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Puppy Drinking

Reference: Hemida et al. 2021, “Puppyhood diet as a factor in the development of owner-related allergy/atopy skin signs in adult dogs in Finland”, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, vol. 35, pp 2374-2383.

Aim:  Explore association between puppyhood dietary exposures and prevalence of owner-reported allergy/atopy skin signs (AASS) after the age of 1 year.

Design: cross-sectional observational study, owner reported questionnaire (DogRisk food frequency questionnaire) in Finland


Sample: 10030 dog owners screened for eligibility -  1158 cases & 2864 controls chosen


Excluded: underfed dogs, dogs < 1 year for cases, and < 3 years for control.


Key findings:

  • A significant association between puppyhood diet (from 2 – 6 months of age) and the tendency to develop AASS in adulthood

  • Eating raw organ meats during puppyhood was a significant and possibly protective factor against AASS incidence in adulthood

  • Eating carcasses outside during puppyhood was negatively associated with AASS development in adulthood

  • Human meal leftovers offered to puppies was found to be significantly associated with less AASS later in life

  • Feeding puppies a fish oil supplement was significantly associated with lower AASS incidence when ‘given a couple of times per year’, while giving it ‘always or almost always’ became a potential risk factor for development of AASS later in life

  • Eating fruits during puppyhood was significantly and positively associated with AASS incidence in later life

  • Mixed oils given to puppies as supplements was also significantly associated with increased AASS. (mixed oils mean a mixture of commercially available oils such as a mix of vegetable oils poor in n-3 PUFA’s)



  • Owner reported food frequency questionnaire was used, which may have led to recall bias and misclassification of the food items

  • Multiple analyses between a broad range of food groups and the outcome might result in findings that were significant only by chance

  • Number of dogs included in the food variables categories were heterogeneous, and this may have caused underestimation of potential risk or protective factors.


No conflict of interest declared


Peer reviewed


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