Puppy diet appears to be a major factor in the development of skin symptoms associated with allergies and atopy in adult dogs
Newswise – Researchers at the University of Helsinki investigated the relationship between allergies and atopy-related skin symptoms in adulthood and between different types of diets and individual dietary products in the same 4,022 dogs as puppies.
“Puppies fed raw lashes, raw meat and leftovers showed significantly fewer allergy- and atopy-related skin symptoms in adulthood. On the other hand, puppies that did not receive raw food ate most of the food as dry food parts of the animals, there were significantly more allergy and atopy-related skin symptoms in adulthood, ”he says. DogRisk research team leader, docent Anna Hielm-Björkman From the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Helsinki.
According to the study, eating at least 20% of a puppy’s diet as a raw food or less than 80% as a dry food is significantly associated with a reduction in the incidence of allergies and atopy-related skin symptoms in adulthood. Even if no raw food was eaten at all or 80% or more of the puppy’s diet was dry, the incidence of allergy and atopy-related skin symptoms in the same dogs increased significantly later in life. In addition, when fed 20% of other types of processed commercial dog food (such as canned or sausage-packed foods), this was also associated with a significant increase in the incidence of allergy and atopy-related skin symptoms, compared with zero% of puppy eating. A diet consisting of these same foods significantly reduced the incidence of the disease in adulthood.
“These findings show that it was the raw food component that was a beneficial health promoter,” says Hielm-Björkman, “and that up to 20% of the diet is raw, already healthy.”
In addition to the previous variables, puppies that ate dead animals outdoors, or “air-dried raw food,” also showed a reduction in the incidence of allergy- and atopy-related skin symptoms as adults.
“Our mission is to find ways in which a dog owner can influence the health of their own pet. We could see a link between the lower incidence of allergies and atopy-related skin symptoms in adulthood and between serving fresh food to puppies and avoiding processed foods and sweet fruits. It’s a good start for every owner, ”he says Manal Hemida, DVM DogRisk Research Group and Helsinki One Health Network, and principal investigator of this study. “However, research only suggests a causal link, but does not prove it. Dietary intervention studies are needed to elucidate the profound link between the development of atopy and allergy-related skin symptoms and the proper dosing of dietary factors such as raw and dry foods, human residues and oils, Hemida states.
Data for research
The DogRisk team used the answers given by the dog owners online feeding survey (Finnish only) regarding the diet of the puppies when they were 2-6 months old. To avoid a reverse causal relationship, i.e., looking at the links between the onset of the disease and the consequent change in diet, only healthy dogs over 3 years of age (n = 2864) were selected as control dogs, whereas dogs with the disease (n = 1158) were selected. selected to be at least one year old. The regression models provided explained the association between disease and food, while the relationships between skin symptoms associated with allergy and atopy and different diets supported previous results.