Roast dinners, bangers and mash, steak and cottage pie have been revealed as some of the most commonly eaten and favourite meals of our pets.
In research revealed on behalf of Butcher’s Lean & Tasty, three quarters of the country’s canine owners regularly serve up top quality meals – usually in the form of left-overs – to their pets. The research also found that the average pet dog will work their way through a minimum of three of its owner’s meals a week.
In addition, over half of dogs share snacks with their owner, with biscuits being the number one treat, while a further one fifth split a bag of crisps with their canine.
Clare Scallon of Butcher’s Lean & Tasty, which conducted the study said: “We firmly believe that this aspect of ‘humanising’ dogs comes from the very real love and friendship owners feel towards their pets.
“There is no intention of treating the animals badly, wanting to give the pet an unhealthy diet or contributing to a shorter life.
“Instead owners just want to treat their dogs as their best friend, and in doing so think nothing of sharing the odd meal or snack. A dog offers endless love and companionship, but a dog is a dog, and should be treated just as that especially where diet and fitness are concerned.”
The study also found while owners are inadvertently contributing to an unhealthy diet for their pets, they are trying to ensure their dog is exercised regularly so they lead an active and fit life.
In fact, 55% are walked daily – while the average British dog is taken on two walks a day at least five days a week for about 23 minutes a time.
But if the weather is bad, six in 10 owners admit they just let the dog out into the back garden for a quick run round, rather than taking them out for a longer walk.
However, 87% of loving owners regularly play with the dog at home, and 14% go to pet exercise classes.
Worryingly, one third of those polled acknowledge their pet usually puts on weight – sometimes up to seven pounds – during the winter months with 45% of owners saying that’s okay.
But a large number of dog owners do worry their dog does not lead a particularly healthy lifestyle, and four in 10 admit it is not acceptable for their dog to put on weight because they have been walked less, or fed human meals.
In a bid to get the nation’s dogs back on track, Butcher’s is launching a search for the Lean & Tasty Fittest Dog in Britain. Visit www.butcherspetcare.co.uk/competition to enter.