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Shepherd's pie and pizza: the human foods ending up in the dog bowl

As pet obesity continues to rise in the UK, it seems some owners still aren't getting the message when it comes to feeding your dog human food.

A study of 1,500 dog owners has found that one in three often give their pet a human meal, while 40 percent get family leftovers to top up their normal meal.

Amongst the dishes being served up, sausage and mash, steak pie, spaghetti bolognese and beef roast dinner were firm favourites but other dishes included gammon with egg and chips, chicken stir fry and pizza in addition to their dog food.

The poll, conducted by Freshpet, has helped researchers compile a like of 20 human dishes which regularly find their way into the dog's bowl. But these findings have come with a warning. Many human foods are harmful to dogs and can lead to obesity.

Hannah Edwards, Senior Marketing Manager for Freshpet, which carried out the research via OnePoll.com said, "We know there is a tendency for dog owners to humanise their pets, and this study certainly reinforces that trend. So central are dogs to a family’s life, they’re now being included in mealtimes and in some cases even sitting down to dinner with the family!"

The survey also found 42 percent of dogs eat at the same time as their owner, with 33 percent even sitting next to the dinner table. Almost half of dog owners would go as far to say their pet often eats better than they do - with 33 percent cooking separate meals for their pets. A further four in 10 even get a splash of gravy to accompany their meal.

Hannah adds, "However, while it is lovely to see owners care for their pets, they should always show cautions when sharing leftovers. It is thought around 40 per cent of the UK’s dogs and cats are obese and this is growing to out of control proportions and obese pets run the risk of having the same health concerns as obese humans. 

"Also, there are so many human foods which can be harmful to dogs – for example gravy on a dog’s roast dinner has a high salt content and the tomatoes used in spaghetti bolognese are toxic to dogs."

The survey also showed that some owners went a step too far as one third admit to sometimes feeding their dog foods they know they shouldn't, including chocolate (41 percent), cheese (56 percent) and bacon (47 percent). Some dogs are also fed bread (36 percent), milk (32 percent) and nuts (10 percent). 39 percent of owners admitted they rarely check the ingredients on the food they give to their dogs.

Hannah adds, "Responsible pet owners should be buying properly prepared natural pet foods which are designed to provide a completely balanced meal high in protein and vegetables with no artificial ingredients, rather than supplementing their dog or cat’s diet with human meals."

The UK's top 'dog' dinners

  1. Beef roast dinner - 38.87%
  2. Sausage and mash - 28.20%
  3. Steak pie - 26.73%
  4. Steak and chips  - 25.47%
  5. Shepherd's pie - 22.07%
  6. Cottage pie - 21%
  7. Fish and chips - 18%
  8. Spaghetti Bolognese - 17.33%
  9. Pasta - 16.87%
  10. Gammon, egg and chips - 14.93%
  11. Pizza - 14.13%
  12. Chicken stir fry - 12.67%
  13. Fish pie - 12.60%
  14. Beans on toast - 12.07%
  15. Lasagne - 12.07%
  16. Chicken tikka masala - 8.67%
  17. Spaghetti carbonara - 7.47%
  18. Lamb Rogan josh - 6.73%
  19. Soup - 5.47%
  20. Risotto - 5.47%

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