It's Official: Dogs are Paws-itively Family!

It's official: dogs are paws-itively family! (CNW Group/Purina Dog Chow)

National Dog Chow Survey Reveals Numerous Ways Our Furry Friends Bring the Household Together

TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - When it comes to Canadian dog owners, the canine is king…of the family that is! According to the recent Purina® Dog Chow® Family Poll the pet pooch contributes to the family's wellbeing, encourages responsibility with kids, and promotes activity while offering unconditional love and forgiveness. In fact, 93% of dog owners feel that their four-legged companion makes their family feel complete.

For all that dedication, the family dog is rewarded kindly by Canadians who offer preferential treatment to their dogs as they increasingly become important members of the household. For example, more than one-third of Canadians (37%) say they would be more likely to kick their spouse out of the bedroom for snoring than their dog, half (51%) say their dog sleeps with them in bed, 61% acknowledge their pup's birthday, and 85% include their dog in family photos regularly.

Kids kick in

Luckily for many parents, children are taking responsibility for the family dog by helping out. More than half of Canadian parents (53%) say their kids help keep the family dog active by playing with him, while approximately one-third say their children feed (32%) and walk (31%) the dog. Most importantly, 85% of Canadians feel their dog encourages the family to get outside and enjoy the outdoors together!

"It's so important for the entire family to cooperate and enjoy the experience of owning a dog," says parenting expert, Nanny Robina. "Responsibility for the care of the family dog allows for a deep and gratifying bond to be created, which greatly benefits the child and teaches them important lessons in accountability, independence and consistency.  That said, it's important to set reasonable and age-appropriate expectations for the child."

Canadian dog-owning parents understand the benefits of assigning pet responsibilities to children as well.  In fact, 97% of Canadian dog owners already know that teaching kids to care for a puppy can make them more cooperative and generous, and nine in ten believe that children who own pets can have higher self-esteem.

"It's important to start involving kids at an early age, to make sure they get the most benefit from their relationship with the family dog. Whether it's training, feeding, or just going for a walk, successful dog care is a family affair," says dog behaviourist and trainer Jill Priest.

According to Priest, children of all ages can get involved with dog care, especially by learning about proper safety, training, and responsible dog ownership. The following are some recommended age appropriate activities:

  • Toddler:  learn safe behaviour around dogs: how to say hello to a dog, what to do if a dog makes you uncomfortable; help dry your dog's food and water bowls after you've washed them
  • 3-5 years: once the dog is safely in a crate or another room, put away the dog's toys; start helping to measure and provide the dog's food
  • 6-10 years: attend dog training classes with the family to learn proper leash handling skills and training methods; help with grooming; take the dog on short walks with an adult
  • 11 years onwards: help keep dog's water bowl clean and filled with fresh water; take responsibility for walking and cleaning up after the dog; become a "dog ambassador" - teach friends about dog safety and behaviour

Purina® Dog Chow® Family Poll Result Highlights:

All in the (Purina® Dog Chow®) family: Pet owners care passionately about their dogs, and show their love and loyalty in many ways. More than half decided as a family what to name their dog (57%), while two in five say their dog has the same last name as the rest of the family.

Dogs tail us on vacation: Planning a family trip?  For most Canadian dog owners (91%) this means Fido is considered in the preparations. An overwhelming majority (87%) also factor their family dog in for weekend activities!

Bringing home the love: Nearly one in three (29%) of Canadian dog owners picked up their dog from an animal shelter or rescue, while half (52%) chose to get their puppy from a breeder or another family. Often the dogs surrendered to shelters have been loyal members of a family, and by adopting another from a shelter, you're saving the life of a loving, furry friend.

Canadian canine confusion: While Canadians love their dogs, they require a bit of clarity when it comes to what's best for man's best friend. Two-thirds of dog owners (66%) believe that their dogs are carnivores and only need to eat meat. To improve on pet parenting, Canadians need to understand that dogs are omnivores and must eat meals that include complete and balanced nutrition at every stage of life.

Dog families know: Purina® Dog Chow® believes that dogs help families bond, and Canadian dog owners agree, stating that the most valuable life lessons from family dogs is their unconditional love and forgiveness (26%), and teaching responsibility (21%).

"The Purina® Dog Chow® Family Poll clearly reveals that Canadians consider their dogs a "family", and treat them as if they were two-legged family members," adds Priest. "The human-canine relationship has been evolving for thousands of years, and continues to grow and change as dogs gain even more prominence within the household."

About Purina® Dog Chow®
Purina Dog Chow® and Purina Puppy Chow® brands provide complete and balanced nutrition for dogs at every stage of development. The carefully selected, high quality ingredients deliver 100% of the essential nutrients your dog needs to stay happy throughout his long, healthy life. Offered worldwide, Purina® Dog Chow® features formulas including: Puppy Chow® For All Breeds, Puppy Chow® For Large Breeds, Dog Chow® For Adult Dogs, Dog Chow® Healthy Morsels® With Real Lamb And Rice, Dog Chow® For Healthy Weight Management, and Dog Chow® Healthy Morsels® For Mature Dogs Age 7+.

Survey Methodology
Purina® Dog Chow® commissioned Environics Research Group (www.environics.ca) to conduct an online custom survey of 1,000 Canadian adults who currently own or previously owned a dog.  The total sample was weighted by region to be proportionately representative of the Canadian adult population of dog owners. Responses were collected between December 14 and 19, 2012.


Image with caption: "It's official: dogs are paws-itively family! (CNW Group/Purina Dog Chow)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130205_C3023_PHOTO_EN_23338.jpg

SOURCE: Purina Dog Chow

For further information:

Laura Ballantyne |Environics Communications |416-969-2672 | lballantyne@environicspr.com   OR
Leanna Rizzi |Environics Communications | 416-969-2824 | lrizzi@environicspr.com