Link studied between puppyhood diet and allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in adult dogs

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Puppyhood dietary factors may affect the onset of canine allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in adulthood, according to a Finnish study.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki studied the relationship between allergy and atopy related skin symptoms at adult age and different types of diets as well as individual dietary food items in the same 4022 dogs when they were puppies.

“The puppies that had been fed raw tripe, raw organ meats, and human meal leftovers during puppyhood showed significantly less allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in adult life,” Docent Anna Hielm-Björkman said.

“On the other hand, puppies not getting any raw foods, eating most of their food as dry food, i.e. kibble, being fed fruits, and heat-dried animal parts, had significantly more allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in adulthood.”

According to the study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, consumption of at least 20 per cent of the puppy’s diet as raw food was associated with a significant decreased prevalence of allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in adult age. 

Also, in the case of no consumption of raw food at all or where 80 per cent or more of the puppy’s diet was dry food, there was a significant increase in the prevalence of allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in the same dogs, later in life. 

Furthermore, a diet consisting of 20 per cent of any processed commercial dog foods (such as canned or sausage packed foods), was also associated with a significant increase in the prevalence of allergy and atopy related skin symptoms, while zero consumption of these same foods significantly decreased the prevalence of the disease in adulthood.

“These findings indicate that it was the raw food component that was the beneficial health promotor and that even as little as 20 per cent of the diet being raw foods, already gives health benefits,” Hielm-Björkman said.

In addition, puppies that were eating dead animals outside i.e. “air dried raw food,” also showed a decrease in the incidence of allergy and atopy related skin symptoms as adults.

“Our mission is to find ways for the dog owner to impact their own pet’s health span,” Manal Hemida said. 

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