7% of Japanese dog owners eat dog food

Hello! こんにちは! If you are coming here to check on Shunsuke Nakamura, please note that the problem is that the Daily Telegraph misread (accidentally or deliberately) this article. I’m a big fan of the guy myself, and I’m a bit sad to see all the fuss this has caused!

infoPLANT recently published a survey into dog food. Using their usual method of a public self-selecting survey from within the iMode menuing system, 5,278 people successfully completed the survey during one week at the beginning of August. The sample size was 65.9% female. This time, the self-selecting nature of the survey is not too much of a problem, as I doubt if there is much correlation between having a dog and having a mobile phone.

Please excuse the sensationalist but accurate story title; I’ve found recently that it’s the silly stuff that attracts the punters, and some serious but important surveys have had very little traffic. In fact, there’s a new premium dog food on the market that advertises itself as being not just edible, but in fact tasty for humans too! The company even has the British Royal Family’s seal of approval, but I can’t quite imagine the Queen sitting down with the corgis and tucking in together, somehow. Prince Charles, though, now that’s a different matter.

Q1: Do you keep a dog at home? (Sample size=5,278)

Yes (to SQ)32.1%27.5%40.0%

There was little variation in ownership by age for either sex.

Q1SQ: What sort of dog do you keep at home? (Sample size=1,696, multiple answer)

Small dog49.9%52.3%49.0%
Medium dog45.0%43.8%45.5%
Large dog10.6%8.9%11.3%

Exactly where small dog ends and medium dog starts is unclear; I would guess small dog is Chihuaha-sized, large is a Lab, and medium everything in between? Again, there are no obvious trends within the age groups.

Q2: What sort of dog food do you usually buy? (Sample size=1,696, multiple answer)

Commercial ordinary dog food78.1%
Commercial premium dog food23.3%
Specially hand-made food4.1%
Same food as humans eat7.1%

I don’t know if premium refers to either the high-price posh foods or to the vet recommended types like Hill’s Science Diet, IAMS, etc. Looking at the breakdown by purchaser’s sex, there was little difference between the types, but by dog size, medium-sized dogs were more likely to have ordinary food, and half as likely to have premium food as large or small dogs. The biggest difference, however, was for eating human food; just 2.8% of big dogs and 3.8% of small dogs did so, but over one in ten – 11.4% – of the medium-sized dogs tucked into the same plates as their masters.

Q3: About how much do you spend per month on dog food? (Sample size=1,696)

 TotalSmall dogs
Medium dogs
Large dogs
Less than 1,000 yen8.0%8.3%8.4%3.3%
1,000 to 3,000 yen38.0%37.2%40.7%22.2%
3,000 to 5,000 yen30.2%32.5%28.7%28.3%
5,000 to 10,000 yen16.3%15.7%14.8%31.1%
10,000 to 20,000 yen3.9%4.0%2.9%10.0%
20,000 to 30,000 yen0.8%0.8%0.4%1.7%
More than 30,000 yen0.4%0.2%0.5%2.2%
Don’t buy dog food2.4%1.3%3.7%1.1%

Q4: What criteria do you use when buying dog food? (Sample size=1,696, multiple answer)

Good for health63.6%
Taste dog likes50.0%
Cheap price38.7%
Recommendation from shop6.6%
Recommendation from friends6.5%
Often seen in adverts6.3%

Again, looking at the results by dog size, the healthy nature of the food was least important for medium-sized dogs; taste was most important. Brand was almost twice as important for big dogs compared to the other sizes.

Q5: Where do you buy dog food? (Sample size=1,655, multiple answer)

Home centre73.9%
Pet shop31.7%
Drug store17.3%
Veterinary clinic7.3%
Mail order or internet shopping3.8%
Convenience store1.5%

By dog size, again medium-sized dog owners displayed different habits; pet shops were almost half as popular compared to the other two sizes, yet supermarkets and home centres were more popular.

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  1. Chihuaha said,
    February 4, 2009 @ 16:22

    My wife and a small baby love chihuahua and they want to buy one nice chihuahua. so please suggest me
    which one is best for me and my family.
    Thanks and please reply me.

  2. noah said,
    March 18, 2010 @ 23:56

    “Same food as humans eat 7.1%” means they fed dogs with food for people.
    But you said “7% of Japanese dog owners eat dog food”, that’s ridiculous.
    And this is reported by a British newspaper:

  3. noah said,
    March 18, 2010 @ 23:58

    what’s more, this became a hot topic in Japan.

  4. Foo said,
    February 1, 2011 @ 23:07

    Nothing in the text of this article backs up the headline assertion that “7% of Japanese dog owners eat dog food”.

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