Despite this, a quarter are pledging to make a healthy New Year’s resolution for their four-legged friend. The poll of 2,000 UK dog and cat owners revealed the nation’s knowledge of pet food ingredients is extremely low, with over 62 percent – potentially equating to 10 million out of 17 million total dog and cat owners in the UK – admitting to not knowing what they’re feeding their pet.
More than half said they weren’t aware that mainstream dry pet foods contain sugar, meat derivatives, processed ingredients and artificial additives. Less than 15 percent of those surveyed were aware that ingredients such as bone ash, feathers and synthetics can be found in some of these foods.
The knowledge gap continued with around a third of pet owners not realising dogs can’t eat foods such as chocolate or onions. Conversely, owners weren’t aware of the many ingredients that can improve pet health either; 14 percent said dogs can’t eat butternut squash, which is a nutritious vegetable, and 20 percent say blueberries are a no-go despite being full of antioxidants.
Whilst only 40 percent of UK dog and cat owners are making a healthy new year’s resolution for themselves, a quarter are putting their pets first and pledged to make their four-legged friend healthier and happier.
Whilst knowledge of ingredients is low, the research showed that 26 percent of pet parents said when selecting their pet food brand their dog or cat must visibly enjoy it, and a quarter said it must make a difference to their health and wellbeing.
Top 10 list of New Year’s resolutions for pets this January:
- Go for more walks (45 percent)
- Cut down on unhealthy treats (40 percent)
- Give them a better, more natural diet (31 percent)
- Spend more time with them (30 percent)
- Brush their teeth more often (29 percent)
- Pay more attention to their training/behaviour (25 percent)
- Take them for regular health checks (21 percent)
- Stop bad habits e.g. sleeping on the bed, eating from the table (19 percent)
- Give them more regular baths (18 percent)
- Ensure they socialise with other dogs/cats (16 percent)
Melanie Sainsbury, veterinary education manager for True Instinct, said: “January is often a time where our thoughts turn to getting healthier, be it taking part in ‘Dry January’ or just generally being more conscious about what we eat – and this shouldn’t be any different for our pets. Whilst there is clearly a gap in knowledge of what’s really in certain pet foods, we understand that pet owners are often time-poor and often prioritise convenience.
“However, it’s promising to see from the research that pet parents want to make a positive change – and it doesn’t have to be difficult either.”