As you can probably guess from the title, in today’s post, we’re going to be looking at Burns dog food and reviewing the extensive range of dog foods they offer. As with all our pet food reviews, we’re going to examine the ingredients, composition, and nutritional profile of the various Burns dog food products currently available on the market, culminating in giving you our independent and unbiased opinion on whether or not they’re a good choice for your four-legged friend.
As is the case with the vast majority of dog food companies, Burns offers a range of foods for puppies and adult and senior dogs. Plus, within each of these categories, there are several variants, such as ‘Free-from’ – which is grain and gluten-free; ‘Sensitive’ – which is designed for dogs with sensitive digestive system; ‘Toy & Small’ – which is designed for smaller breeds; ‘Large & Giant’ – which is designed for larger breeds, and ‘Weight Control’ – which is designed for dogs who need to lose a few pounds.
Before we begin, it’s probably worth taking a quick visit to Burns’ official website to see who they are and what they’re about. A quick scroll down the homepage reveals an introduction to Burns pet food telling us that Burns Pet Nutrition Limited was founded in 1993 by veterinary surgeon John Burns, whose aim was to create a range of simple ‘real’ foods using high-quality ingredients that allow your pet’s body to function naturally, i.e. letting the body do what it does best, “maintain and repair itself and prevent deterioration of the organs.”
The questions is, do Burns range dog foods back up their impressive statement of intent? Or is it all marketing blurb to entice you in? Let’s find out.
We’ll start by looking at Burns’ adult & senior dog food before moving onto puppy foods – so if you’re specifically looking for puppy food reviews, scroll down a little to find them.
Burn Adult & Senior Dog Reviews
Pack sizes: 2kg, 6kg, and 12kg
Flavours: Chicken & brown rice, Lamb & Brown Rice, and Fish & Brown Rice.
Burn’s leading adult & senior dog food product is their ‘Original’ formulation, so let’s begin by looking at that. A quick glimpse at the packaging tells us that it’s hypoallergenic, inexpensive, award-winning, wholegrain, low in fat, and contains natural ingredients – an impressive list, for sure, but let’s take a look at the nutritional profile to see how that fares. The ingredients for each of the available flavours are as follows:
Chicken & Brown Rice: Brown rice (67%), chicken meal (20%), oats, peas, chicken oil, sunflower oil, seaweed, minerals.
Lamb & Brown Rice: Brown rice (58%), lamb meal (24%), oats, lamb fat, peas, seaweed, minerals.
Fish & Brown Rice: Brown rice (61%), fish meal (20%), oats, peas, salmon oil, sunflower oil, seaweed, minerals.
As you can see, it is comprised of a mere seven or eight ingredients, which is actually relatively low compared to many other dog food out there, and certainly does live up to the simple ‘real’ food stated in their marketing blurb.
Of course, to make it a ‘complete’ dog food, it has a range of nutritional additives, i.e. vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, added, but aside from that, it is pretty much as natural as it comes.
That being said, if we look at the analytical constituents, crude protein is only 18.5%. Although a dog can be completely healthy by consuming a complete dog food that contains 18.5% protein, in an ideal world, it would be above 20%. Furthermore, 0.85% Omega-3 is also a little low, but again it’s not the end of the world, and a little added salmon oil (which is rich in Omega-3) with each meal will help to top it up.
Our verdict: Although slightly lacking in protein and Omega-3, Burns’ Original’ adult dog food is a simple yet complete dog food that sits somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between cheap/poor quality and expensive/very high-quality dog foods. In fact, it’s actually very cost-effective, with a 12kg bag lasting up to three months depending on the size of your four-legged friend.
To illustrate this and give you an (almost) specific breakdown of cost, we’ll use a 20kg dog as an example. According to Burn’s website, a 20kg should eat 200grams of food per day, which equates to 60 x 200gram servings, i.e. two months worth of food. The price of a 12kg bag is around £36, which equates to 60p per meal, which is great value indeed.
In short, this a fairly decent complete dog food that will never set the world alight or be deemed as the best dog food in the world, but one that is simple, healthy, and cost-effective.
