Dog Food Review Royal Canin, Hills and Burns

Dog Food Review Royal Canin, Hills and Burns

Review of Royal Canin, Hills Science Plan, Burns
Always Read the Labels on Pet Food Packaging. Highlighted Reds shown below, means potentially controversial ingredients

“When food is difficult to metabolise, not only is it robbing the body of vital nutrients, it is robbing the body of energy as well. Energy is wasted when the body works harder to digest food, assimilate nutrients and eliminate toxins.” Lisa S. Newman, N.D., PhD (2007) 

The decision in the end is yours on what you feed your dogs
What You Feed Your is Important

I wrote an article in 2015 on two of the biggest selling brands of dog food in the UK, it went viral.

Within that article, I explained the ingredients of the two top-selling dog foods in the UK (1) Bakers and Pedigree.

I also mentioned that I would be writing about some of our leading premium dog foods, often manufactured by the same big four pet food manufacturers.

It may just surprise you as to what some of these premium pet foods really contain in the way of quality ingredients.

These are the four main manufacturers. Though one of the foods I assess here Burns is independent.

Mars: Pedigree, Cesar, Chappie, Frolic, Pal, Nutro, Greenies, James Wellbeloved, Royal Canin, Royal Canin Veterinary Diets.

Nestle: Bakers, Bonio, Winalot, Beta, ProPlan, Purina One, Purina Veterinary Diets.

Colgate-Palmolive: Hills Science Plan, Hills Prescription Diets.

 Proctor & Gamble: Eukanuba, Iams.

Mars the company that makes Pedigree also owns James Wellbeloved and Royal Canin. They are also tied into the veterinary profession by Royal Canin Veterinary Diets. These four companies are the market leaders. With massive buying power and the ability to fund lavish TV, newspapers and magazine advertising. That means they have basically cornered the pet food market.

We see hoardings, ads, and vet referrals extolling the quality and health-giving properties of their wonderful products. If only the ingredients were as good as the hype.

Pet Food Domination: Most vets now recommend pet foods from one of the big four. These manufacturers are certainly not stupid. They understand the importance of veterinary recommendations and spend millions on securing their positions. They sponsor nutritional modules at veterinary colleges and there can be monetary incentives for some veterinary practices.

With millions going on advertising, sponsorship, special offers and incentives, you would have thought the ingredients may consequently suffer. I strongly believe that in some cases you would be absolutely right. I believe the ingredients leave much to be desired, especially at the price you have to pay for what I believe are cheap fillers.

So let’s look at some of these ingredients and what they mean to your dog or cat. However, first, let me explain the problems we have with labelling in the UK. If you were purchasing the same items in America, where the ingredients are far more transparent., you would get a very different story than the ingredients we see on the UK packaging.

I believe it is high time that any food manufacturer, whether for pets or human consumption should list all the additives and ingredients on their packaging. Then we can be totally clear on what we are actually feeding our pets and families.

FACT: The most commonly noticed source of skin odour and flatulence are from dogs fed cereal-based dog foods.

Royal Canin is it really a premium dog food?
Royal Canin is it really a premium dog food? I do not think so

Royal Canin: One of the most popular super-premium dog foods on the UK market, also available in Europe and America.

They claim that their food is breed specific and specially manufactured for all the main breeds.

The reality! There is no corroborating evidence that dogs of different sizes, breeds and ages actually benefit from any specialised diets.

I would be very interested in learning exactly what, as a percentage, is the difference in ingredients between a Great Dane and a Chihuahua, other than the size of kibble and the tinkering with some of the additives.

Perhaps with my cynical hat on, I could suggest it may be just a sly marketing ploy to attract the buyer. Rather than any nutritional value related to specific breeds.

I know that many packs of whatever breed of Royal Canin dog food you buy will contain poultry meal, rice, maize and wheat, none of which are particularly desirable in dog food.

That information is corroborated by many pet and canine nutritionists and vets who understand that problems cheap fillers cause our pets. In this article I have specifically looked at Royal Canin Medium Adult variety and its ingredients:

Royal Canin Medium Adult: £57.99 for 15 KG: Dehydrated Poultry Protein,  Maize/Corn  Maize Flour, Wheat,  Wheat Flour, Animal Fats, Pork Protein, Hydrolysed Animal Proteins, Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Yeasts, Minerals, Hydrolysed Brewer’s Yeast Artificial Preservatives,  Antioxidants. Anything coloured red is contentious

Poultry is acceptable; though it is better to look for meats with named meat sources (like chicken, turkey, duck etc.); Many dogs can have a chicken allergy but not turkey, duck or geese.

Maize generally called corn in the UK, this is certainly amongst the most contentious of ingredients. With the food manufacturers being the most vocal for its use. The ones against it are mainly canine nutritionists and some vets who now recommend avoiding maize-based diets altogether. They claim that it is harder for dogs to digest, and difficult to metabolise and is likely to lead to food intolerance or allergies. Since the early 1800s maize and wheat has been known as chickenfeed the term means cheap and a trifling sum.

