Can Puppy Diet Protect Against Atopic Dermatitis?

Raw offal and tripe, a bit of fish oil – this is what ideal prophylaxis against atopic dermatitis could look like.

In Finland, a validated Internet-based questionnaire called “DogRisk food frequency questionnaire” has been available for more than ten years, in which dog owners can enter everyday data on the keeping, feeding, and health of their dogs. The associated database now contains more than 12,000 data sets, which are used to examine a large number of medical questions.

Based on survey data for more than 4,000 dogs, links between puppyhood diet and the occurrence of atopic dermatitis (AD) later in life have now been investigated. Datasets from dogs that were older than one year according to owners and had AD were compared with dogs that were older than three years and did not have AD. The proportion of raw feed, dry feed, other finished feed, and home-cooked feed in the diet of these animals and the frequency of consumption of 46 individual feeds were evaluated.

Good for the microbiome – good against atopic dermatitis

A total of eight variables stood out in the analysis: Dogs that had consumed the following as puppies had a statistically significantly lower risk of AD:

  • raw tripe,
  • raw offal,
  • human food scraps,
  • or once or twice (not more often!) fish oil supplements.

In contrast, the risk of AD was significantly increased in dogs that consumed the following as puppies:

  • Fruit,
  • oil blends,
  • dried parts of slaughtered animals,
  • or water from puddles.

The authors discuss the reasons for the different influences of the feed on the risk of AD and focus on the influence of the intestinal microbiome in puppies. It stands to reason that raw tripe, for example, can contribute to the development of a healthy gut microbiome thanks to its high content of probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, while the sugar content in fruit is said to have the opposite effect.

Due to its methodology, this study cannot prove causalities. But there is probably little reason not to simply try out the plausible research results.

Frequently Asked Question

What is atopy?

Atopy (atopic, Greek = placelessness) is the tendency to an increased allergic reaction to normally harmless substances or stimuli from the environment. The symptoms often appear in places that have not come into contact with the allergenic substance itself.

What to do with atopic dermatitis in dogs?

The only treatment specific to atopic dermatitis is desensitization, in which an allergen extract is prepared for each patient based on the results of the skin test.

Where does dermatitis in dogs come from?

Atopic dermatitis can be caused by various environmental influences, e.g. B. pollen, grass, or house dust mites, which the dog absorbs through the respiratory tract and the skin. It is often assumed that this disease is mainly due to a genetic predisposition.

Where are food mites in?

The food mites are mainly found in nutrient-rich environments such as cereals, feed, flour, grains, and hay, and generally in stables, but they have also been found on cheese, furniture, and house dust. They prefer temperatures of 22-25°C and a humidity of about 80%.

What food for atopic dermatitis?

Researchers assume that probiotics also have a positive effect on the intestine and the immune system located there. This effect can be used in the supportive therapy of atopic dermatitis in dogs. Probiotics can be given as supplements or powder over the feed.

What can you do against neurodermatitis in dogs?

Special shampoos or spot-on products soothe itchy skin and strengthen the skin barrier. Essential fatty acids have been shown to reduce the inflammatory reactions of the skin and the itching associated with atopy. They also strengthen the skin’s barrier function.

Why do dogs bite their fur?

Scratching, biting, and nibbling at the fur, as well as excessive licking are signs of itching. Rolling on the floor and slipping on the anus, also known as “sledding”, are common symptoms. Everyone knows that itching can be very uncomfortable or even painful.

What home remedies help against itching in dogs?

How can I relieve itching in dogs?

  • Fennel seeds (can relieve itching)
  • Chamomile tea (can relieve itching)
  • Aloe vera gel (soothes the skin)
  • Apple cider vinegar (against fleas)
Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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