Pooch Parents: Do you feed your dog human food?

Updated 20 June 2024
Read time: 11 mins
article author
Written by Charlotte Niblett

The fact of the matter is, we love our pups! We’d give them the world without a second thought. And when it comes to food, there’s nothing like a tasty treat to get that tail wagging.

But where our food-loving pups would happily wolf down anything we give them, not all the treats we find so yummy sit well in their tummy - especially when the treat in question hasn’t been made with pups in mind. But, a scrap of leftovers here, a little biscuit there - what’s the harm right?

Well, there’s been plenty of conversation amongst experts about dog owners’ awareness of the impact certain foods, particularly human treats, have on our dog’s overall health and wellbeing. That said, we wanted to do a little digging of our own.

We checked in with 1,500 dog owners across the UK to assess their dogs’ feeding habits including; where they stand with giving dogs human food, exactly how much they know about what’s going into their dog’s bellies and whether it’s doing them more harm than good. Alongside our findings, we’re here as pooch experts to guide you on the best possible diet for a happy and healthy pup.


What human food do dog pawrents commonly feed their pups?

46% of dog parents admitted to feeding their pooches human junk food.

It’s true to say that not all human food we give to our dogs is bad for them. There are many things we can happily share with our pooch that align with their healthy doggy diet and are often encouraged.

For example, over half (52%) of dog pawrents revealed that they feed their pooch meat like chicken, beef and pork. This is one food that we can certainly share with our pups, being a great source of protein and used as some of the main ingredients found in their dog food.

Boiled, plain chicken for example is a great and recommended alternative for dogs who are experiencing digestive issues, as it’s easy on the tummy. But be mindful of allergies - chicken is actually the most common allergen in dogs!

Whilst meat is a very tasty treat you can share with your dog, you should always make sure that any cooked meat you give your dog is boneless and seasonless. Common encroûtements we tend to eat with meat, like onions and garlic, are very toxic to dogs.

Over two-thirds of dog owners (57%) said they also feed their pooch fruits and vegetables. Again, these are a tasty and healthy snack that both you and your pooch can enjoy, and you’ll often see many fruits and veggies crop up as ingredients in their dog food. However, it’s important to be aware of which fruits and vegetables are off limits due to being harmful, like the aforementioned onions and garlic. 

Over a quarter (27%) of dog parents said that they also feed their pups dairy products like cheese, yoghurt, milk and ice cream.


Cheese can be a high-reward treat for some pups, however, it’s very high in fat and salt so should be used very sparingly. On the other hand,it’s common for dogs to be lactose intolerant, so too much dairy can cause an upset tummy.


Since some human foods are encouraged when it comes to treating your dog, boundaries can often become blurred and it’s easy to forget that you should be on the lookout for potentially harmful ingredients. Especially when sneaking them a cheeky bite of leftovers.

Nearly half of dog parents admitted to feeding their pup human junk food, with 17% of dog pawrents admitted to feeding them sweet treats like chocolate and biscuits, 15% feeding their pups savoury treats like crisps and crackers, and 14% feeding them take away food like pizza, crusts and chips!

As a society, we’re already told that junk food isn’t good for our human bodies, so of course it can’t be doing our dogs any good! Especially with so many unknown ingredients in junk food, including additives and fats - these kinds of human food treats should stay out of your dog’s diet.

How often are dog pawrents feeding their pup’s human food?

1/3 dogs get fed human food and treats up to three times per week, with 1/7 pups getting fed daily

We’ve seen that the majority of dog parents have admitted to feeding their pups human food, but how often are they doing so?

One in three dog owners surveyed reported that they feed their pups ‘human food’ up to three times a week (30%), with one in eight (13%) saying they do so every day.

The danger of feeding your dog human food daily is that you open up opportunities for them to consume something potentially harmful. Plus, relying on food that hasn’t been specifically formulated with dogs in mind means they miss out on other beneficial ingredients, supplements and probiotics they may need to aid areas like joints and digestion.


If you’re looking to treat your dog every day and you’re unsure of what’s safe to give them, you could always opt for our Meaty Treats Taster Pack! Packed full of flavour, they contain 100% doggy-safe ingredients like chicken, turkey, duck and shrimp. With meaty allergies being so common in dogs, our Peanut Butter Probiotic Nutty Treats provide a mouth-watering, vegan alternative and make for a yummy and safe everyday treat.



What encourages dog pawrents to feed pups human food?

Almost half of dog pawrents admit to feeding their pups human food because they believe they enjoy it and makes them happy


With our results showing that dogs are regularly fed human food whilst there are so many specially formulated dog treats out there, what is driving dog pawrents to share their food?

With 46% of dog pawrents revealing to sneak their pet a human food snack because they think it makes them happy, nearly a quarter (24%) admitted to giving into those puppy dog eyes and feeling sorry for them when they beg for food. 12% said they don’t like seeing or hearing them beg so give in to their pleas.

It may feel like you’re showing your pup some love by sharing your treats, or quickly settling their whines, but by making certain human foods a part of their diet, you’re potentially causing your pup harm. Especially if they have pre-existing conditions.