Wheat is often seen in lower-grade dog food; it is a cheap filler and makes forming biscuits and kibble easier. Wheat intolerant dogs are quite common. The gluten protein contained in the grain damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. Wheat intolerance can lead to wide-ranging health issues that most commonly affects the skin, coat and digestive system. Maize and wheat have both been consistently linked to dietary intolerance and digestive problems they have also been linked along with gluten for the explosion in dental disease in dogs.

Hydrolysed Animal Proteins this ingredient is contentious for a number of reasons: The process of hydrolysis uses acids or enzymatic action which is severely criticised by natural feeding advocates. Secondly, during this breakdown of proteins monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be formed. MSG is classified as a food additive and flavour enhancer and has been linked with food addiction in humans. But when added to foods in this way it does not need to be declared.

The final issue with hydrolysed animal proteins is that you have no way of knowing which parts of the animal do the proteins come from. It could come from parts humans or even animals would never dream of eating.

Antioxidants inhibit the destructive effects of oxidation (decay) therefore it is artificial preservative. There are wide-ranging concerns over their effects on health. Antioxidants BHA (E320), and Propyl Gallate (E310) have long been suspected of contributing to cancer. Another common preservative is potassium sorbate (E202), which is listed as a skin, eye and respiratory irritant. These Antioxidants are in some if not all of Royal Canin’s range of dog foods.

Needless to say, while there is any uncertainty over their side effects, these ingredients are probably best avoided. The term ‘antioxidant’ includes all sorts of additives, from natural vitamin E to some of the most contentious chemicals found in pet foods such as BHA and BHT.

The other problem is that no percentages are provided for any of the ingredients making it very difficult to gauge the true quality of the food.  That also allows the ratios of the ingredients to change from batch to batch. Although in this case, a meat ingredient has come first, that, in reality, is probably not true.

The truth is out there
The truth is out there

There is a controversial practice known as ‘grain splitting’. Ingredients have to be listed in order of their amount, so the nearer the top, the more of that ingredient is in the food.  

By splitting a grain into different components – in this case, 4 components, maize + maize flour and also wheat + wheat flour.

That allows the grains to drop down the ingredients list making it appear that meat is the first ingredient. when It probably isn’t.

In reality, the real ingredient list could read Maize, Wheat, Dehydrated Poultry Protein.

Not exactly the mark of super-premium dog food, and actually leading the general public into believing the top ingredient is meat

Further down the list, we find more controversial ingredients: unspecified animal fats and hydrolysed animal proteins.

The practice of grain splitting is certainly not illegal. Whether it is morally questionable is another matter and one that you can decide for yourself. I believe it smacks of contempt for the people buying their pet foods in good faith. This is very pricey dog food by any stretch is the imagination. Do the ingredients warrant the price?  The easy answer is “NO”

Overview: Very Pricey, Unclear Labelling, Maize and Wheat, Grain Splitting, Artificial Additives. Poultry Labelling unclear. Positives? Nice Bag.

This is from a consumer affairs website with 324 reviews, Very Frightening (2) Royal Canin. Please use the breakdown on Royal Canin to make your decision on the other two manufacturers.

If this concerns you just check out my article on (1) Bakers and |Pedigree I have also written an article called (3) Dog Food and Behaviour which I think you will find interesting as I test and grade a number of dog foods on my own dogs.

Is Your Dog Food Causing Problems

Hills Science Plan Adult Advanced Fitness Large Breed: £50.49 for 12KG: You will see Science Plan along with Royal Canin in many Vet practices.

The name I believe is meant to suggest a scientific endorsement.

I wonder how many of the staff and vets in the numerous practices where this food is sold, have ever turned over the package and read the ingredients?

A number of Science Plans products are billed to help overcome skin and food intolerances.

If that is their claim, then why are they putting ingredients like Maize, Wheat, and Maize Gluten Meal into the ingredients?

Chicken: Maize, Wheat, chicken (26%) and turkey meal (total poultry 39%), Animal Fat, Digest, Maize Gluten Meal, vegetable oil, minerals, beet pulp, flaxseed, vitamins, trace elements, taurine, cartilage hydrolysate (source of chondroitin sulphate), crustacean shell hydrolysate (source of glucosamine) and beta-carotene. Naturally preserved with citric acid and mixed tocopherols.

Maize and Wheat: I have already covered Maize and Wheat in the Royal Canin Ingredients so please refer back to that information.

Animal Fats: this could refer to literally any fat of any quality from any animal. This allows the manufacturer to alter the ingredients depending on what fats are cheapest at the time of manufacture. Experts recommend looking for foods where the sources of the fats and oils are clearly stated.

