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Nearly 40% of pet owners admit they’ve tasted their dog or cat’s food

Over 60% of pet owners have lost sleep over the thought of their furry friend eating something they shouldn’t. 

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A dog eating an ice cream from a pavement

The average pet owner catches their animal eating something they shouldn’t about four times per day, according to new research.

A poll of 2,004 cat and dog owners found that 61% have lost sleep over the thought of their pet eating something they shouldn’t. 

Another 39% said they’ve even caught their pet rummaging through the trash. 

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ElleVet, the survey found that more than half (56%) use the words “stop” and “no” to curb their pet’s unwanted behavior, while about one-third (35%) will put their pet on “time out.” 

Other misdeeds that respondents cited included unnecessary vocalization (41%), climbing curtains or other furniture (40%) and stealing food off their human’s plate (38%).

But according to Dr. Joseph Wakshlac,  professor of nutrition and sports medicine at Cornell University college of Veterinary Medicine, these habits don’t typically come from a malicious place on the part of your pooch.

“Ingestion of foreign items in many cases can be a learned behavior in dogs, particularly when another animal in the house is playing with it or eating it,” said Wakshlag. 

“In addition, research has shown that dogs will ingest or lick foreign objects when they have GI distress, so this behavior should be followed up with questions regarding appetite, nausea or regurgitation.”

The poll also explored the lengths pet owners will go to manage what makes it into their furry friends’ bodies; almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents, for example, will read the reviews of a product before giving it to their pets.

But 39% have gone so far as to test the product on themselves first, with food (56%) and treats (53%) being the most common.

Of those who’ve served as their own pet product guinea pig, 53% did so purely out of curiosity. 

And 29% even admitted that the product tasted good to them. 

The majority of respondents (46%) trust their veterinarian the most when it comes to new products for their fur babies, so it’s no surprise that almost half (48%) consult with their vet about the safety of a new product.

More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents believe themselves to be well educated in what they can and cannot give to their pets.

Seventy-one percent also agreed that they are more careful about giving their pets new products than they are trying something new themselves.

Regardless of who they consult, 77% of pet parents closely monitor their pet after giving them something new.

“Since dogs and cats have unique toxicities compared to humans, it is always safest to use products that are specifically designed with species in mind,” Wakshlag noted. “Using products with the National Animal Supplement Council seal of approval is safest. as we know these products have been vetted by a third party.”


  • Food - 56%
  • Treats - 53%
  • Medication - 50%
  • Supplements - 49%
  • Skin product - 49%

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