NORWALK, CONN. — Holistic dog wellness company Get Joy released its new research report entitled “Chasing our Tails: When it Comes to Maximizing our Dog’s Health and Wellness, Are We Just Running in Circles?” According to Get Joy, the report explores a “major paradox” between the intentions of dog owners and the realities of their actions in advancing their pet’s health.

The report includes data from a survey of 1,000 dog parents, half women and half men, throughout the United States. The survey was administered from Feb. 1 to 5, 2024, by global market research company Torfac using an online sampling approach. 

According to the data, dog owners believe they take better care of their dogs than themselves, as people are significantly more likely to rank their dog’s health as better than their own. In fact, only 29.2% of those surveyed ranked their health and wellbeing as excellent, whereas 51.8% ranked the same for their dog. 

Dog parents believe they are committed to advancing health of their four-legged companions, with 97% believing what a dog consumes impacts their health and longevity. Despite this, Get Joy found that the most popular actions by dog owners did not involve enhancing nutrition or diet, but instead focused on exercise, socialization (with other dogs and people) and sleep. According to the report, about 53% of dog parents regularly make sure their dog eats healthy food, 43% regularly give their dog supplements, and 48% provide their dog with gut-healthy ingredients. 

“Nutrition is something we do with our pets twice daily,” said Brett Levitzke, DVM, veterinary advisor at Get Joy and chief medical officer at VERG Brooklyn. “Even simple changes can have a profound impact on our dog's overall wellness.”

Fresh dog food formulas have increased in consumer popularity as these diets are often believed to be healthier than other formats, providing a method for consumers to enhance their pet’s health. Despite the rise in fresh, Get Joy found that a majority (75%) of survey respondents are not feeding their pups fresh food, but instead are leveraging other formats. Thirty-six percent feed their dog dry food, 34% feed a combination of dry and wet, 12% feed fresh, 7% feed canned wet food, 6% feed diets that they themselves have prepared at home, and 3% feed freeze-dried. 

Additionally, the report found that 83% of dog parents claim they are confident about the ingredients in their dog’s food, but only 58% could name three ingredients within the formula. According to Get Joy, this shows that though pet parents are dedicated to the health of their pets, these consumers often have a lack of awareness regarding the nutritional value and ingredients in the foods they provide.

Formulas targeting the gut microbiome or digestive and gut health have flooded the market, and the industry — and consumers — have become more aware of the imperative role the microbiome plays in a pet’s overall health and wellbeing. In fact, three out of five respondents claimed they are familiar with gut health, gut-health ingredients like probiotics, and the power of gut-healthy foods. Further digging into this, Get Joy found that 83% of respondents believe gut-healthy foods can extend a dog’s life, 89% believe it can improve a dog’s daily quality of life, 77% believe it can improve a dog’s brain health, and 77% also believe it can prevent disease in dogs. Despite this, the report revealed that only 12% of dog owners are feeding their dogs fresh foods that can help improve gut health. 

This, according to Get Joy, shows a paradox among dog parents as they are aware of the benefits of supporting gut health, but most are not actually feeding their dogs gut health-promoting foods.

Though the actions of these dog parents may look bleak, Get Joy found that most dog parents are willing to adjust their dog’s nutrition in order to extend their life. Seventy-four percent would feed their dog fresh food, 65% would provide supplements and 38% would feed organ-based treats to this end. 

“Get Joy exists to help dog families get more joy out of life together for longer,” wrote Tom Arrix, founder and chief executive officer of Get Joy, in the report. “Just taking a few actions on your dog’s behalf can make all the difference, and we look forward to providing a holistic approach to dog wellness that can help dog families’ actions better align with their intentions.”

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