Digest: is a controversial ingredient. The process of chemical/enzymatic hydrolysis is far from what most people would regard as ‘natural’ and it is therefore widely criticised by natural feeding advocates. It is also usually unclear what products of that animal digest is derived from. I would recommend looking for both the animal and the part of the animal to be specified (e.g. ‘chicken liver digest’ instead of just ‘digest’).

Maize Gluten Meal: T: This is a by-product of maize processing and can be used to top-up the protein levels of dog foods, usually as a cheap alternative to more expensive meat proteins. Unfortunately, maize gluten protein is not as easy for dogs to deal with as protein from meat sources and as a result, it can lead to health issues like skin problems and hyperactivity. For this reason, Canine Nutrition Experts normally recommend steering clear of maize gluten, especially with sensitive dogs.

So why is this food recommended for dogs with food sensitivity? I am afraid grain is not the mark of a quality high-end range of food. And certainly not what could be described as natural feeding.

Overview: Pricey, Unclear on which poultry parts are used, Maize and Wheat (cheap fillers). Reduced bag size to 12 kg  Positives: No Artificial Preservatives.

 Recent Update Hills Science Plan Has to Recall Some of Its Dog Food Range

How can a company with multi-million pounds turnover get it so wrong? Recommended by Vets (though that does not impress me) and specially formulated as a Prescription diet and longevity and it has the potential to kill our dog’s? Vitamin D overdoses can be very serious and can cause renal failure and death. This is the Governments health warning website and lists the Hills dog food that has been urgently recalled. (5) Urgent Product Recall Hills Science Plan.

This is the first complaint  in a list of 404 reviews about this food and it is harrowing reading:

Nancy of Rochester,  Verified Reviewer Original review: Feb. 19, 2019: Tragically my Pomeranian, Mr Bojangles is positively a victim of their recall. :( He was put on Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D in October because of tummy troubles. He ate 4 affected cases. Had severe diarrhoea, vomiting and, at least, two seizures. Copious drinking. Pretty much stopped eating no matter what we offered. He died in my arms on January 21st, 2019. When I heard of the recall, I contacted my Vet to see if the cases he ate were part of the recall. They checked their records and found they received a shipment of the affected food in September. Bo started eating it in October. (6) List of 404 Complaints and Reviews Hills Science Plan.

Is Maize and Rice really the best food for this young puppy?
Is Maize and Rice really the best food for this young puppy?

Burns Choice Chicken and Maize: £41.00 12kg: Burns has brought out a cheaper variety of their most common and classic recipes, it is called Burns Choice.

The ingredients are Whole Grain Maize 71% Chicken Meal 17% Peas, Chicken Oil, Seaweed,  Vitamins, and Minerals.

The amount of Maize (corn) in this product is extreme. Dogs are not chickens. The saying Chicken Feed comes to mind.

Given the concerns of many canine nutritionists and some Vets, I am very surprised that this product has been marketed at all.

How can this food be described as Hypoallergenic? This means (having a decreased tendency to provoke an allergic reaction) when you have a grain that is deemed contentious by so many people and dog food manufacturers.

Let me remind you of what I said earlier. ”Maize is certainly amongst the most contentious of ingredients. With the food manufacturers being the most vocal for its use.”

The ones against it are canine nutritionists and some vets who now recommend avoiding maize-based diets altogether.

They claim that it is harder for dogs to digest, and is likely to lead to food intolerance or allergies. Hypoallergenic is not a word I would use to describe this ingredient.

I have had certain reservations about Burns dog food for some time now. For instance, the amount of brown or white rice instead of quality meat protein in most of the Burns products is excessive. Brown rice is certainly far better than white rice. However, white rice is now creeping into some of the Burns recipes as one of the main ingredients.

White Rice is simply brown rice that has been milled and polished to remove outer bran, germ and aleurone layers (aleurone is a protein occurring as granules in some plants) unfortunately, these layers contain the vast majority of the grain’s nutrients and once removed the remaining white rice is almost entirely starch. Why would dogs need starch as the main ingredient?

A number of dogs I have seen fed on Burns have resorted to Coprophagia (eating faeces) of other dogs or their own or grazing animals such as sheep deer rabbits cows etc. The fact that dogs may lose too much weight can be worrying. Though I have to say that can be positive in some cases. Nonetheless, I have always believed in the past that Burns was an ethical and honest company. In fact, I used to feed my own dogs on it and recommended Burns about 8/9 years ago.

John Burns started the Burns food company because of the poor ingredients in many other dog foods. That begs the question why is he now putting 71% Maize into dog food? It is well known as a cheap filler, so the only explanation I can think of is the green-eyed god of profit I certainly could never suggest that it was in the best interest of the dogs.

