Frequently asked questions
(If you cannot find the answer
to your query, then please contact us via our helpline)
Information on specific
health problems such as itchy skin, loose motions, stiffness
and more follow
MY DOG VOMITS/
HAS DIARRHOEA OCCASIONALLY BUT ISN'T ILL
This usually indicates
that there is a build-up of waste matter in the dog's system.
The vomiting or diarrhoea is a way of discharging this waste
thus helping to cleanse the system for a time. There is probably
some sub-clinical disease present.
This pattern of
behaviour is usually associated with feeding low-quality pet
food and a change to decent feeding regime will usually solve
Many owners find
that the dog (or cat) habitually vomits in the mornings. The
owner may be advised to feed frequently. This is often successful
in stopping the vomiting but it is not good practice because
this is only keeping the lid on the problem not curing it.
THE FUSSY DOG
It is truly remarkable
how many owners have dogs which are fussy. Many owners seem
determined to make their dogs eat come what may. The main
reason why a dog refuses food is that
IT IS NOT HUNGRY! However, the owner concludes that the dog
no longer likes the food and decides to try something else
(usually tastier) in order to get the dog to eat. The dog
will eat this tastier food for a time until it tires of that. The
owner will then seek out something else in order to stimulate
the dog's jaded appetite. And so it continues. The owner does
not seem to realise or care that the dog is simply not hungry
is a parallel here with how some parents care for their children.
We indulge them with sweets and expensive toys instead of
devoting time to them. The best way to indulge a dog or cat
is with your time, through the stimulus of play and walks
rather than with food.
Some dogs seem
to be always hungry and to want to eat non-stop. This occurs
even when it is clear that the dog does not need more food.
Many humans are similar in this respect. Sometimes there is
no solution to this problem of feeling guilty that the dog
is being deprived. Very often, the desire for food is conditioned.
That is, the dog has learned from past experience that if
the owner is eating then the dog will be given food.
The best way of
dealing with this is the same as for the fussy dog - by providing
diversion and stimulation in the form of a walk or play. The
more you giv efood on demand, the more the dog will expect
WHY DOGS AND
CATS EAT GRASS?
Grass eating is
an intuitive action by the dog or cat which wants to vomit
as a means of discharging toxins from the system.
WHICH IS BETTER
- MOIST FOOD OR DRIED?
the food is presented is of minor importance compared to what
the ingredients are or their proportions. Moist foods tend
to be tastier than dry but that is mainly because moist foods
tend to be higher in protein and fat. Dry food is more convenient
and usually more economical.
When comparing the analysis of moist and dry foods it is necessary
to allow for the difference in moisture content.
A moist food with a declared 10% protein and 80% moisture
has 10gr. of protein in 20 gr. of dry matter i.e. 50% protein
on a dry matter basis.
A dry food with a declared 20% protein and 10 % moisture has
20 gr. of protein in 90gr. of dry matter i.e. 22.2% protein
on a dry matter basis.
The dry food although appearing to have a twice as much protein
actually has half as much protein on a dry-matter basis.
WHY SHOULD I
CHANGE IF MY DOG IS FINE ON ITS PRESENT FOOD?
problems are more likely on a low-quality food and they often
develop without showing outward signs. For example, the liver
and the kidneys may lose as much as 75% of their function
before signs of disease appear.
HOW MUCH FOOD
DOES MY DOG NEED?
It is much easier
and much more common to overfeed rather than underfeed.
amounts are only a very rough guide and as such should only
be used as a starting point. Two similar dogs may require
very different amounts and this will only become apparent
with experience. . Also the amount will probably vary from
summer to winter. The dog will probably need more food in
winter in order to generate body heat.
The amount of food
your dog needs and how much he wants are not necessarily the
same things. Remember you can undo the value of good quality
food by overfeeding.
RAW FOOD BETTER THAN COOKED?
food advocates claim that it is more “natural”
for dogs and cats to eat raw food which is a reflection of
their origins in the wild. Cats have to some extent remained
independent and separate from humans. They are obligate meat
eaters and they hunt, kill and eat prey. But this is not the
case for dogs. Fourteen thousand years of close association
with man have resulted in a creature very different from the
wild animal. Dogs have been adapted to eating the same food
as humans for many generations. Until fairly recently human
nutrition was based on cooked whole cereal grains and this
formed the basis of the diets I have formulated for pets.
It is sometimes claimed that cooked food has been damaged
or “denatured” by cooking. Cooking is intended
to denature food. When we consume protein, we do not want
that protein to be assimilated into our system intact. If
we eat chicken, we do not want to build our bodies with chicken
protein; we want to build human protein. The purpose of the
digestive system is to break down complex molecules to simple
molecules which can be absorbed and utilised. Cooking begins
that process and makes food more easily digested and absorbed.
Denatured (cooked) protein is less likely to be recognised
as a foreign protein which can cause an allergic reaction
IS IT HARMFUL
TO ADD OTHER THINGS TO THE DOG FOOD?
depends on the individual dog and what you want to add. I
do not recommend adding other pet food to the Burns but home-made
food especially vegetables may be acceptable.
If a health problem is present more care is needed and the
diet may need to be controlled strictly. If there is a possibility
of underlying food intolerance it is important to restrict
the number of different components of the diet.
A prepared pet food cannot by its nature be tailored exactly
to suit every circumstance and we sometimes even recommend
adding other home-made foods depending on the individual's
needs. I do not necessarily agree with the advice which other
manufacturers give that adding to the diet will "upset
the balance". But it is not advisable to add things regularly
to the food in order to get the dog to eat more. Over a period
of time this will result in the dog eating more than it would
otherwise and could undo the benefit of the Burns food.
I CAN'T BE OVERFEEDING
BECAUSE MY DOG IS NOT OVERWEIGHT
Many pets which are overfed do not put on weight because they
discharge the excess rather than store it as fat. This discharge
of excess tends to occur in those pets which are physically
active. It is the less active ones which become overweight.
I CAN'T BE OVERFEEDING
BECAUSE MY DOG ONLY EATS WHAT HE NEEDS AND LEAVES THE REST
NO !!! This probably
means that the animal is eating to its maximum capacity. If
your dog regularly picks at his food and leaves food behind
then this means that he is eating as much as he wants rather
than as much as he needs. It is likely that he could manage
with a little less each day, his health would improve and
he would probably enjoy his food more if he was eating less.
MY PET HAS DRY,
FLAKY SKIN. DOES HE NEED MORE OIL IN HIS DIET?
No! Dry, flaky
skin (dandruff or scurf) is a sign that there is an excess
of waste matter in the system. It is not a sign that anything
is lacking in the diet. The solution is to feed a high quality
diet in smaller amounts. This will enable the body to eliminate
the waste matter and the skin condition will then improve.
MY PET HAS ARTHRITIS.
WlLL ADDING OIL TO HIS DIET HELP THIS?
Some pets do improve
when oil is added to the diet but the best way of treating
arthritis is to tackle the cause which is the build-up of
waste in the system. It is better to improve general health
by feeding a good quality diet than to supplement a poor diet
in order to compensate for inadequacies.
MY PET IS UNDERWEIGHT.
SHOULD I FEED HIM MORE?
It is first necessary
to establish if the pet really is underweight. There are so
many overweight dogs that a fit, lean dog looks underweight.
Forget what the charts and scales say. You should be able
to feel the dog's ribs with only a thin covering of skin.
In a short-coated dog you should not be able to see the ribs
and the bones should not be prominent. Many dogs are lean
because they are active, not because they need more food.
Often, increasing the food intake will reduce the efficiency
of digestion so the dog may not put on weight.