Eating Bad Stuff Tops List Of Dog Naughtiness – Forbes Advisor Canada

Willis steals cookies from children in strollers. Khole and Kaori got busted munching marijuana edibles snatched from their mom’s purse. Lily ate shirts and shoelaces. Bruenor ate half of a rubber boot.

These canine escapades were shared on social media by their owners—a practice known as “dog shaming.” Dog parents poke fun at their dogs by posting pictures on social media of them wearing signs explaining their misdeeds. While it can be entertaining to see what mischief mutts get into, naughty dog ​​behavior can come with a high price if it results in a trip to the vet.

A new US Forbes Advisor survey of 2,000 American dog owners sniffed out the most common dog shenanigans and some of the consequences of “shameful” behavior.

No One’s Perfect, Not Even a Good Boy

The majority (56%) of dog owners report that their pooches are naughty, with 12% saying their dog usually misbehaves and 5% saying their dog always misbehaves. Only 8% of dog owners claim angelic behavior from their dogs.

How often is your dog naughty?

Dogs are part of the family, so it’s no surprise that when they misbehave it can have ripple effects. Fortunately, 44% of respondents say that their dog’s bad behavior doesn’t disrupt the household. Here’s how dog owners described their dog’s naughty behavior:

  • A little disruptive—32%
  • Somewhat disruptive—16%
  • Very disruptive—4%
  • Extremely disruptive—2%

Naughty by Nature or Nurture: Taking Responsibility for Bad Dogs

As the phenomenon of dog-shaming shows, there’s no shortage of regrettable doggie deeds. And there’s plenty of blame to go around: 85% of dog parents say they feel responsible for their dog’s naughtiness.

Despite loving dogs like family, it can be challenging at times to provide the ideal amount of companionship and exercise a dog needs, which may contribute to naughty behavior. Still, only 9% felt extremely responsible and just 20% felt very responsible.

How much responsibility do you feel for your dog’s naughtiness?

Eating Foreign Objects Leads the Pack of Injury Causes

Thankfully, only 18% of dog owners report that naughty behavior resulted in their animal being injured or getting ill. But some dogs aren’t so lucky. Eating things they shouldn’t (60%) is the top cause of dog injury or illness, followed by jumping off of something high (21%).

What did your dog do that caused the injury or illness? (check all that apply)

Bow-Wow Chow: Toys and Clothes Are Top Unapproved “Treats”

Many dogs have a knack for eating unsuitable—and potentially harmful—stuff. Toys (32%) top the list of items that dogs try to snack on, followed by clothing (16%).

What did your dog ingest that it shouldn’t have? (check all that apply)

Dogs eating things other than their own food is a popular theme among dog-shamers posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. While only 14% of dog owners surveyed said they are likely to participate in #dogshaming posts, many millions enjoy the results of those who do.

But there are plenty of others who share their canine’s culinary miscues and mutt mishaps. Dog shaming is most popular among Millennials ages 26 to 42—20% say they are likely to dog shame.

Average Vet Bill for Naughty-Related Injuries and Illness Tops $1,000

Sometimes dogs require medical attention after being mischievous. Consider, for example, Lily, who ate laundry and needed nearly $1,350 ($1,000 USD) in care, according to her parent’s post. That’s in line with our survey findings: The average cost of care for an injury or illness resulting from bad behavior is $1,500 ($1,130 USD). But 10% say they spent at least $4,000 ($3,000 USD).

What was the total cost (USD) of your dog’s veterinary care for the most recent injury or illness due to being naughty?

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Bone Up on Pet Insurance for Your Dog

You can cut down on out-of-pocket costs for unexpected veterinary bills by purchasing pet insurance for your pooch. And to help offset expenses for annual physicals and other preventive care for your dog, you can also usually add a routine wellness plan to a pet insurance policy.

With most pet insurance plans, you can choose from various maximum annual coverage amounts, such as $5,000 a year. Some even offer unlimited coverage.

If you’re thinking pet insurance is too expensive, you’re not alone. A separate US Forbes Advisor survey of American dog owners found that 89% of dog owners overestimate the cost of pet insurance. More than three-quarters (76%) overestimated the cost of pet insurance by three times the average price.

A US Forbes Advisor analysis found that pet insurance for a dog costs an average of $47 ($35 USD) a month.

Oh, Behave! Helping Your Dog Help Itself

Some pet parents turn to medication or behavioral training to help their dogs with their issues.

While only 6% of dog owners say their pet regularly takes medication to control its behavior, 28% of dog owners we surveyed have tried professional behavioral training. For dog owners who have tried professional behavioral training, our survey found:

  • 52% say their dog’s behavior had long-term improvement.
  • 27% say their dog’s behavior improved, but only temporarily.
  • 21% say professional training did not improve their dog’s behavior.

If you want to lower out-of-pocket costs for accidental illnesses and injuries, pet insurance is worth considering, and if your dog has behavioral problems, it may be a smart choice. Some Canadian pet insurance companies (or US-based companies offering coverage in Canada) include behavioral therapy in their coverage, such as:

  • FetchPet
  • Trupanion
  • Pet Plus Us
  • Petsecure

Be sure to check if the policy covers professional training or only treatment by a licensed veterinarian.


This online survey of 2,000 US adults who own dogs was commissioned by Forbes Advisor and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. Data was collected June 21, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 points with 95% confidence. This survey was overseen by the OnePoll research team, which is a member of the MRS and has a corporate membership with the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). For a complete survey methodology, including geographic and demographic sample sizes, contact [email protected].

USD to CAD exchange rate @ 1.33402 (per accessed January 31, 2023.

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