For a number of years I recommended my veterinary practice clients to avoid feeding proprietary pet foods but instead to feed a home-made diet of brown rice, vegetables and chicken, fish or meat sold for human consumption. Although a number of people were able to follow this recommendation and achieved remarkable improvements in the health of their pets, many found that preparing food at home for the dog was simply too daunting a task. Now that I have a dog of my own I realise what a burden this is and I doubt if I would be able to do it myself. I am sure I lost many clients in this way.
I eventually decided that to manage health through diet, food would have to be convenient and readily available. Burns Real Food is based on the home-made diet which I used to recommend. There are no secret or magic ingredients; there are no added pharmacologically active supplements or ingredients.
As the name implies, Burns Real Food is just that; a simple food which is intended to allow the body to function as it should. Burns is not intended to intervene in order to alter the normal metabolism of the body. The aim is to stand back and let the body get on with what it does best; to maintain the organ systems. This is in contrast to medicinal products which are intended to have a direct therapeutic action.
There are many, many different chemical and physical reactions taking place in the body at all times. Although we can influence one or two of these by drugs, most of these reactions are being carried out by the body itself which is always working to be at its best - to absorb the nutrients it needs, to build and rebuild itself, to resist infection, to eliminate waste products and so on. A puppy or kitten instinctively knows more than the most skilled physician how to maintain normal health, when something has gone wrong, how to correct that and how to heal itself. This all happens in a subconscious, instinctive way as a result of billions of years of evolution from simple cells to complex mammals. This is the basis of the Principles of Natural Health Care.
The most important and simplest way of promoting that process is through the choice of food. Needless to say, we humans have to make that choice on behalf of our pets. The main protein sources in Burns are chicken, lamb, fish, venison and duck which are nutritious and highly digestible. Sunflower oil and chicken oil provide essential fatty acids and seaweed provides an organic source of minerals. The formulae are fixed so the ingredients do not alter when cheaper ingredients are available. This is of enormous importance as many health problems are caused by undiagnosed intolerance to food ingredients. Burns products (other than high-energy foods) are low in fat and protein and high in complex carbohydrate. There are no chemical additives. This minimises the amount of waste matter which the body has to eliminate. When metabolised, carbohydrate produces less harmful toxic waste than protein and fat.
Many owners think that if their pet seems healthy there is no need to feed a good-quality food. It is true that some pets (and humans) seem capable of thriving on poor quality food but this is the exception, not the rule. Many pet owners do not recognise symptoms of incipient health problems but accept them as normal conditions.
By John Burns BVMS MRCVS