Study Shows Pet Parents And Pooches Are Lovin’ Fast Food Restaurants

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
If you’re a pet parent, chances are you’re super sizing that Happy Meal drive-thru order and sharing it with your dog.

I love to share, and I confess that when I used to hit the local Tim Horton’s drive-thru with my boyfriend’s black lab riding shot-gun they would always pop a couple Tim Bits in a little doggy bag for him. It didn’t take long for me to realize that: a) an expectation had been created (think Pavlov’s dog, an order window and lots of drool); and b) the Tim Bits would be gone long before I got my double-double in the cup holder. Smart girl that I am, I soon began ordering a toasted plain bagel for him. It was bigger, chewier and allowed just enough time for me to get back on the road with my opened coffee before he re-surfaced looking for more.

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Apparently I’m not the only one who likes to share or to order a little something special for my canine companion (picture of me looking hang-dog while holding my spilled coffee). A recent study on dog ownership and fast food habits reveals that one out of every six U.S. households buys fast food items specifically for their dog when they place their own order at the drive-thru or take out windows. Okay, so Rover isn’t even walking it off!

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Seriously, this translates into over 1,000,000,000 (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) trips each year to a quick service restaurant where our little buddy gets to wait in excited anticipation as the odour of fries and burgers wafts through the car.

Relevation Research’s study on dog ownership and fast food habits indicated that just over one third of dog owners hit the drive thru with their pet in tow and of those, four-fifths will order something specifically for him – that’s almost all of them!

The marketing research company’s on-line survey of 1,499 consumers over the age of 18 also showed that millenials (18-35 years old) are the biggest culprits in the bid to super-size Rover and males make twice as many doggie trips as females. Didn’t you just know it!

Apparently McDonalds is visited most often for the dog followed by Burger King and Wendy’s. And in spite of their Puppy Whip/Puppuccino offering, Starbucks just doesn’t score as high as the greasy alternatives.

Interesting stats from another recent survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) suggests dog ownership will continue to grow over the next few years along with pet pampering and the desire to offer up those special treats. Baby Boomers will factor heavily in this regard and while they have the cash and inclination to indulge their little hair heirs, their focus on health means they’ll want to find a way to do so without feeling guilty.

Maybe the restaurant industry and dog food manufacturers should team up to design dog-safe menu items that are nutritionally balanced, offer fast-food pricing and include upholstery friendly ingredients. If that were the case, I’m sure that none of us would leave our cars!

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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