Some of Burns other products are almost as high in rice content as the maize. For instance, his original recipe has 67% brown rice. That is a lot of rice being pumped into your dog every day, day in day out. At the top of the Burns website, it says “Natural Food for Pets”. Surely Maize and Rice as the main ingredients cannot be described as natural for dogs by any stretch of the imagination?

I believe that at one time Burns only ever used Brown Rice, white rice is creeping into some of Burns range. Their Active recipes with chicken have 38% white rice. It is far cheaper than brown rice, why is it cheaper? very simple brown is far more nutritious than white rice. Let me explain why. When rice is harvested it is always brown.  Rice has three layers. The outer layer, the husk, is removed because it is useless, the middle layer is the rice bran, a sort of thin coating of thin brownish skin. The inner layer is white rice.

Due to the fact that bran has a whole lot of vitamins and minerals that the inner white part of the rice doesn’t have, the nutrition you get from brown rice increases dramatically. When you remove the bran it is then sold to make bran oil and bran flakes leaving the vastly inferior white rice. Brown rice has twice as much magnesium, fibre, and protein compared to white rice.

Conclusion: Very expensive for what is effectively a bag of corn. Bag size only 12KG   Positives: No Artificial Preservatives, good ingredients in the remainder of the recipe. John Burns is a very nice man, on a personal basis, I have worked at Crufts with him. That does not mean I can accept the ingredients he puts in his food now.

The Finest Air Dried Natural Treats Available

Be aware that all these nasty ingredients are also in many of the manufactured treats, often made by the same companies like pedigree, bakers and the ones above plus many others. Click the picture left to go to my full range of air-dried totally natural dog treats.

You can feed the best dog food in the world but if you give treats to your dogs without care and consideration to the ingredients you are undoing all that good work. I now sell what I believe are the most natural and ethical treats available anywhere in the UK.

I started my own range of Doglistener Premium Treats in Autumn 2018. I did that because I wanted to be absolutely certain that the treats I was selling were ethical and truly natural.

I needed to be able to guarantee their provenance and I needed them to fulfil ethical criteria that I personally believe in.

For them to fulfil those requirements, they have to be from free-range animals, all grown as nature intended with no growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics and non-halal and from EU regulated livestock. totally natural without any additives colourants or even spices. They must be from human-grade animals, not the so-called 4-D meat that gets its name from diseased, dying, disabled and dead livestock,

Once I had found suitable suppliers from only EU countries which have stringent requirements regarding animal husbandry I had one final condition

I wanted the treats to be once dried, to be packaged and sent directly to me, not stored in warehouses for months if not years like many brands of treats and food. (8) Doglistener. Totally Natural Air Dried Dog Treats

Nutritional advice should always be ignored if quoted by people that are making money from it

MeMy Opinion. I think we are being mugged by some of the manufacturers of pet foods.

The labelling is unclear, ingredients are often hidden or moved down the list by smoke and mirror tactics, like grain splitting.

Products are marketed as hypoallergenic. When the ingredients suggest that is certainly not the case.

In America, we can look at the full ingredients, but in the UK, we cannot.

That really needs to be changed sooner rather than later. Science must get up to date on these apparently contentious ingredients.

The foods above are better than some of the ones I have written about before, Bakers and Pedigree being a prime example.

However, these three brands are often called the best of the best, when in my opinion they certainly are not. I do not feed my five dogs with any grain or rice products. I am also very careful of all the other ingredients we often see or don’t see in the labelling.

Hills sponsored the British Veterinary Association’s 2009 Congress (the biggest meeting on the veterinary calendar). I wonder why? Hills was also there in the last few years. It has also signed a partnership with the British Veterinary Dental Association to sponsor tooth care in animals. A spokesman for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons adds:

‘It would be ideal if universities could be funded through purely independent sources. But in reality, we cannot condemn them for accepting money from commercial sources”. They know it’s wrong morally and ethically but it is all about the money. I believe the veterinary profession have seriously damaged their reputation and professional standing in the community by what is seen as greed, avarice and unprofessional behaviour. I am certainly not talking about all vets I know many that are totally ethical and professional. My concern is they may actually be in the minority.

It is not just the dog food it also includes overvaccination, paediatric neutering, overuse of antibiotics and recommending procedures and tests when they are sometimes not required. In some cases, they have a tendency to show arrogance and poor service. I have written an article about my concerns about the veterinary profession. (7) Is The Veterinary Profession Broken I believe some Vetsd could be complicit in the fact that our dogs are dying earlier than they were 10/12 years ago (7) Dogs are Dying 11% Sooner Than Ten Years Ago.

I believe there is a shift in public opinion on how they perceive scientists and professionals. They are in some instances coming to the conclusion they are being mugged by large conglomerates and multinationals. I believe a sea change is coming that will shock the pet world and will shock the professions that see the general public as cash cows. It cannot come soon enough.

As a footnote, I would like to repeat the quote from Lisa S. Newman, N.D., PhD.

