A recent study conducted by pet food brand Edgard & Cooper discovered that a staggering three-quarters of UK pet owners allowed their furry companions to overindulge during the Christmas festivities.

The poll, surveying 2,000 dog owners, found that 76 percent confessed to letting their pets indulge, with 73 percent of those serving their dogs a Christmas dinner. Notably, Londoners emerged as the main culprits, with 81 percent admitting to overfeeding their canine companions during the festive period.

Furthermore, the study highlighted that Londoners were more inclined than any other region in the UK to put their dogs on a diet post-festive season, with 37 percent intending to do so if their pets had overindulged.

Calling for a Flexitarian Diet

As a response to this concerning trend, pet food brand Edgard & Cooper is advocating for a shift towards a flexitarian diet for dogs, especially as Veganuary approaches. Collaborating with health advocate and Deliciously Ella founder, Ella Mills, the brand aims to promote awareness of the benefits of adopting a flexitarian approach to combat weight gain in dogs after the festive season.

Despite an increasing number of Brits consuming more plant-based foods themselves, only 37 percent are familiar with a flexitarian diet, and even fewer, 29 percent, are aware that this approach can be extended to their pets. This indicates a considerable gap in knowledge about how this emerging dietary trend can be adapted for dogs.

Highlighting the importance of monitoring dogs’ diets, Edgard & Cooper’s pet nutritionist, Mikki Koot, emphasised the impact of seemingly small treats on a dog’s calorie intake. For instance, offering a 20kg dog a cube of cheese (60g) is equivalent to two doughnuts in human terms, while a 190g rawhide bone equates to seven doughnuts.

Ella Mills, an advocate of a plant-based lifestyle for both humans and pets, remarked on the positive impact a flexitarian diet can have, stressing its health benefits and environmental implications. She emphasized the potential for a plant-rich approach to contribute to a healthier diet for dogs. The pet food brand encourages integrating more vegetables into pets’ diets, citing that dogs enjoy vegetables like carrots, broccoli, sprouts, and peas, all of which offer essential vitamins and minerals.