We all love our pet dogs and most owners will do everything they can to make sure their pooches are leading happy, healthy and lives.

However, although they may think they are acting in their pup's best interests, it seems that many owners may be unwittingly putting their canine companions at risk of ill health by feeding them unsuitable treats.

New research from Pedigree has shown that nearly 40 per cent of dog owners have fed their pets toxic or harmful food without realising, including milk, grapes, raisins and chocolate.

The Paws for Thought report revealed that many owners are simply unaware of the fact that feeding certain foods to their four-legged friends is bad for their health - especially chocolate which is highly toxic for canines.

"It's not surprising that so many owners give in to their dogs and feed them tidbits from their own plates, but it is really important to remember that a dog's dietary needs are different to those of a human's," commented Jo Gale, a scientist at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition.

"It is paramount for owners to check which foods maintain the health and wellbeing of dogs, to prevent long-term health problems, especially obesity."

When it comes to feeding your pooch the best advice is to stick to your pup's own premium dog food or treats that are specially designed for canines, as this should avoid any upset stomachs or potential poisoning.

But the Pedigree research also suggested that owners were unaware of how much they should feed their pooch, as only 12 per cent of people polled believed their dog to be overweight despite official figures showing that in reality 40 per cent of pups are carrying a few extra pounds.

So if you're not 100 per cent sure your pooch is in optimum health, it's always worth speaking to your vet or a dog nutritional expert who can give you professional advice on how to keep your canine in tip-top condition.

Written by: Hannah