NEW YORK — Is watching your dog’s weight a potential New Year’s resolution to add to the list? More than seven in 10 dog owners admit their pup gets more table scraps during the holidays than any other time of the year.
In a poll of 2,002 American dog owners, 70 percent note they have to set boundaries with their guests about feeding their dog people food during holiday gatherings. However, there’s always one family member who can’t resist the puppy dog eyes. In fact, 29 percent point the finger at their mom as the most likely culprit to feed their dog under the table during dinner.
While 78 percent of respondents strictly monitor what their dog eats in order to maintain their health, nearly two-thirds (64%) deviate from their dog’s typical diet during the holiday season.
Holidays are the most wonderful time of year for dogs too
The poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ORIJEN High Protein Dog Biscuits, also reveals that health and safety is always at the forefront of pet parents’ minds. Four in five never forget check to make sure the table scraps are safe before feeding it to them.
The survey also tested dog owners’ knowledge of which common holiday dishes are safe for dogs and which aren’t. Most respondents were clear on what scraps to avoid, with 94 percent knowing that chocolate fudge is unsafe.
Although the majority of the poll (53%) know white meat turkey is safe, respondents were a bit fuzzier on other safe foods. Only 40 percent, for example, know that green beans are generally safe for dogs to eat. Meanwhile, 17 percent weren’t aware of the dangers that pecan pie can pose to dogs. A quarter didn’t know that the ingredients in pumpkin pie can also have harmful effects.
“Just because specific ingredients might be safe for dogs, doesn’t mean dishes containing those ingredients are automatically safe,” says Dr. Darcia Kostiuk, senior veterinarian for ORIJEN pet food, in a statement. “Natural pumpkin can be a good treat, but most pie recipes are loaded with sugar and cream that dogs have a hard time digesting. Instead, pet parents should stick to lean proteins that mirror ones they might find in their dog’s food, like unseasoned chicken or turkey.”
Pet’s personal chef
Four in five dog parents are likely to make their pups a special meal of their own during the holidays. Half the poll have even cooked them their very own steak dinner. On top of extra walks and gourmet meals, 58 percent of dog owners will include their pooch in holiday celebrations by bringing them along on family walks.
Another 85 percent are likely to include their dog in holiday photos and 74 percent will give their dog presents, most frequently special treats (75%). Almost two-thirds (63%) of dog owners keep their four-legged family members healthy by feeding them a certain kind of food. In fact, 42 percent of respondents have switched their dog’s diet because they felt it was making them gain too much weight.
“A balanced diet is one of the most important ways pet parents can help keep their dog happy and healthy,” adds Dr. Kostiuk. “While the occasional table scrap is usually fine, choosing healthy, dog-appropriate treats that make up no more than 10 percent of their daily caloric intake will always be the safest, nourishing option when indulging our pets.”