Alarmingly large numbers of pet owners do not fully understand the nutritional value of pet foods, while many do not appreciate the importance of certain essential food groups in their animals' diets.
New research by PetMD, an online resource dedicated to researching pet health, has revealed that the majority of respondents in a recent survey failed to recognise the benefits of a balanced diet, with only three per cent saying they thought pets needed a daily intake of carbohydrates.
Furthermore, only two per cent agreed that animals needed fat in their diet, while a quarter of those surveyed appeared not to recognise the need for vitamins and minerals.
PetMD spokeswoman Dr Jennifer Coates is urging owners to read up on pet nutrition in order to make sure they provide the correct diet for their animals.
Dr Coates also says that animal life expectancies can be increased if people improve their understanding of pets' dietary requirements.