The 12 treats of Christmas: Dogs set to receive 205 million extra treats collectively on Christmas day
- It’s not just humans who are set to overindulge this Christmas, with owners expected to feed their dogs an extra 12 treats on Christmas day – 62 per cent more calories than their daily recommendation
- Three-quarters (74 per cent) do not plan to give their pets any more exercise over the festive period to balance the added calories
- Extra-small dogs, such as Yorkshire Terriers, Toy Poodles and Pomeranians, are to be most at risk of piling on the pounds this festive period, consuming more than twice the recommended number of calories in treats alone
- A third (33 per cent) of owners admit to not knowing the calorie content of treats, nor whether they are good or bad for their dogs
Owners are set to spoil their pooches by giving them an additional 12 edible treats on average this Christmas day, meaning that across the country dogs will be waking up to an estimated 205 million treats on December 25th, reveals new research from Direct Line Pet Insurance1. However, the analysis2 has also highlighted that pet owners should be wary when spreading Christmas joy with their pets, with the average dog expected to be fed 62 per cent more calories worth of treats than recommended on Christmas day alone.
In fact, statistics reveal these dogs are set for a ‘double whammy’, as in addition to overfeeding their dogs, nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of owners do not plan to give their pets any more exercise, meaning these well-intentioned treats are set to do more harm than good. Perhaps even more strikingly, 740,000 owners admit they expect to give their pet less exercise over Christmas than they would usually, as regular routines are impacted by the various Christmas plans.
Therefore, the combination of less exercise, coupled with the fact 6.1 million dog owners (35 per cent) will be giving their pets more food at mealtimes and 6.6 million (37 per cent) will be giving them more treats throughout the day, this Christmas could see canine waistlines grow significantly.
However, while there is nothing wrong with giving dogs such treats on Christmas, it is important for owners to consider the size of their dog to prevent overfeeding. Smaller breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers, Toy Poodles and Pomeranians, are at greatest risk of being overfed, due to their low daily calorific requirements.
Owners of these dogs say that they are going to give their pets 12 more treats on Christmas day – 158 per cent more calories than recommended, this could affect the estimated two million owners of extra-small dog breeds across the UK. This figure falls to 79 per cent more calories for small dog breeds (around 12kgs), 65 per cent for medium dog breeds (around 20kgs) and 30 per cent for large dog breeds (24kgs+).
It seems we can’t resist spoiling our four-legged friends, with 97 per cent of dog owners – 17.4 million people – giving their pets a treat at Christmas. The most commonly given treats at Christmas are: human food such as leftover turkey and Christmas pudding (71 per cent), soft treats (68 per cent), dental chews (64 per cent) and hard treats (62 per cent).
Madeline Pike, Veterinary Nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance said: “Christmas is a time to treat the whole family, and that by no means should exclude dogs and our pets. But while many will relish the opportunity to reward their furry friends this Christmas, it is important for owners to remember not to over-indulge and to spread treats out over the festive period.
“Getting the right sized treats for your dog’s breed is very important, the calorific requirements across breeds can vary greatly, so it is important to make sure the treat you’re giving your pet is right for them. If you are giving them snacks, do make sure to keep their exercise levels up, and be sure to keep it to dog treats as well, as a lot of festive foods containing raisins and dried fruit are toxic for dogs, to keep your dog happy and healthy this Christmas.”
- ENDS -
Notes to Editors
1 Research commissioned with Opinium between 12th – 16th November among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults
2 Analysis of the calorific content of 17 popular dog treats and other foods given to dogs conducted in November 2021. Treats broken down into the following groups:
- Hard (e.g. Lily’s Kitchen Chew Sticks, Pedigree Tasty Minis)
- Soft (e.g. Pedigree Schmackos, Tesco Streaky Rashers)
- Dental (e.g. Pedigree Dentastix)
- Natural (e.g. pig’s ears, pizzles)
- Bones and hooves (e.g. marrowbones, rawhide)
- Human food (e.g. chicken breast, roast potatoes)
- Dogs broken down into four sizes: extra small (~5kg), small (~12kg), medium (~19kg) and large (~32kg). Analysis assumes that dogs receive 100 per cent of their recommended daily calorific intake through their regular meals.
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