‘Toy & Small Breed’
Pack size: 2kg and 6kg.
Flavours: Chicken & Rice.
Next, we’re going to look at Burns’ adult dog food for toy and small breeds. I have to admit, I’ve always been slightly baffled by dog foods specifically for smaller breeds as they never seem to be all that different to regular adult dog foods; I guess it’s (probably) purely a marketing ploy – but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be high-quality and a good choice for your little four-legged friend. So let’s take a look at Burns’ adult dog food for toy and small breeds.
Chicken & Rice: Brown rice (44%), chicken meal (23%), white rice (13%), chicken oil, oats, peas, sunflower oil, fish meal, minerals, seaweed (plus nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).
Although it has a couple more ingredients compared to the ‘Original’ adult dog food (10 vs 7/8), it can still be classed as a simple (and natural) formulation. The only real major difference between the regular adult dog food and the toy and small breed offering is the addition of white rice. I think the logic behind this is that white rice is more easily digestible, and as smaller dog breeds are typically slightly more prone to digestive issues, having food that is easier to digest certainly makes sense. Furthermore, it’s also a little higher in protein (21.5%), so that’s certainly another plus point.
Our verdict: Although not as cost-effective as Burns regular adult food, the Toy and Small breed dog food is still pretty good value and offers higher levels of protein and what should be an easier to digest formulation. All-in-all, if you’re the owner of a toy or small dog breed who has digestive issues from time to time, this is undoubtedly a dog food you should try.
‘Large & Giant Breed’
Pack size: 12kg.
Flavour: Chicken & Brown Rice.
Following on from Toy and Small breed food, we’re now going to the other end of the spectrum and will take a look at Burns Large and Giant breed adult dog food. One glance at the ingredient list tells you that there is a lot more to this food than merely having a few extra calories (in addition to larger kibble pieces), so let’s take a look at the formulation:
Chicken & Brown Rice: Brown rice (67%), chicken meal (20%, oats, peas, salmon oil (1%), chicken oil, sunflower oil, seaweed, minerals, glucosamine (500mg/kg), MSM – methylsulfonylmethane (500mg/kg), chondroitin sulphate (360mg/kg), green tea extract, blueberry extract (plus nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).
You’re probably wondering what all these extra ingredients are, so let me explain. Glucosamine, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), and chondroitin sulphate are all-natural supplements that help to lubricate and ease the strain on joints – something that is useful for larger dogs given the pressure their extra weight puts on their joints on a daily basis. Although the result won’t be earth-shattering, these three supplements are a nice addition and may positively impact joint health.
In terms of cost-effectiveness, Burns Large and Giant breed dog food is priced almost identical to its regular adult dog food, so it offers outstanding value for money – even if your dog will get through it much quicker!
Our verdict: On the whole, Burns Large and Giant dog breed food is a good choice for owners of larger breeds. Although it is slightly lower in protein than many other large breed dog foods out there, this should be detrimental to your four-legged friend. The addition of joint supplements and extra antioxidants should help make your dog’s life that little bit easier and healthier, and its highly-digestible formulation should make things easy on the stomach. Overall, an excellent product.
Pack size: 2kg, 6kg and12kg.
Flavour: Duck & Brown Rice.
Unfortunately, like humans, some dogs suffer from digestive issues. Given that dogs aren’t able to communicate their specific problem(s) with us, we often find out in unpleasant ways, namely, vomit or diarrhoea – at which point we must take action to prevent further issues from occurring. One way to do this is by changing their food to one that is more easily digestible and causes fewer issues.
The question is, ‘Is Burns Adult Sensitive Dog Food a good choice for dog’s with a sensitive digestive system?’.
Well, ultimately, you’ll only really know whether or not a food agrees with your dog unless you feed it to them. However, this is, of course, not particularly viable as it would cost an awful lot of money to try out numerous foods! So, instead, examining the ingredients and formulation of a dog food is the best way to answer this question as best we can. Let’s start by looking at the composition:
Duck & Brown Rice: Brown rice (64%), duck meal (22%), oats, peas, duck fat, sunflower oil, seaweed, minerals (plus nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).
