Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Last week I gave my two pennies’ worth on a dog food review site based in the US. This week I discovered a British based website doing the very same thing. [Disclaimer* this is an even bigger rant than the last one] The UK site “rates food purely on assessing how healthy a food is likely to be based on the stated ingredients.”
In my view, and I do recognise I have only been doing this for 35 years this approach is too simplistic and formulaic and above all, does not take into consideration the effect of the food on the dog. Once again we have a self-proclaimed “expert” who claims to write with authority. And here’s the rub. If you get enough right so that you sound as if you know what you are talking about, it gives credibility to the wrong stuff. This particular “expert” writes, “The more meat a food contains, the better it will score.” And “Carbs like maize and wheat always lose points.” Writing about Burns Choice he says “maize falls a long way short of brown rice in terms of its nutrients and from our experience it is much more likely to cause dietary intolerance than rice.”
I don’t know what “experience” he refers to but this is just wrong. Ask those who are actually feeding Burns Choice. Like our brown rice foods it gives excellent results. (See my Q and A on Maize) on this website. Elsewhere he writes, ““Dogs are primarily designed for digesting meat...” That probably was true at one time but is 15,000 years out of date. That’s the length of time dogs have been domesticated and have been adapting to no or very little meat to the extent that they can now be vegetarian.
What’s really concerning about this site is how it attempts to reduce health management through nutrition to a simplistic process which anyone can do by following a few easy steps. This site had an item about feeding dogs with pancreatitis. The reader is advised to follow a Ready Reckoner type rote system to find foods suitable for managing pancreatitis. (None of the Burns foods qualify according to this method.) I consider this to be dangerous advice. Pancreatitis is a painful and potentially life-threatening condition which requires careful dietary management. Elsewhere on the website, specialist veterinary-only diets come in for a hatchet job. Now in my opinion the ingredients may not always be as good as they could be, but the writer claims that the market is “awash” with suitable cheaper alternatives. Pet owners who are taken in by this are set for a disappointment and their animals will suffer. Finding the right food for your dog is not painting by numbers, especially when the “expert” doesn’t understand the basics of pet nutrition. (He has some technical stuff which doesn’t add up but I won’t trouble you with that.)
Each animal is an individual and that’s why Burns Pet Nutrition has a team of skilled nutritionists who can help each pet owner arrive at the right solution for their pet.
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