DOG owners in Trowbridge are fuelling pet obesity by feeding them with dinner table titbits, according to new research.

The average dog is getting through 54,000 calories in extra treats every year, according to leading pet food manufacturer Royal Canin.

To celebrate the launch of its new Canine Care Nutrition range, Royal Canin analysed the feeding habits of dog owners.

If a medium dog was to over-eat at this rate it would be the equivalent of a human eating 340 cheese burgers, 1,310 chocolate chip cookies, or 360 ice creams every year, in addition to their regular meals.

Small dogs are worse off still, with their yearly over-eating equating to 1,362 hash browns, 1,065 sugar doughnuts, or 717 slices of pizza in human food terms.

Hannah Poile, Scientific Communication Manager for Royal Canin Canine Care Nutrition, said: “The research has brought to light some shocking results and shows that we could be loving our dogs a little bit too much.

"By highlighting the differences between a human’s nutritional needs and their pet’s, we hope to enable owners to better understand the needs of their animal.

"The four most commonly fed titbits are different varieties of meat which you could assume are the healthy choice, however these foods could easily lead to digestive upset, weight gain, or even skin issues."

“Portion size is also really important. A medium-sized dog needs almost 50 per cent fewer calories than its owner to maintain a healthy weight and shape.

"Giving this size dog just one sausage roll could amount to over a third of its daily calorie requirements, so it’s really easy for this to quickly add up and result in a pet becoming overweight in a relatively short space of time.”

Cocker Spaniels are the breed most likely to be fed from their owner’s plate at meal times (21 per cent), however, looking at whole meals, almost three quarters of Golden Retrievers have eaten an entire Sunday Roast in the past six months.

One in five dog owners admitted that they believe giving their dog extra treats from their own plate shows them that they love them and that they are one of the family, with chicken (77 per cent), beef (68 per cent), sausages (67 per cent), ham (63 per cent) and vegetables (57 per cent) listed as the most commonly fed foods.

As well as an astonishing amount of over-eating, the study also revealed some of the more calorific foods owners in Trowbridge admitted to feeding their dogs.

Just some of the foods dog owners have admitted to feeding their pet in the past six months are:

• Crisps (35 per cent)

• Sausage rolls (34 per cent)

• Hot dogs (32 per cent)

• Cake (30 per cent)

• Ice cream (30 per cent)

• Shepherd’s Pie (28 per cent)

• Fast food burger (24 per cent)

• Chinese takeaway (21 per cent)

When it comes to what foods dogs are eating, different foods can affect dog’s health in different ways. Dairy, for example, is amongst the top food allergens for dogs, so feeding ice-cream, milk or yoghurt could lead to diarrhoea or other digestive issues.

Ms Poile added: “As well as the obvious dangers of obesity such as heart disease and joint conditions, these foods can also be linked to many other health problems including digestive issues, skin problems and tooth decay.”