“When food is difficult to metabolise, not only is it robbing the body of vital nutrients, it is robbing the body of energy as well. Energy is wasted when the body works harder to digest food, assimilate nutrients and eliminate toxins.” Lisa S. Newman, N.D., PhD (2007)

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©Stan Rawlinson  February 2016

Dog Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer

regularly updated last updated November 2020

None of the manufacturers has contacted me or deigned to reply, including the articles I wrote last year on Pedigree and Bakers. That is except John Burns. That does not surprise me. Sadly I think he believes his own hype.

John Burns Reply:
John Burns has decided to rebut all my claims and prove it by quoting Dr Sherry Lynn Sanderson. He says: “Last month I attended a lecture by Dr Sheryl Sanderson at the North American Veterinary Conference in Florida.  Unlike Mr Rawlinson, Dr Sanderson knows a thing or two about pet nutrition.  Professor Sanderson DVM PhD DACVIM DACVN spoke, amongst other things, about some of the myths surrounding maize as pet food.  She explained that maize contained many useful nutrients, the details of which I will spare you for now.”

I suppose you can take a guess on what I discovered about Dr Sherry. Sherry Lynn Anderson is a highly paid advisor to none other than Iams and Eukanuba, owned by Proctor and Gamble. One of the four leading pet food conglomerates. You can also guess what one of the main ingredients in both of these pet foods are? Maize and Wheat. Do I have to say anymore? If Mr Burns is going to quote a reliable scientific source, then please make it one that is not in the thrall and the pockets of a major pet food manufacturer

He also stated: “If Mr Rawlinson fancies himself as a commentator on pet nutrition I suggest he sets aside a considerable chunk of his time for Continuing Professional Development before writing any more”  He signs this off as John Burns BVMS MRCVS. 

I wonder if Mr Burns would enlighten us about how much Continuing Professional Development he has done in the last 23 years since launching Burns? How much actual vet work has he done to keep abreast of scientific knowledge? He reminds everyone that his food was created by a vet, but certainly not a current practising vet. I was a professional soldier, a musician and senior management in financial services, however, you do not see me crowing about it years later.

I think Mr Burns should look up the term “coefficient of fermentation.” when comparing animals’ gastrointestinal systems, it might be best not to think about length, girth, volume, or capacity. It might be more appropriate to look at the “coefficient of fermentation” of the animal you are feeding.

Herbivores have a high ability to extract nutrition from plant matter as the result of their ability to ferment it, and therefore have a high coefficient of fermentation. Carnivores and some Omnivores aren’t equipped to do this, especially when they have short digestive tracts, therefore they have a low “coefficient of fermentation”. Interestingly, the coefficient of fermentation is similarly low in both dogs and cats.

Dogs have really short digestive tracts and are adapted to metabolise animal flesh and fat, not grains, starch, carbs and simple sugars. If the natural design of dogs precludes the need for carbs, why would we feed them carbs, including grain? If their bodies aren’t designed to use carbs, why would we feed them something their digestive tracts aren’t equipped to process?

If John Burns thinks Maize/Corn is so good then let’s see him eat a meal with 71% of it as a carbohydrate filled with starch every single day for the next 15 years. Remember he is recommending this as whole food. Therefore, you should feed this and nothing else. Dogs are not chickens? Why is it that good dog food manufacturers actually state in large letters across their merchandise Free of all Maize and Wheat?

Simple. Science and knowledge have come on leaps and bounds in the last 30 years. The general public’s awareness through mediums like the internet and magazines has made them more discerning and knowledgeable. Would you feed your family 71% corn every day for the rest of their lives? 

Why is John Burns suggesting we feed our dogs it?  Actually, it is very simple it is all about profit and ease of manufacture. When you study a dog’s natural ancestral history, there is no mention of Maize. That is, until 1956. That was the year kibble was created. So, why did the introduction of kibble bring with it such a dramatic rise in the use of corn/maize in making dog food?

What suddenly made carbohydrates like corn, grains, and potatoes so popular with the pet food industry? The truth is Carbohydrates are cheap. Carbohydrates are vital to the kibbling process. Corn is not put into commercial dog food because it contributes some unique nutritional properties. No! It’s there simply because it supplies cheap calories for the product. And starchy carbohydrates play a critical role in a process known as gelatinization — a process that is absolutely crucial to the workings of kibble machinery.

How often do you find corn or other cereal grains in raw or canned dog food? Corn makes any pet food less expensive to produce. And it does this to reduce the more costly meat ingredients. Corn saves money for manufacturers. However, to advertise that corn is included in commercial dog food mainly because of its nutritional benefits is misleading and in my humble opinion a gross misrepresentation of the truth and the facts. I think that may be a polite way of saying it is a lie.