If we compare this ingredient list to Burns’ regular adult dog food, we can see that there’s not much difference, aside from the fact duck-based protein is used. But does duck protein make a significant difference to how digestible and easy-on-the-stomach Burns Sensitive adult dog food is? Probably not, no. Although duck protein is seen as one of the most digestible forms of protein, it’s unlikely to make a massive difference.
This begs the question, ‘Should you buy this for my dog if there’s no real difference between Burns Sensitive food and their regular adult dog food?’.
Ultimately, it depends on your budget. Burns Sensitive dog food is a little more pricey than their regular adult dog food (around 5GBP more), which, although isn’t a major amount of money, it’ll certainly mount up over time. And, let’s face it, if you’re spending extra money, you want to see results.
Our verdict: At the end of the day, the entire Burns dog food range is simple and natural, which makes it easily digestible by its very nature; therefore, our advice would be to try their regular food first and if that doesn’t have the desired effect, move onto the Sensitive formulation to see if makes a difference.
Pack size: 2kg, 6kg and12kg.
Flavours: Duck & Potato, and Turkey & Potato.
As you can no doubt figure out from the product name, ‘Free From’ is Burns pet foods line of grain-free dog food; therefore, if you’re a fan of grain-free dog food or looking to switch to grain-free dog food, Burns’ range might be of interest to you.
But are they any good?
Well, let’s start by looking at the ingredient profile and going from there. The formulations of their grain-free dog food are as follows:
Duck & Potato: Potato (45%), buckwheat (27%), duck meal (19%), duck fat, peas, seaweed, minerals (plus nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).
Turkey & Potato: Potato (46%), buckwheat (27%), turkey meal, turkey fat, seaweed, minerals (plus nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).
Just like the vast majority of Burns’ dog food range, there are very few ingredients in the two flavours of ‘Free-From’ they offer – seven and six ingredients respectively, which conforms to their mantra of simple ‘real’ food. But how do these compare to Burns’ non-grain-free foods and other grain-free dog foods on the market?
Well, they’re certainly grain-free, which is always a good start (some people often assume buckwheat is a grain, but it actually isn’t!). Potato and buckwheat are healthy choices of carbohydrates and will provide your dog with all the energy they need; however, if one were to pick fault in the formulation, it would be regarding the amount of protein coming from animal sources.
While the overall protein content is 18.5% (which, as we’ve discussed above, is passable), around half is going to come from the potato and buckwheat (potato is higher in protein than most people imagine), which is fine per se, but a higher percentage of animal-based protein would be better. Plus, a little more omega-3 would also improve the formulation too.
In terms of price, as you would expect, it’s more expensive than Burns’ regular adult dog food – but let’s take a look at how it compares:
Let’s use the example of a 20kg dog eating 200g per day to illustrate the price difference.
Burns ‘Original’ adult dog food (12kg): £36 / 60 servings = 0.60p per meal.
Burns ‘Free-From’ adult dog food (12kg): £60 / 60 servings = £1 per meal.
Our verdict: If you’re looking for a grain-free food that a) won’t break the bank and b) will provide your dog with everything they need, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t choose Burns’ Free-From’ adult dog food. Although we think a higher percentage of protein from animal sources and a greater amount of omega-3 would make it a better product, as a middle-of-the-road grain-free dog food, Burns’ ‘Free-From’ does what it says on the tin and doesn’t cost the earth either. If you are looking to add extra Omega-3’s to your dog’s diet, consider Salmon Oil as it’s rich in Omega-3 and is very cost-effective.
Pack size: 2kg, 6kg, and 12kg.
Flavour: Chicken & Oats.
Last, but certainly not least, we’re going to look at Burns’ Weight Control’ adult & senior dog food. As the name suggests, this product has been formulated to support healthy weight loss in dogs who need to shed a few extra pounds. The question is, does it do what it says on the tin? Let’s find out.
According to Burns website, their ‘Weight Control’ food is ideal for hungry dogs or those that have a tendency to gain weight easily. Let’s check out the ingredient profile to find out more.
