STUDY: PUPPY DIET AS A FACTOR IN ALLERGY/ATOPIC DERMATITIS DEVELOPMENT (2021)
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.
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