This Burns recipe gets a low 2.9 out of 5 on the All About Pet Food Site. That site also states: “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. With a disappointing 16-19% meat (compared with 70% maize!) this food falls a long way short of the standards you would expect at this price”.

I could not put it better myself.

(1) Bakers and Pedigree

(2) Royal Canin   

(3) My Article on The Dog Food I Tested and Recommend (Dog Food and Behaviour)

(4) The Fat and Calories In Your Dog Treats

(5) Urgent Product Recall Hills Science Plan

(6) List of 404 Complaints and Reviews Hills Science Plan

(7) Is The Veterinary Profession Broken

(7) Dogs are Dying 11% Sooner Than Ten Years Ago.

(8) Doglistener. Totally Natural Air Dried Dog Treats

Thanks to the following for invaluable information and guidance.

All About Dog Food   for their invaluable knowledge and help.


The Daily Mail–making-vet-rich.html#ixzz3bRFsiJBE

Other In-Depth Research by

©Stan Rawlinson 2016
regular updates last updated Feb 2019

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Comments (24)

  • alibama8080_250797

    Dog diet
    Just getting a new collie puppy and entering the minefield of opinion on dog food. However looking at the prices of some raw type bagged foods(working out at £10 per kilo or even more!)
    why not just feed human grade(raw) chicken or fish from the supermarket and just buy more to include the dog. Chicken is only £3 kilo and we already eat a lot of (cooked)sweet potato or peas(both very cheap ingredients in fish 4 dogs) If a dietary supplement is needed then its still cheaper to add this than buy” complete” bagged food surely? Open to opinion here!
    Ps I have horses and they are in the pink on a diet of only hay , grass and a small herbal supplement and a few carrots. No sugar filled additive stuffed bagged feeds for them!

    August 3, 2017 at 8:59 am
  • Doglistener

    Can Dogs eat Hay?

    Horses are Herbivores you could not feed a dog on hay? Therefore the analogy is incorrect However I agree with you some of the dog food is overpriced. I personally feed Bella and Duke and Fish4Dogs. neither would cost £10 per kilo. There is no sugar in raw neither is Fish4Dogs. What you have to remember is all the required amino acids, proteins, nutrients, and vitamins are added to both of these foods to get the balance right takes hard work and money but not in the amounts you are suggesting.

    August 16, 2017 at 9:32 pm
  • akovacevic21_252652

    Royal Canin
    I totally agree with you.I live in Montenegro, south-east Europe and the most popular food in here is Royal Canin, and we do have most of other brands but what I was surprised by reading your article is that Mars is making Pedigree and Royal Canin and most of the Vets in here would tell you that Pedigree is nothing comparing to Royal Canin.That is obviously because they sell RC.I do not think that RC is that good, as you explained but it is expensive at the same time.I would appreciate your opinion about German Josera dry dog food, super premium, grain-free, and as well German Belcando canned dog food.Thanks, Sasha

    November 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm
    • Doglistener

      German Dog Food

      Unfortunately, these brands are not currently available in the UK. However, I see someone else has commented on them below.

      Best wishes


      February 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm
  • Doglistener

    Royal Canin

    I totally agree with you it certainly not what I would call a premium food and is far too expensive for the ingredients.

    With regard to German Josera dry dog food, super premium, grain-free, and as well German Belcando canned dog food. They are not available as far as I know in the UK. Therefore I would not be able to comment on them.

    November 30, 2017 at 11:00 am
  • mick.massie_255449

    Puppy food
    I am just about to pick up a puppy that is being fed with Skinner’s Field and Trial Puppy, and was planning to continue with that. How does this measure up in your experience ? I haven’t bought any yet, do haven’t been able to study the ingredients.

    May 12, 2018 at 7:16 pm
    • Doglistener

      Skinners Puppy Food

      I have four working gundogs Working Cockers I do not feed them, Skinners. Though it has to be said some of the gundog people swear by it. Whether that is from ignorance or experience I am not sure. It scores 3.2 out of 5  on all about dog food website and that is because of the ingredients and the one that stands out is the Maize and the Maize Gluten Meal. If they had not split it is would definitely be the highest ingredient well above the chicken. Personally, I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole because Maize in dog food is a cheap filler that is very contentious. They have split the grain so that it does not come up as the first ingredient I find that both ethically and morally wrong.

      May 13, 2018 at 4:55 pm
  • bradshawnicola_256574

    Dog food
    What would you suggest I feed my 3 yr old patterdale terrier, he’s very windy??

    July 25, 2018 at 7:30 am
  • Doglistener

    Dog Food

    The link number 3 at the end of the article will take you to the article that explains what is the best in each category and what I feed my dogs.

