Human guinea pig: 4 out of 10 people admit to tasting their animal’s food

NEW YORK ( — When pets are around, beware, a new study reveals that anything can become “food.” The average pet owner catches their pet eating something they shouldn’t be eating about four times a day.

A survey of 2,004 cat and dog owners reveals that 61% lost sleep over the thought of their pet eating something they shouldn’t. 39% even caught their pet rummaging through the trash. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ElleVet, the survey shows that more than half of respondents (56%) use the words “stop” and “no” to curb their pet’s unwanted behavior, while around one third (35%) will put their pet on “time out”.

Other harms seen by respondents include unnecessary vocalizations or barking (41%), climbing on curtains or other furniture (40%) and stealing food from a human’s plate (38% ).

According to Dr. Joseph Wakshlac, professor of nutrition and sports medicine at Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, these habits don’t usually come from a malicious place on the part of your dog or cat.

“In many cases, foreign object ingestion can be a learned behavior in dogs, especially when another pet in the household plays with or eats it,” Wakshlag says in a statement. “Additionally, research has shown that dogs ingest or lick foreign objects when they have gastrointestinal upset, so this behavior should be followed up with questions about appetite, nausea, or regurgitation.”

Pet food taste test

The survey also explored how far pet owners will go to manage what goes into the bodies of their furry friends. Almost three-quarters (74%) will read reviews of a product before giving it to their pets.

However, 39% go so far as to test the product on themselves first, with food (56%) and treats (53%) being the most common things pet owners will taste first! Among those who acted as a guinea pig for their own pet, 53% did so out of sheer curiosity. 29% even admit that the product seemed good to them.

Nearly half of respondents (46%) trust their vet the most when it comes to new products for their fur babies, so it’s no surprise that 48% consult their vet about safety of a new product. More than three quarters (77%) believe they are well educated about what they can and cannot give their pets.

Seventy-one percent also agree that they are more careful about giving new products to their pets than trying something new themselves. No matter who they consult, 77% of pet owners closely monitor their pet after giving them something new.

“Because dogs and cats have unique toxicities compared to humans, it’s always safer to use species-specific products,” Wakshlag notes. “Using products with the National Animal Supplement Council’s seal of approval is the safest, as we know these products have been vetted by a third party.”


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