Burns Dog Food (Dry)

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Rating: ★★½☆☆

Burns Dog Food receives the Advisor’s below-average tier rating of 2.5 stars.

The Burns Dog Food product line includes three dry dog foods, two claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and one for all life stages.

The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.

  • Burns Mini Bites (3 stars)
  • Burns Holistic Brown Rice and Chicken
  • Burns Holistic Brown Rice and Ocean Fish

Burns Holistic Brown Rice and Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Burns Holistic Brown Rice and Chicken

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 20% | Fat = 8% | Carbs = 64%

Ingredients: Whole grain brown rice, chicken meal, peas, oats, chicken fat, sunflower oil, seaweed, calcium carbonate, niacin supplement, dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E supplement), d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin supplement, vitamin D supplement, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, cobalt proteinate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, sodium selenite, potassium chloride

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.4%

Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis19%8%NA
Dry Matter Basis20%8%64%
Calorie Weighted Basis20%19%61%

The first ingredient in this dog food lists brown rice, a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient includes peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.

The fourth ingredient is oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The fifth ingredient lists chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is nutritionally similar to safflower oil. Since these oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids and contain no omega-3′s, they’re considered less nutritious than canola or flaxseed oils.

Sunflower oil is notable for its resistance to heat damage during cooking.

There are several different types of sunflower oil, some better than others. Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is seaweed. Seaweed is rich in vitamins and minerals.

The eighth ingredient is calcium carbonate, likely used here as a dietary mineral supplement.

From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

With two notable exceptions

First, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.

And lastly, this food contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

Burns Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Burns Dog Food looks like an above-average dry product.

But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 20%, a fat level of 8% and estimated carbohydrates of about 63%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 22% and a mean fat level of 10%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 61% for the overall product line.

And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 44%.

Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a limited amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Burns Dog Food is a plant-based kibble using a limited amount of chicken or ocean fish meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Not recommended.

Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.

A Final Word

The descriptions and analyses expressed in this and every article on this website represent the views and opinions of the author.

Although it's our goal to ensure all the information on this website is correct, we cannot guarantee its completeness or its accuracy; nor can we commit to ensuring all the material is kept up-to-date on a daily basis.

Each review is offered in good faith and has been designed to help you make a more informed decision when buying dog food.

However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.

For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".

Remember, no dog food can possibly be appropriate for every life stage, lifestyle or health condition. So, choose wisely. And when in doubt, consult a qualified veterinary professional for help.

In closing, we do not accept money, gifts or samples from pet food companies in exchange for special consideration in the preparation of our reviews or ratings.

To learn how we support the cost of operating this website, please visit our public Disclosure and Disclaimer page.

Have an opinion about this dog food? Or maybe the review itself? Please know we welcome your comments.

Notes and Updates

04/29/2010 Original review
03/08/2014 Last Update

  • Paulok

    “consult a qualified veterinary professional”,”Why”?they now less then joe public.After listening to all the experts who all contradict each other I have decided to feed a fresh homemade diet of mince from my butcher (offel,beef,lamb)costing 40 pence a pound.I mix rolled oats/Barley flakes/Rye flakes socked in boiling water for 10 minutes then mixed with half pound of raw mince twice a day.Supplements are Dorwest Keepers Mix and Easy Green.I do of course change diet around including eggs and vegetables(pureed).Have you noticed all the copying and pasting that go’s on by experts and joe puplic.It makes me sick to think that all the experts and nutritionalist are as confused about food for ourselves not just dogs and cats.Feed fresh as you can.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Hi Juliette,

    Like you, I have also observed the notable differences between Burns’ UK and US websites. And it’s not at all unusual for a pet food company to market different formulations to different markets.

    You asked, “I would love to know exactly where each ingredient is coming from”. So would the rest of us. Unfortunately, the only entity that would ever know the answer to your question is the company itself.

    Regarding the low protein recommended by Burns, modern studies have proven that high protein diets are safe and more closely mimic a dog’s natural ancestral diet.

    You can read more about dietary protein in our Library and our FAQ pages found in the red navigation abr at the top of any page on our website.

    Hope this helps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jac.nash.37 Juliette Nash

    Hi Mike

    I am in Ireland, so it is the UK Burns that I use. I have sighthounds and they seem to be thriving on Burns (no visits to vet except for yearly health checkup). I buy a different ‘flavour’ each time to give the dogs some variety.

    I have visited Burn’s US site, and am surprised at how little information there is compared to the Burns Ireland or UK sites, which provide VASTLY more information than any other company website that I have been able to find. They also state that they obtain their ingredients from the same source, rather than varying their suppliers according to what’s going cheap, which I like. That said, I would love to know exactly where each ingredient is coming from.

    I would like to hear more on the theory that a low protein diet is better for dogs, as stated by Burns. That ingredients change from country to country is news to me – isn’t it confusing enough?

  • Peteneira

    I have used Burns for my Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers for 16 years and only recently had a problem, I contacted burns and they told me to change to fish and brown rice, I have done this and introduced it slowly from their chicken and brown rice (thanks for your revues will not use chicken again, hope you do one on fish and brown rice) and they are gradually getting better but still have rumbly tums and runny bums.

  • mchelle

    My GSD was on this after a routine visit to my vet he said it was the best to feed .So I changed him onto it gradually and he started getting stomach cramps every second night so bad I needed to get tablets for him .I changed back to his other food and have never had a problem since. I will never use this food again .

  • melissa

    Ron-

    I have never heard of anal gland problems being caused by protein-thats a new one on me! LOL. Dogs typically express their anal glands when they defecate, so if the stool is too soft, it can hinder this process. Perhaps they are extrapolating that protein causes soft stool?

  • Ron

    LOL, NO Mike I’m here in the states, I just stumbled across the Burns foods UK site this morning.
    I always wondered why George Burns thinks it is more wise to cut down protein to solve health issues. One example on his page says Anal gland problems can be caused by protein.
    Didn’t know that, but it may be just a way in marketing his foods.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Ron… Each country uses its own unique labeling standards. What’s more, many companies have different recipes for each country in which they market their products. So, I haven’t yet begun any reviews for the UK (even though I love your country). Hope this helps.

  • Ron

    Just out of curiosity I was looking at Burns foods at the UK
    web-site.They seem to have more variety of foods with a few that have higher protein amounts. I’m surprised he has not had similar made over hear as of yet.

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com Mike Sagman

    Hi Tracey… Your dog’s cancer history is certainly disturbing. However, it would be misleading and inappropriate for me to suggest the dog food is the cause. These days, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the food we eat can all be contaminated with cancer-causing agents (called carcinogens). Then there’s the matter of genetic predisposition, too. In any case, without knowing more, its impossible to say for sure what the source of your dog’s tumors could be. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Tracey

    our 7 yr old weimeraner Harley has been on Burns chicken and brown rice for 6 years now, eversince he had a stomach torsion and had his stomach stapled to his sides to prevent it happening again, any other food we tried gave him awful wind and the burns seems to suit him, we also suplements his diet with healthy treats eg tomatoes, apples, bananas,pineaple and fresh chicken all in small quantities. 2 month ago Harley was diagnosed with 6 cancerous tumors which have all now been removed and he has the all clear for now. We have been told there may be more growths appear though. Do you think it could be something in the Burns food that has caused these tumors?