    August 3, 2018 at 11:50 am
  • sharon1shadow_257861

    Puppy food
    Hi, I have a puppy who is almost four months now, I put her on harringtons puppy food, the problem I’ve found with it is that she’s very windy and is having about ten poops a day, I do weigh her food and she’s now being fed twice daily, it’s kib ble, how can one dog poop so much, I’ve also a four Yr old husky who was on dried food from Where his food was tailor made to suit him, which I thought oh great, he is 30kgms gets his food halved into twice a day, he went from one to two poos a day to five + can u tell me what is it that was causing my dogs to poop so many times, I’ve changed their food now and their both bk to one to two poos a day. I’m also looking for a good dried dog food for my puppy, I would really appreciate your input and advice if you can help me with any recommendations. Thank you.

    December 26, 2018 at 1:52 pm
    • Doglistener


      The first ingredient in all three adult varieties is Maize which many canine nutritionists class as little more than a filler*. The named meat source accounts for just 14% of the food* (although there is another unspecified amount of an unspecified meat meal further down the ingredients list) – both of which are distinct traits of a mid-range food.

      To its credit, Harringtons is free from artificial additives, uses high-quality meat meal and includes nutritious kelp and linseed. It is worth noting though that the ‘Turkey and Veg‘ variety would be much better named ‘Turkey and Peas’ since it, unfortunately, doesn’t contain any other vegetables.

      Iy is the Maize part that is probably causing the big stools though I have to say he is overstepping the normal amount of toileting and something in the food may be irritating the bowels, probably the maize

      February 10, 2019 at 10:06 am
  • george.dewar06_259322

    Land of Holistic Pets
    We have been feeding our two working cockers Land of Holistic Pets Robbies brand for several years now one dog 12 years old and the other 10 year old they get daily commnets on how healthy they look some people saying two lovely puppies. One of the vets are our local practice passed on his apologies he has been given the wrong dog records saying your dogs not 12 years old. As Land of Holistic Pets is the break away from Burns by the George Burns brother of John Burns after George disagreed on the product changes his brother was making to please investors. How would you rate Land of Holistic Pets Robbies range look forward to your reply

    February 5, 2019 at 8:29 pm
  • Doglistener

    Land of Holistic Pets

    Unfortunately. I have never tested or analyzed Land of Holistic Pets Food. But I was very interested in the fact that George Burns broke away from his brother over changes to ingredients in Burns pet food, something I have been saying for a number of years now as I used to recommend Burns all the time. 

    I think I would probably concur that John may have allowed the god of profit to cloud his judgement. I will look a little closer at Land of Holistic Pets. However, as an investigative journalist and behaviourist and researched your name and you may have a vested interest in this question as you appear to be involved in the pet food industry?

    February 10, 2019 at 10:16 am
    • george_263377

      Misleading information about George Burns
      Hi – I noticed that George Dewar, one of the current owners of JKR Pet Foods Ltd trading as Land Of Holistic Pets had suggested that I left Burns Pet Nutrition ( Scotland ) Ltd because there had been a change in the ingredients. This is fundamentally not true and is misleading. Since I sold the assets and stock of Land Of Holistic Pets Ltd to JKR Pet Foods Ltd I have came across a number of mistruths and some very serious misrepresentation. Not least a purchase of over 10000 euros for packaging in my business name – Land Of Holistic Pets Ltd which I still own.
      While I have always advocated against the use of corn and wheat in dogs foods this was not the reason for moving on. There was some serious issues going on around that time with treats and as you suggest – the god of profit was at play. It is important to emphasis that I am now retired and have nothing whatsoever to do with any products now produced by JKR Pet Foods Ltd trading as Land Of Holistic Pets. I find it sad that these people use my good name in vain and I apologise for the misleading information. George Burns

      March 16, 2020 at 5:13 pm
  • elaine A

    hills science
    a visit to the vet with 2 of my dogs ended with the vet telling me that my dog food was inadequate(aatu kibble fish and meat variety) usually mixed with boiled fresh chicken or nature diet meat or salmon variety. she then recommended that i buy hills science plan as this would provide what was lacking in my dogs diet.and the ingredient that was lacking was maize as dogs need carbohydrates apparently I DIDNT TAKE HER ADVICE, but still cant seem to find out why one of my 4 dogs scratches to the point where his hair comes out, without having tests costing £500 and rising to double that,and being told they probably wouldnt be able to work out what it is anyway. and the receptionist wanted to give my dogs a treat A SCHMACKO grrrrrr i said no thanks they dont eat them and i had just parted with £100 for release of an impacted anal gland and a touch of colitis(pepcid pills) on one dog and diet advice for the itchy skin on the other. i go to the vets for advice and willingly pay for it, but sometimes i really do despair and wonder why do i bother.

