Veterinary experts are warning that the use of candy-bars is not a good idea when feeding pets.
A survey of pet owners in Queensland found that more than half said they should use a treat or two, and half said a treat should be given as soon as possible after eating a meal.
The study, conducted by Veterinary Care Australia and the Australian Veterinary Medical Association, also found that pets who ate a snack or a treat between 10 and 20 minutes before a meal were more likely to suffer gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
More than two-thirds of pet food manufacturers surveyed said the ‘sweetened’ treats could cause allergic reactions in some people.
A study last year in Japan found that about 15 per cent of pet foods contained ingredients that are known to cause food allergies, including milk and fish.
It also found pet owners were more willing to use food that contained nuts or gluten than those who were allergic to them.
In a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology last year, researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada found that people who were regularly exposed to nuts, fish and wheat were at a greater risk of developing allergies to those foods than those without such exposure.
Other pet food ingredients linked to food allergies include: MSG, soy lecithin, corn starch, corn syrup, rice starch, soy protein, wheat flour, and corn syrup.
People are also more likely than others to have a reaction to certain allergens when eating food that contains certain types of grains.
Studies have also shown that pet food is more likely in some households to contain animal-derived ingredients such as the hormone-based herbicide glyphosate.
While it is not known how much glyphosate is present in pet food, the herbicide can be found in all pet foods sold in Australia.
Australian Consumer Law Centre chief executive Rachel Taylor said the findings are concerning.
“It’s important to remember that pets are just as capable of eating food, and eating too much, as any other household member,” she said.
For more information on allergies, visit the Australian Consumer Law Center website.
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