We want our dogs to be around for as long as possible, and the first step is a diet that does nothing but fill them up with tasty, safe and nutritious ingredients.


Here at Pooch & Mutt, we are dedicated to creating food that not only tastes great but does great things too! With our functional range, you can find a wide range of wet and dry food that can help tackle issues surrounding anxiety, digestion, skin and coat, weight loss, dental care and joints. Using completely safe and healthy ingredients, you can sit back and relax knowing that your pup’s diet is sorted.

Trust us, they’ll be just as happy with a dental chew or a meaty treat as they would with pizza and chips! And their tummies will thank you for it too.

As we’ve discussed, not all human snack food will cause your dog upset, but some do. Even to the point where you may have to seek medical attention.


How can human food impact your pooch?

1/7 dog owners have had to take their dogs to the vet after getting ill after eating human food.


Human food like cheese and plain yoghurt can be enjoyed by your pup now and again without too much impact, however, there are some ingredients and foods that humans can eat just fine, but are toxic and poisonous to our pups.

As well as finding that one in seven dog owners have had to take their pups to the very after feeding them human food (13%), our result showed that over one in five noticed symptoms like an upset stomach causing loose stools, whimpering and vomiting (11%) as well as a decrease in their mood, becoming lethargic and sleeping more than normal (11%).


Human food that is the most toxic to dogs include:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Onion and garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Artificial sweeteners like Xylitol (can be found in peanut butter)
  • Avocados
  • Alcohol


When consumed, these foods can cause complications like those our dog owners reported, as well as: 

  • Constipation
  • Lack of appetite
  • Itching and scratching
  • Twitching
  • Gut blockages, in severe cases
  • Seizures
  • Hunched back from stomach pain
  • Organ failure, in severe cases


With so many potential complications that could lead to expensive medication, serious surgeries or even death, it begs the question - why are we still feeding our dog’s human food? 


What don’t dog pawrents know about feeding their pups?

1/3 of dog parents feel they could do with further insight into what they should be feeding their dog and when.


Now we know that loving dog parents aren’t intentionally hurting their pups, and that feeding them a sneaky human food treat comes from a place of love. So what exactly is pushing dog owners to take the risk?

When exploring what drives dog lovers to stray away from a strictly doggo diet, our results showed that there does seem to be a knowledge gap amongst dog pawrents surrounding what ingredients are completely safe, and what exactly is the best of the best to feed our pups.

Regarding understanding the impact of feeding their dog human food, over one in six (16%) of owners said they could benefit from further knowledge on what to feed their dog to help them make more sensible decisions, while one in three (32%) of dog parents feel they could do with further insight/help into what they should be feeding their dog and when in general.

With so much dog-centric food and treats on the market, there are plenty of options out there that could help dog owners stray away from choosing risky human food. However, our survey showed that over a third of dog owners (37%) said that although they’re knowledgeable about which brands provide the best food, they’re not overly knowledgeable when it comes to understanding the ingredients and what may be harmful.

In particular, our results showed that younger dog owners are keen to learn more, with almost one in four 18-24-year-old dog owners (23%) saying they could benefit from further knowledge on doggo-safe ingredients - more than any other age group that we surveyed.

Additionally, results surrounding the admittance to wanting to learn more about ideal dog-safe ingredients grew in correlation with the dog’s age; with owners of dogs aged 8 stating they could benefit from further knowledge on this, to help them make more sensible decisions when it comes to feeding their dog (more than any other participant at 26%).


For senior dogs, it’s even more important to focus on feeding them up with everything they need to stay comfortable and healthy. It's common to feel lost when it comes to trying to help them in any way you can - but there are many natural ingredients out there, as well as added nutrients, probiotics and supplements you can add to their diet to make sure their joints, digestion, skin and coat are in tip-top shape.

Looking to learn more about how you can help out your elderly pooch? Check out our article about senior pups on The Dog Blog to learn everything you can do to help out your senior dog’s joint and mobility issues.



Not all human food is toxic to dogs, but a lot of foods and common ingredients are, and can lead to many serious health conditions and issues. That said, our survey results show that whilst the majority of dog pawrents do indulge their pups with a safe human food treat once in a while, many do so without confident knowledge of what ingredients are safe, and which are harmful.

However, what our survey did uncover is the willingness of loving and attentive dog parents to want to learn more about feeding their pups a nutritious diet. One that does nothing but give them the energy, joints, gut, coat and teeth they need to live a fun, happy, healthy and energetic life!

Here at Pooch & Mutt, we’re dedicated to giving you that know-how, and making it as easy as possible to safely treat your pup. We want to give them a great diet and arm you with all the support and advice you need for a healthy dog - whatever their age!

To have peace of mind about your dog’s diet, you can find the perfect food for your pooch across our wide range of wet food, dry food, dental sticks and treats. For expert advice, peruse The Dog Blog where you can find all the answers to your questions, as well as expert advice from our amazing group of vets and experts.


In May 2024, 1,500 dog owners in the UK were surveyed and asked if they feed their dogs human food, what they feed them, how often they feed them, the impact of feeding them human food and how knowledgeable they are about dog food and ingredients. These results were split and analysed across age and location of the dog owners, as well as the age of the dog.

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