Chicken & Oats: Oats (55%), brown rice (18%), chicken meal (17%), peas, chicken oil, seaweed, minerals (plus nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).
As you can see, oats account for over half of the formulation, with the brown rice and chicken meal making up the vast majority of the rest. To some, this may be puzzling, and it’d be understandable to assume that the oats are there as filler and to make the product cheaper to manufacture; however, being packed with fibre, wholegrain oats provide a steady release of energy which can help your dog to stay fuller for longer. And, if your dog is fuller for longer, they’re less likely to want as much food throughout the day, the result of which (over many weeks and months) will be weight loss.
On the face of it, this appears to be a robust theory and is something that certainly works in humans. Will it work in dogs? Well, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t; however, the proof of the eating is always in the pudding, and you’d have to feed your dog nothing but Burns’ Weight Control’ food for at least a month before knowing if it’s effective.
Of course, if your dog has a sensitive digestive system or doesn’t get on well with large amounts of grains, this food might not be the best option due to the amount of oats in the formulation.
In terms of cost, ‘Weight Control’ is priced similar to Burns regular dog food, so it’s not going to cost you any extra to change food. Furthermore, it’s also available in smaller bags (2kg and 6kg) just in case you want to try out a smaller pack before committing to the purchase of a larger 12kg bag.
‘Penlan Farm’ Wet Food
Pack size: 150g & 400g.
Flavours: Chicken, Vegetables & Brown Rice; Lamb, Vegetables & Brown Rice; Fish, Vegetables & Brown Rice; Egg, Vegetables & Brown Rice.
A review of Burns’ adult dog food wouldn’t be complete without casting our expert eyes over their wet food line, so in this section, we’ll be doing just that. Let’s begin by looking at the ingredients of each flavour.
Chicken, Vegetables & Brown Rice: Organic chicken (min 25%), seasonal vegetables (min 25%), organic brown rice (min 12%), minerals.
Lamb, Vegetables & Brown Rice: Lamb hearts (min 25%), seasonal vegetables (min 25%), organic brown rice (min 12%), minerals.
Fish, Vegetables & Brown Rice: White fish (min 25%), seasonal vegetables (min 25%), organic brown rice (min 12%), fish oil, minerals, sunflower oil.
Egg, Vegetables & Brown Rice: Free-range egg (min 25%), seasonal vegetables (min 25%), organic brown rice (min 12%), minerals.
As you can see, the ingredient profiles of the Penlan Farm range are very simple yet high quality. With at least 25% of the product coming from meat or egg protein sources, 25% seasonal vegetables and 12% brown rice, your dog will get a nice balance of high-quality protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates, with added vitamins and minerals too.
Penlan Farm wet food is a ‘complete’ dog food but can also be fed alongside their dry food. According to their website, one 150g pouch of Burns’ wet food is the equivalent of 40g of their dry food, and one 400g pouch is the equivalent of 100g of dry food; therefore, if feeding your dog solely on Burns’ wet food, you’ll need around four times the total quantity compared to dry food. This, as you might expect, makes feeding a solely wet food diet quite expensive.
Let’s, once again, use a 20kg dog as an example. According to Burns website, a 20kg would require 800g of wet food per day, i.e. two 400g pouches. Given that six pouches costs around £10, this works at around £3.33 per day to feed your four-legged friend, which is five and a half times more expensive than Burns’ regular adult dry dog food.
Of course, if you want to give your dog the very best quality food and your budget allows for this, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t feed your four-legged friend Burns Penlan Farm wet food. In fact, saying that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t feed your dog Penlan Farm wet food doesn’t quite do it justice. After all, it is an exceptionally high-quality adult dog food, and it’s certainly up there amongst the best wet foods currently on the market.
Our verdict: Although expensive, Penlan Farm adult wet dog food is an exceptional product. It’s made from the very best ingredients and provides your dog with absolutely everything they need. In short, it’s one of the best wet dog foods on the market. Period.
