Current AffairsPet Owners

Nearly half of UK dog owners feed their pooches harmful human foods

Nearly half of UK dog owners said they fed their pooch human food twice a week, with over a quarter letting them indulge in cheese, dairy and salty foods, a new study by Everypaw has revealed.

Research into the habits of 1,000 dog owners by pet healthcare company examined the daily diets of canines, finding that owners were willing to give their dogs human foods – even if they may be harmful.

According to the study, nearly half of dog owners admitted they give their dog human food one to two times a week, and 27 percent were happy to let their dogs indulge in cheese, despite dairy foods been on the list of the most common food allergies in canines.

Some 19 percent also thought it’s fine to feed their dogs bacon, despite salt causing potential threats such as upset stomachs and bloating. When looking into owner’s views on the raw meat trend, 44 percent said their dogs were on a strict raw meat diet, even though some vets say it could be harmful.

As part of the research, Everypaw recruited three “unfit dogs” to partake in the Get Fido Fit Challenge, in which the dogs were given strict diet and exercise plans for six weeks, based on the expert advice of Everypaw vets. They were given a PitPat tracker to track their progress, and with a few lifestyle changes, every dog lost weight and became more active.

Everypaw vet Dr Anna Foreman BVetMed MRCVS said: “Most human foods should be avoided as they can be high in salt, fats and very calorific – feeding your dog a can of tuna, for example, is equivalent to a person eating three doughnuts. It’s especially dangerous to feed dogs dairy products because, as well as being high in calories, dogs do not have the enzyme needed to break down these foods, leading to upset stomachs.”

“The research shows that owners have a relaxed attitude to feeding their dogs bacon, despite higher salt foods predisposing to hypertension, heart disease and kidney problems. Raw food is an emerging trend, but it may carry a greater risk of exposure to food poisoning organisms, including E Coli, salmonella and clostridia”

Rachel Mulheron, director of pet insurance at Everypaw, added: “The health and wellbeing of pets is our passion and we wanted to explore this further in the run up to Pet Obesity Awareness Day on 10 October. It’s great to see how much people love their dogs, but the research suggests some aren’t giving their dogs the right exercise and diet.

“Dog obesity is a definite problem in the UK, and it’s important owners know how to take care of their pups for a long and fulfilled life.”

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