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Stop putting your dog on your diet

Animal bioscience experts say you might be barking up the wrong tree when you try to get your dog to eat the same way you do.

Stop putting your dog on your diet
[Photo: Nathália Arantes/Unsplash]
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People look like their dogs—and eat like them too.

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This is the finding of a new study in PLoS One. If you’ve ever wondered why organic, keto, and grain-free (and thus gluten-free!) dog foods abound, look no further than the dinner plates of dog owners: The study found that dog owners seek dog foods with the same characteristics as their own foods.

A prime example is the popularity of low-carb and gluten-free diets among humans, and grain-free dog food, which makes up over 40% of available dog foods in the United States, says the study. Researchers surveyed 3,300 pet owners in five countries, and found that nearly a fifth of American respondents and a third of German respondents seek no-grain dog foods—despite known links between grain-free dog food and life-threatening heart problems in dogs. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning on grain-free dog food three years ago, and is currently investigating the issue. Strong sales continue, “despite there being no scientific evidence that grains are detrimental to the health of dogs,” says lead author Sydney Banton, an animal biosciences graduate student at the University of Guelph.

The dog owners most likely to choose grain-free dog food also:

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  • practice more than 5 specific dietary routines themselves
  • eat no-grain diets themselves
  • learn about pet food from pet store staff or online

The dog owners least likely to opt for grain-free are male or from France.