Apparently, humans are more serious about buying the best food for their dogs than they are about buying their own food.
A survey of 1300 dog people in the U.S. state of Washington suggested a lot about how humans approach purchasing decisions related to their own eating and health care and that of their dogs. The study was published in the journal Psychology and Marketing in 2010.
Most dogs in the United States eat a commercially prepared food of some sort. A few humans cook for their dogs. Dog people who cook their own meals at home, however, are less likely to cook for their dogs. The researchers speculated that once the people get done cooking for themselves, they run out of energy to cook for their dogs too. About 25 percent of dogs eat prepared food from the grocery store almost all the time.
When their people eat more meat-based meals, dogs are much more likely to get meat in their meals as well.
About two thirds of dog people surveyed said they are “serious” or “extremely serious” about buying healthy food for themselves, while almost 80 percent of them said they were similarly serious about the food they buy for their dogs.
Humans are about twice as likely to respond to price increases with changes in human food selection than they are to change the food they buy for their dogs. They are almost three times more likely to remain loyal to a brand of dog food then they are to stick to particular brands of prepared foods for themselves. Regardless of how many dogs the humans are buying for, they stick with the high-quality stuff for the dogs but might cut back for themselves.
Most humans say their weight is proportional to their height or a little bit more, but their dogs’ weight is proportional to their breed. The researchers wondered what vets would have to say about this. Given the worry about excess weight in both humans and dogs in the United States, I wouldn’t be surprised if the vets disagreed!
Goitom Tesfom and Nancy Burch, “Do they buy for their dogs the way they buy for themselves?” Psychology and Marketing, vol 27(9): 898-912 (September 2010)