• Three in ten dog owners have no idea what is in their dog’s food
  • Expert vet reveals the hidden nasties found in dog food, highlighting the need for greater education and transparency in the pet food industry
  • Fresh, human-quality dog food brand Butternut Box encourages owners to question what they’re feeding by creating the first edible billboard for dogs

Millions of dog owners have no idea what is in their pet’s food, according to new research commissioned by fresh dog food brand Butternut Box.

A poll of 2,000 dog owners found that almost half (48 per cent) could only name up to three ingredients when quizzed on what they feed their dog.

Price is the deciding factor for 45 per cent of owners when choosing which dog food to buy, whilst one in eight (13 per cent) are swayed by the packaging alone.

The research revealed that 36 per cent of dog owners are worried that their canine might not have a healthy diet, and almost one in four (23 per cent) find it hard to understand the ingredients listed on dog food labels.

As a result, 40 per cent find planning their dog’s diet more stressful than figuring out their own. A further 41 per cent are calling for clearer labelling on dog food packaging.

As many dog owners struggle to find a ‘healthy’ food which is right for their pet, 44 per cent admit they feel confused by contradictory advice on what makes a healthy diet for dogs.

The research was commissioned by fresh dog food brand, Butternut Box, which has revealed an edible billboard in a South London park to highlight the importance of fresh, healthy nutrition for dogs.

The brand is putting the food back into dog food, creating meals with human-quality ingredients, taste-tested by humans.

Butternut Box’s in-house Vet, Dr Ciara Clarke (BSc Hons, BVSc MRCVS), said:

“Food is such an important factor when it comes to our dogs living long, healthy, and happy lives. A healthy diet can help to prevent many issues and illnesses, but getting the portion sizes and ingredients right is crucial.

“It’s clear from this research that dog parents are confused when it comes to what to feed their dog and how much they should be feeding. We need greater transparency and information around dogs’ diets to help owners to make better, more informed choices.

“Many people don’t know that dog foods are often packed with nasties like rendered, hydrolysed, or pasteurised animal byproducts, along with artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives.

“A lot of manufacturers avoid stating that they use these sorts of ingredients, so it’s best to practise caution when it comes to vague references to ingredients. At Butternut Box, we encourage dog owners to read the label when selecting their dog food, and I do the same with my clients when in vet practices.

“It’s not only the ingredients to look out for, but the way dog food is cooked too. For example, dry dog food – or kibble – is made through a process called extrusion, which takes raw ingredients and cooks them at extremely high pressure and temperatures. This is likely to strip a proportion of the beneficial nutrients away.“

As more than one in three owners (37 per cent) describe their pet as a “fussy” eater, the research also explored the feeding habits of the nation’s pooches.

17 per cent of those surveyed said their pups turn their nose up at the bowl at mealtimes, with one in 10 (11 per cent) consistently refusing what they are being served.

A further three in 10 typically show more interest in what their owners are having for dinner. As a result, 61 per cent of dog parents feed their beloved pooch ‘human’ food at least once a week.

Whilst one in four dog owners admit they feel guilt-tripped into sharing their meals, almost a quarter (23 per cent) do so because they believe fresh, human-quality food is better for their dog.

Butternut Box’s in-house Vet, Dr Ciara Clarke (BSc Hons, BVSc MRCVS) added:

“Dogs deserve the very best. It’s important that dog parents have a good understanding about what their dogs need from their diet and what to feed them, ensuring they have the correct portion sizes and the right balance of nutrients for all life stages too.

“At Butternut Box, we’re committed to using only fresh, human quality ingredients you can see and say with none of the nasties. Our food is gently cooked and quickly frozen to lock in the freshness without relying on preservatives, and then delivered perfectly portioned for each dog.

“We believe this is essential to ensure every dog has a tasty, nutritious diet that helps them to stay fit and healthy for longer. We even taste test the recipes ourselves!”

Source: Butternut Box

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