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The effect of puppy diet on the incidence of chronic enteropathy later in life

STUDY:  Vuori KA, Hemida M, Moore R, Salin S, Rosendahl S, Anturaniemi J & Hielm-Björkman A 2023, “The effect of puppyhood and adolescent diet on the incidence of chronic enteropathy in dogs later in life”, Scientific Reports, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 1830.


Aim: to explore the associations of puppy and adolescent diet style and food items with incidence of  owner-reported chronic enteropathy in later life.


Dogs in Finland


Method:  cross-sectional, epidemiological study with longitudinal data - food frequency questionnaire data


Note on CE: there is no conclusive data on the prevalence of chronic enteropathy in dogs, although the disease is frequently diagnosed at animal clinics worldwide (1–17.8%). The prevalence of owner-reported chronic enteropathy symptoms was 18–22% in the sample of Finnish FFQ responses.



  •  feeding a non-processed or minimally processed meat-based diet to puppies and adolescent dogs (2 to 18 months old) is associated significantly with decreased chronic enteropathy incidence in adulthood.

  • comparison: feeding an ultra-processed dry dog food based diet was associated significantly with increased incidence of chronic enteropathy in adulthood.Feeding rawhide was also found to be a significant risk factors for chronic enteropathy later in life.


Out of the natural diet items fed to dogs, the study found that:

  • feeding raw bones and cartilage had a protective effect, which increased with increasing feeding frequency (being largest when fed daily or almost daily or a couple of times per week).

  • feeding berries has a protective role for eating berries against chronic enteropathy later in life.

  • feeding human meal leftovers and table scraps offered to the puppies and young dogs were found to be significantly associated with less chronic enteropathy later in life. The protective effect increased with feeding frequency – the more exposure the dogs had to leftovers, the more protection against chronic enteropathy development there was.

    • NB: Finnish human meals typically include fish and meats, organ meat, vegetables and roots, mushrooms, buttermilk and other fermented milk products, berries, and whole grain products, for example, black rye bread and oatmeal.

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