Feeding the nation's dogs: best friends and diet fads

  • Wanda McCormick (Speaker)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


It is often considered a given that our pets are an extension of our families and therefore cared for in an appropriate way but this is not necessarily the case. In fact, the reality of privately owned pets being outside of commercial activities means that as a group they are one of the least protected animal populations and as a result may be subject to many influencing factors when it comes to their care. Animal diets are an obvious example, where the way a pet dog is fed is subject to general legislation, industry influences, economics, education, owner choice and experience, and even fashion trends. The factors influencing the choices that UK dog owners make in feeding their pets was explored using an online questionnaire promoted by the BBC's The ONE Show. Over 36,000 responses were received from owners explaining the diet choices for their pet dog as well as their own diet. Of particular interest were the incidences of both animal-only and animal-free diets being provided to dogs in the UK, and these growing fads can have interesting health and welfare challenges moving forwards which will be discussed here.

This study featured in two feature stories on the BBC's The ONE Show in spring 2019 and the preliminary data was reported there. A publication is currently being prepared from this full study data set. A follow-on study looking at company compliance with feed legislation is currently underway.
Period17 Sept 2019
Event titleAnimal Welfare Research Network 4th Annual Meeting: New Developments in Animal Welfare Science
Event typeConference
LocationBristol, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • dog
  • animal nutrition
  • dog diet
  • canine nutrition