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Family member most likely to be person who sneaks the dog human food under the table

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Smiling cheerful girl having tasty breakfast while sitting at the kitchen at home, eating pancakes

More than seven in 10 dog owners admit their pup gets more table scraps during the holidays than any other time of the year, according to new research.

In a poll of 2,002 American dog owners, 70% of respondents said they have to set boundaries with their guests about feeding their dog people food during holiday gatherings.

But there’s always one family member who can’t resist the puppy dog eyes; 29% of people identified their mom as the most likely culprit to feed their dog under the table during dinner.

And while 78% of respondents strictly monitor what their dog eats in order to maintain their health, more than two-thirds (64%) of owners deviate from their dog’s typical diet during the holiday season. 

The poll, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ORIJEN High Protein Dog Biscuits, also revealed that health and safety is always at the forefront of pet parents’ minds, as four in five always 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 scrap to avoid, with only 6% believing chocolate fudge is safe. 

And while the majority (53%) know white meat turkey is safe, respondents were a bit fuzzier on other safe foods. Only 40%, for example, know that green beans are generally clear for dogs to eat.

Meanwhile, 17% of respondents weren’t aware of the dangers that pecan pie can pose to dogs, and 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,” said Dr. Darcia Kostiuk, senior veterinarian for ORIJEN pet food. “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.”

In fact, 80% of dog parents are likely to make their pups a special meal of their own during the holidays, and half have even cooked them their very own steak dinner.

On top of extra walks and gourmet meals, 58% of dog owners will include their pooch in holiday celebrations by bringing them along on family walks.

Another 85% are likely to include their dog in holiday photos, and 74% 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% 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,” said Dr. Kostiuk. “While the occasional table scrap is usually fine, choosing healthy, dog-appropriate treats that make up no more than 10% of their daily caloric intake will always be the safest, nourishing option when indulging our pets.”


  • Mom - 29%
  • Spouse - 29%
  • Me - 29%
  • Dad - 28%
  • Grandma - 25%

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