to shed very lightly except in the spring when dogs naturally shed all their hair so a new coat can grow. The phenomenon of seasonal shedding for some breeds occurs because the  dogs shed their winter coats in the spring and if you are the owner of one such breed, you will have to be prepared for large-scale shedding at these times of the year.

In addition to dog coat characteristics, many other factors influence dog shedding:

  • Sunlight and temperature: The length of day may influence growth  of a new coat on the dog  and shedding of the old coat. Outdoor dogs usually shed their thick undercoat in the spring to prepare for warmer weather. Many indoor living dogs experience increased continuous dog shedding and decreased annual dog shedding.
  • Health: deworm your dog regularly and treat skin infections properly to maintain healthy skin and coat and decrease shedding.
  • Allergies: allergic dogs ( flea and tick infestation) shed more although a compromised immune system goes hand in hand with dogs allergies.
  • Dog Nutrition: a high quality natural dog food should provide the conditions for  healthy skin and coat on your dog.
  • Cleanliness; brush your dog regularly and use adapted shampoo (not for humans !).
  • Hormones affect skin and coat health:  A healthy thyroid, adrenal glands etc are essential to a healthy dog coat
  • Pregnancy and lactation: deplete calcium, minerals and energy stores so that many dogs shed heavily after the pups are born and are being nursed.

Excessive dog  shedding, should trigger questions about : skin diseases (Staphylococcus infection, ringworm, dog allergies (flea, tick and lice)), pyoderma), Cushing’s disease and autoimmune diseases as pemphigus complex, pemphigus vegetans, pemphigus foliaceous, pemphigus erythematosis and Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome and of course the dogs diet - is it a premium dog food or a natural premium dog food.

What can you do to reduce shedding?

Grooming helps! Brushing your dog once a day will greatly reduce the unwanted hair all over your clothes, carpet and furniture, especially during shedding season. Feed a high quality dog food diet which should not require the use of supplements as a natural dog food will contain all essential nutrients for optimal skin and coat health (vitamins, minerals, amino acids and omega 6/3 fatty acids).


Skin and coat health can be helped with natural premium dog food  of a complete formulation containing all essential vitamins, minerals, amino-acids and fatty acids.

Non or Low Shedding Dog Breeds – Hypoallergenic Dogs

Airedale Terrier
American Hairless Terrier
Australian Terrier
Bedlington Terrier
Bichon Frise
Black Russian Terrier
Border Terrier
Boston Terrier
Bouvier des Flandres
Brussels Griffon
Cairn Terrier
Cesky Terrier
Chacy Ranior
Chinese Crested
Coton De Tulear
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Giant Schnauzer
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Hairless Khala
Irish Terrier
Irish Water Spaniel
Italian Greyhound
Kerry Blue Terrier
Lagotto Romagnolo
Lakeland Terrier
Lhasa Apso
Manchester Terrier
Miniature Schnauzer
Norfolk Terrier
Norwich Terrier
Peruvian Inca Orchid
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Poodle (all types)
Portuguese Water Dog
Scottish Terrier
Sealyham Terrier
Shih Tzu
Silky Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Spanish Water Dog
Standard Schnauzer
Tibetan Terrier
Welsh Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
Wire Haired Fox Terrier
Wire Haired Pointing Griffon
Yorkshire Terrier

Heavy Shedding Dog Breeds

Alaskan Malamute
Australian Shepherd
Belgian Sheepdog
English Toy Spaniel
German Shepherd
Great Pyrenees
Saint Bernard
Siberian Husky
Shetland Sheepdog

Burns Foods are safe and corn free.

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Burns Pet health Inc want to make it perfectly clear that Burns holistic and natural dog food products are in no way affected by the recent outbreak of Salmonella which resulted in a massive recall of a number of well known well brands.

The tainted food originated from a  South Carolina plant that made headlines years ago when it produced food contaminated by toxic mold that killed dozens of dogs, federal officials said Friday.

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least five people were hospitalized because of the dog food, which was made by Diamond Pet Foods at its plant in Gaston, S.C.,

People  were infected in Missouri and North Carolina, Ohio, Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the CDC said.

People can get salmonella by handling infected dog food, then not washing their hands before eating or handling their own food, health officials said.

The South Carolina plant temporarily was shut down April 8.

Diamond Pet Foods has issued four rounds of recalls for food made at the plant, located outside of Columbia, S.C., between Dec. 9 and April 7. The latest recalls were announced Friday.