Burn Puppy Food Reviews
Now we’ve reviewed Burns adult dog food; it’s time to look at Burns’ range of puppy food. Just like their adult dog food range, there are several different types of food within Burns’ puppy food range, namely their ‘original’ puppy food; ‘Puppy Mini’ – for smaller breeds; and ‘Free From’ – their grain-free puppy food.
In this review, we’ll be largely focussing on Burns’ ‘Original’ puppy food as it is their most popular puppy food product, and many of our comments regarding Burns’ adult grain-free food and adult food for smaller breeds are applicable to the puppy variations also.
Packs sizes: 2kg, 6kg, and 12kg.
Flavours: Chicken & Rice, and Lamb & Rice.
As is customary for our pet food reviews, we’ll begin by examining the ingredient profiles of the two flavours of Burns’ ‘Puppy Original’ food.
Chicken & Rice: Chicken meal (30%), brown rice (22%), white rice (22%), oats, peas, chicken oil, sunflower oil, seaweed, minerals (plus nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).
Lamb & Rice: White rice (18%), brown rice (17%), lamb meal (17%), rice protein, oats, lamb fat, peas, pea protein, salmon oil, seaweed, minerals (plus nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants).
Straight away, you can see a big difference between the two ingredient profiles. The Chicken & Rice food has chicken as its primary ingredient, whereas the Lamb & Rice food is primarily rice and has added rice and pea protein to boost the overall protein content (which is 24% for both flavours).
While this isn’t the end of the world and doesn’t make the Lamb & Rice option a vastly inferior product, we would always advise feeding your dog as natural a diet as possible. Although rice and pea protein are – in the grand scheme of things – relatively ‘natural’, they aren’t as ‘natural’ as chicken meal because there’s more processing involved. Furthermore, protein from chicken is more bioavailable than protein from rice and peas. That’s not to say your puppy won’t be entirely healthy eating Burns Lamb & Rice food (they will); it’s just important to furnish you with as much information as we can so you can make the most informed decision possible.
Just like Burns’ ‘Original’ adult food, their regular puppy food is also relatively inexpensive, coming in at around 38GBP for a 12kg bag.
Our verdict: In an ideal world, Burn’ Original’ puppy food would contain a little more Omega-3 (upwards of 1% rather than 0.5%), but this can easily be supplemented with salmon oil if needs be. Aside from that, the ingredient and nutritional profiles of Burns’ ‘Original’ puppy food is very good, and certainly one that we’d have absolutely no issues feeding to our beloved four-legged family members. Furthermore, it’s very cost-effective, and a single 12kg bag may last for several months, depending on the size and growth of your puppy.
Other Burns Puppy Foods Reviews
As mentioned above, the main focus of our Burns’ puppy food review was to examine their ‘Original Puppy’ food; however, as they also offer a grain-free puppy food in addition to a food for smaller and mini breeds, we think it’s important to touch upon these briefly, just in case you’re interested in either of these products.
‘Free-From’ for Puppies
Pack sizes: 2kg & 6kg.
Flavour: Duck & potato.
Burns’ Free-From’ for puppies contains a mix of potato (44%), duck meal (28%), buckwheat (12%), duck fat, peas, sunflower oil, minerals, salmon oil and nutritional additives such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
While we always like a meat- or egg-based protein sourced as the number one ingredient in dog food (wet or dry), the total protein content of 24% is more than enough for a puppy. Plus, the combination of potato and buckwheat is largely well tolerated by even those dogs with the most sensitive of digestive systems.
All-in-all, if you’re after a cost-effective grain-free food for your puppy, Burns’ Free-From’ for puppies is a great choice.
Pack size: 2kg & 6kg.
Flavour: Chicken & Rice.
The ingredient profile of Burns’ puppy food for small and mini breeds is almost identical to the adult version; however, it does contain an extra 6% protein, giving a total of 24%. As you may or may not be aware, puppies require higher levels of protein than adult and senior dogs, and 24% is more than enough to facilitate growth and healthy development. Therefore, there’s no reason why you should avoid Burns’ Puppy Mini’ if you’re the owner of a small or mini breed puppy.