    May 5, 2019 at 7:30 pm
  • Doglistener

    Hills Science Plan

    I could not agree with you more. The problem with some Vets is they are totally motivated by money and profit. The majority of independent Vets have disappeared to be replaced by large multi practices. This happened in 1999 when rules were changed to allow non-vets to own practices, the number of sites owned by corporate groups has grown enormously

    Independent Vetcare, the UK’s largest corporate with more than 500 sites, employs 2,800 veterinary professionals, CVS 3,250, Vets4Pets has 2,450, Medivet 1,850, VetPartners employs 1,250 and Linnaeus has 325 vets. I believe it was this corporatisation that has put the Veterinary profession in a less than favourable light.

    May 18, 2019 at 9:27 am
  • george.dewar06_259322

    Land of Holistic Pets
    Hi Stan, yes you are correct I do have a have a vested interest in the company as after being a customer for many years the business was put for sale and I made an investment into the business by purchasing the trade name, assets and products along with members of my family. The business has never been marketed for 4 or 5 years due to George Burns moving to the states some years back and the business still survived with only a small lost in turnover over the years is a statement on its on of the customer royalty and its ability to sell its self through recommendations.
    Have you look at the Luaths dog food brand its brown Rice based and competes agains burns pet nutrition its wheat and gluten free. The Robbies range is made in house in Kilmarnock and one of the products Robbies Kidney Support is a amazing product for dogs suffering from for pancreatitis as such Vets are now recommending.
    Stan I would like to offer you our products to review both our Luaths range and Robbies and if any of your followers have a dog suffering from for pancreatitis I would be willing to offer a free trail. PM me

    October 9, 2019 at 11:00 am
    • george_263377

      Again – This is not true
      George Dewar was never a customer. The only time his dogs tried my products was after he expressed and interest in purchasing the the assets and stock and I gave him some to take home and try.

      March 16, 2020 at 5:18 pm
    • joannanewman84_266432

      Hi there,
      One of my dogs has been in intensive care since last Thursday with acute severe pancreatitis. The vet has (obviously) mentioned Hills and Royal Canin, which I’m keen to avoid. I came across this website and then your comment and have visited your site.
      I’m going to order a sample of the Robbies – he’ll continue to be tube fed for a while but I want a decent dry food to start tempting him to eat properly again and it looks like it ticks all the boxes.
      Thank you!

      January 11, 2021 at 9:44 pm
  • Doglistener

    Land of Holistic Pets

    I would certainly be interested in trying out this brand of food. Give me a call.

    October 9, 2019 at 11:59 am
  • jamesrweir_265703

    Skinners dog food
    I think you are being a bit unkind and very slightly misleading about Skinners. Everything you say about the variety you chose to comment on is indeed true. They make wide range of products and all have a full and accurate list of ingredients. I feed Duck and Rice and if you look up the details on their website it conforms with all you state is good and wholesome i.e. whole rice and specified meat. If you value your dogs health you need to research carefully and make your own decisions. I wouldn’t feed the variety you highlight either. I am not having a go at you and I read all your emails with great interest and mostly agree 100% with you. Have a look at Duck and Rice and tell me what you think. P.S. I don’t work for Skinners. James

    November 11, 2020 at 9:46 pm
  • Doglistener

    Skinners Dog Food

    I do not disagree with what you have said Skinners with some of their ingredients have come on leaps and bounds. However, I was asked to comment on what the person told me she was feeding her puppy Skinner’s Field and Trial Puppy, What is in other bags of Skinners may well be different, but the one I was asked about I was correct in suggesting concerns, These are the ingredients. There is a case of grain splitting to move Maize down the pecking order which probably would have been 1st in the ingredients list if they did not use two maize products. it may not be illegal but it is immoral in my way of thinking, Read my article about Royal Canin and one of the things they are doing in excess is grain splitting

    Chicken Meat Meal (min 30%), Maize, Chicken Fat, Brown Rice, Oats, Maize Gluten Meal, Sunflower Meal, Whole Linseed, Beet Pulp, Whole Dried Egg, Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Elements, Yeast, MOS.

    November 29, 2020 at 7:17 pm
  • Jeanne.richards_268838

    Heart disease linked to grain free food for dogs
    I am horrified to learn that my three year old Labrador/Springer has developed heart disease, shown by a heart scan to investigate a murmur. The cardiologist vet has told me that a link has been found between grain free dog food and taurine-deficient dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs. I thought I was doing my best for my fur-baby after extensively researching dog food by feeding her grain free, high quality kibble and wet food, so I am really upset to learn this now.

    July 30, 2021 at 9:31 am
  • Doglistener

    Heart Disease Linked to Grain Free Dog Food

    Since when has grain been a primal diet for dogs? Jeanne, please do not believe everything you read or they say these large conglomerates have scientists and nutritionists in their pockets. Grain in dog food are used as cheap fillers in my own store I will never sell dog food with grain I also will never sell products with preservatives, colourants, additives or ethoxyquins. They will be telling us next that the dogs joints are suffering because there are no artificial flavours in them.

    August 6, 2021 at 9:02 am

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