In 2005, a toxic mold called aflatoxin ended up in food made at the same Diamond Pet Foods plant in South Carolina and dozens of dogs died. The company offered a $3.1 million settlement. The Food and Drug Administration determined the deadly fungus likely got into the plant when it failed to test 12 shipments of corn.

Please note that Burns Natural Dog Food does not contain any corn!

Agriculture officials in Michigan found the strain of salmonella during routine testing of dog food at the beginning of  April 2012 and health investigators identified a possible link to the food made by Diamond Pet Foods. An ill person still had some of the food, and authorities were able to link the cases to the food, the CDC said.

The recall covers a number of pet food brands made at the Gaston plant, including Canidae, Natural Balance, Apex, Kirkland, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health and Taste of the Wild.

Burns Number 1 on Whole Dog Journal list of Top Dry Dog Foods

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

We’ve just heard that Burns Pet Foods are the top, number 1 dog food on the Whole Dog Journal’s list of Top Dry Dog Foods.

This is good news for us and also for you and your pet. Because you know you’re feeding your pet the best food you can buy.

Did you visit our online store recently? It is completely renovated. Let us know what you think.

My Dog Is A Fussy Eater.

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Let me start with a few facts about dogs  -

It defies the laws of nature for a dog to starve itself to death.

If left to their own devices dogs would scavenge to satisfy not only their appetite but their nutritional requirements. 

Dog training is remarkably easy and if your dog is a fussy eater you have probably inadvertently trained it that way.

Just think about this situation - we sit a 4 year old child down at the table with a choice between a plate of vegetable broth or ice cream and jelly and let the child make its own decision.  

 You know the answer and you also know which one  is the healthy option.  As responsible parents we do not allow the 4 year old child to make that kind of decision -  we naturally insist on the healthy choice first.

The Pink Floyd Album  - Another Brick in Wall - “If you can’t eat your meat, you cannot have any pudding” - it has been drummed into us down through the generations - responsible eating or no treats!  

So why do so many dog owners ignore these basic rules of parenting with their dogs?

Why do dog owners constantly try one food after another looking for something the dog will like?

All the while, what owners do NOT realize is that they are encouraging,  training their dog  turn up their nose at food.  

The dog learns that this behavior results in some other form of food, hopefully tastier than the last.

Often as not, and I  hear about them every other day - the dog  finishes up getting  fed nothing but chicken or turkey or mince.  

One of the questions I ask in the pet health questionnaire is “Does your dog eat all its food at one go?” or ” Leave some for later?”

The ‘later’ answer comes through time and time again and it is the first big indication that the dog is getting too much food and someday will probably stop eating for a number of days and the owner starts to worry!

The dog is not eating! An owner gets comfort from seeing the family pet eating and if it’s not eating, it’s a worry.

So how do we deal with the fussy dog? How do we retrain the dog to eat naturally and to eat the healthy option and make both the owners life and the dog, much healthier and happy.

Let us take a lesson from normal parenting  - What do we do with children?  - We exercise discipline!

Firstly, to prevent the problem developing we should be feeding enough that the dog eats all that is presented and is going round the bowl looking for more.

So if your dog walks away leaving food then that needs to stop.

Measure out the amount of food presented and if any is left measure that and deduct from the next meal plus a little more.

Use this approach at every meal, until all that is presented is eaten. At every meal!

With the fussy eater - put food down - if it does not eat- remove all food after 5 minutes - and do not give any food until the next meal. 

At the next and subsequent meals follow the same procedure until the dog eats the food.

Do not worry if it takes 1, 2 or even 8 days - the dog is simply not hungry enough.

By taking this approach you are exercising discipline and at the same time training your dog that there are no alternatives! It takes discipline as an owner but we should do it out of love for our dear pets.

Yin and yang of food for pets

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

In Traditional Chinese Medicine and other Eastern medicinal practices, diet is used in the prevention as well as treatment of disease.

The philosophies used are very different than the approaches used by Westerner practitioners who by and large view the symptoms as the problems and suppression of them, the cure.

The Eastern approach sees the symptoms as a result of another underlying problem. A bit like a Tsunami being a symptom but the earthquake the underlying cause.

In  Traditional Chinese Medicine, medicinal herbs are regarded as part of the diet when symptoms become apparent.

