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Diet has a key role in the homeostasis of the gut microenvironment, influencing the microbiome, the gut barrier, host immunity and gut physiology. Yet, there is little information on the role of early diet in the onset of inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders later in life, especially in dogs. Therefore, the aim of the present cross-sectional, epidemiological study with longitudinal data, was to explore associations of companion dogs’ early life diet style and food items with owner-reported chronic enteropathy (CE) incidence in later life. Food frequency questionnaire data from Finnish companion dogs was analyzed using principal component analysis and logistic regression.

We found that feeding a non-processed meat-based diet and giving the dog human meal leftovers and table scraps during puppyhood (2–6 months) and adolescence (6–18 months) were protective against CE later in life. Especially raw bones and cartilage as well as leftovers and table scraps during puppyhood and adolescence, and berries during puppyhood were associated with less CE. In contrast, feeding an ultra-processed carbohydrate-based diet, namely dry dog food or “kibble” during puppyhood and adolescence, and rawhides during puppyhood were significant risk factors for CE later in life.


Vuori, K.A., Hemida, M., Moore, R. et al. The effect of puppyhood and adolescent diet on the incidence of chronic enteropathy in dogs later in life. Sci Rep 13, 1830 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-27866-z

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