For centuries, dog has been a man’s best friend, showering their owners with companionship and loyalty. In fact, 67% of dog owners named their pooch their best friend according to new research by Asda Money. And it seems the special bond with our four-legged friends has grown closer than ever before, with UK pet owners admitting to putting their dog’s dietary needs before their own when it comes to mealtimes.
Further research has revealed that when choosing what type of pet food to purchase, over half (62%) of UK dog owners place most importance on health and nutritional benefits, with other factors such as brand (33%) and cost (38%) being less of a priority. Yet, when it comes to our own food intake, flavour (59%) impacts our decision making the most.
As a dog loving nation, it’s no surprise that 55% of owners strongly agree that a healthy diet is extremely important for their canine companion. However, it seems we’re not as good at taking care of ourselves, with just over a third (39%) of people placing the same importance on their own health, when it comes to their diet.
Alistair Ball, Head of Pet Insurance at Asda Money, said: “The results from the research we conducted have shown the lengths that pet owners will go to, to ensure they have a happy and healthy pet. With the majority of people putting their dog before themselves, it’s not surprising that we have a nation of pampered pets. 53% of people admit to feeding their dog before themselves, even if they’re hungry, that is true canine love!
“Caring for your pet, through a nutritional diet, regular check-ups with the vet, and making sure you have the right level of pet insurance so you’re covered for all eventualities, is the best way to keep those tails wagging with joy.”
The research also highlighted some potential areas for concern, such as a disconnect between providing healthy meals and treating dogs to human foods. Over a third (38%) admitted to feeding their pooch chocolate and cheese, which in some cases, can be extremely toxic. Rather worryingly, 68% only claimed to know ‘some’ of the food items which are dangerous for dogs to consume. So, are we potentially spoiling our canine companions to the point of causing unnecessary harm?
With obesity on the rise, in both humans and pets alike, it’s no surprise that there has been a rise in people opting for a ‘free-from’ diet recently. And it appears the trend has extended into the canine world too, with 60% of dog owners also considering their dog’s dietary requirements when browsing the pet food aisles.
Alistair, continues: “It’s clear people want to treat their dogs, with 36% giving them daily treats. Yet, staggeringly, 87% of people actually shun healthy homemade dog treats, having never tried to create them at home before. To encourage healthy, easy eating, we’ve launched ‘On Your Marks, Get Set, Bark!’. This campaign encourages people to make healthy treats by showcasing simple-to-make doggy recipes, just in time for Christmas when we can all be guilty of a little overindulgence – including our pets!”
For further tips and advice on how to keep your dog healthy, and create your own nutritional doggy treats, please visit Asda Money for recipes, which includes simple to make how-to videos by leading food blogger, Ciara, from ‘My Fussy Eater’.