Food is not simply a source of calories and chemical compounds like protein, fat, and minerals for dogs and cats. Foods are looked at in how  they influence the pets  body as a whole: blood, fluid, individual organs and a body’s Qi (energy/life force).

One of the basics of  Traditional Chinese Medicine  is balance.

Each food has yin or yang properties to consider, and each food has a yin (cool, damp) and a yang ( hot, dry) constitution.

A diet should be designed to minimize imbalance in your dog or cat, not create further imbalance.

Balance is determined by Yin and Yang although both contain elements of each other. The white area is Yin with a Yang pair (black circle within the white area) The black area is Yang with a Yin pair (white circle within the black area).

It is not necessary to fully understand the principles of Yin and Yang to understand their influence in terms of diet.

Basically foods have a variety of effects on the body dependant on their Yin or Yang nature. Foods which heat the body are Yang, foods which cool are Yin. Thus we need to watch for balance in terms of not only Hot and Cold (Yang and Yin) but Dry and Damp (Yang and Yin).

In normal health the relationship between Yin and Yang is harmonious and dependent on each other.

Foods are broken down into many categories. Those being:

Direction – does the food influence Qi (energy), blood, or fluid upward, downward, inward, or outward. Skin problems for example are usually considered to be outward problems associated with excess body conditions. In simple terms, the body is pushing out the excesses through the skin.

Flavors – sweet (help digestion), sour (astringent/ drying) , pungent (spicy/ stimulate circulation, ie Garlic), salty (soften) and bitter- (aid digestion).

Meridians - how the food affects specific organs: spleen/ pancreas/ stomach (warming foods), lung/ large intestine (moistening foods), kidney/ urinary bladder (sweet), liver/ gall bladder (cooling foods).

Temperature which has to do with the way you feel after you have eaten – cooling as with salads,  warming as with oats, hot as with spices and neutral where there is no appreciative change.

And in addition, Traditional Chinese medicine attempts to achieve balance with the seasons
 - spring/summer (cleansing - why many skin problems only occur in these seasons)
 - and fall/ winter (warming/ nourishing).

Examples of cooling (Yin) foods:

  • Cooling Meats/Fish: Duck, Pork, Salmon
  • Cooling Grains: Millet, Barley, Wheat
Cooling Vegetables: Celery, Broccoli, Spinach, Cucumbers

Examples of warming  (Yang) foods:

  • Warming Meats:  Lamb, Red Meat, Shrimp
Warming Grains: Oats, Quinoa, Safflower
Warming Vegetables: Squash, Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans

Thus a proper holistic dog food or holistic cat food will pull together many of the facets above in order to produce a product which avoids excesses and seeks to balance the impact that the combined ingredients have on your pets body.

Protein and Dog Food

Friday, June 24th, 2011

The term ‘Human Grade’ ingredients of which Burns Pet Health Products are made is taking on a literal meaning with consequences. Simply because we use the human edible part of the chicken we are facing a world demand from companies who are producing foods for human consumption.

In effect, where before the chicken we used for our pet foods was only used for that , the Asian human food companies are not only eyeing up our raw material in America - they are buying them for inclusion in human consumption goods for their own markets.

At Burns Pet Health, we see this as an ongoing and increasing problematic area in terms of maintaining the quality of our products and keeping costs to a minimum.

Also, this development is putting severe pressure on other protein sources driving up demand and thus price. Coupled with this is a shortage of chicken fat and the domino effects spill over to turkey and other poultry fats.

Combined with the above has been the severe storms and tornado’s almost wiping out the poultry industry in Arizona. Most of the producers there do not own the livestock - they simply rear it on behalf of bigger players. In effect, they are sub-contractors rearing the chicks to a suitable age.

The effect of the storms destroyed the rearing houses and left them with many young birds with nowhere to live. They will probably find that their short life is curtailed even further simple because of the lack of habitat

The other interesting facet of quality protein, and this showed up during the big pet food recalls, is that in order to limit prices increases, pet food manufacturers were turning to cheap protein sources and supplementing the diets with synthetic essential amino acids. In Europe, they have become quite skilled and making a low quality ingredient look impressive.

In many diets you see the term ‘ vegetable protein isolate’ which is a fancy name for vegetable protein rather than the real deal . The giveaway is always further down the list in the form of L-lysine or DL-methionine or even taurine - amino acids - the later which dogs normally make themselves but need other amino acids which normally are in the protein.

We are keeping a close eye on developments but envisage that over time, quality protein will become more and more expensive.