Canine nutritionist – essential research
Are you a canine nutritionist concerned about the influence of pet food manufacturers on canine nutrition research and science?
If so this page will contain links to research you very likely won’t hear about on a canine nutrition course.
This page will remain a work in progress which I will add to over time.
Having had an involvement with the pet food industry and pet food marketing for many years, I found it no surprise when I studied to be a pet nutritionist how dubious some of the material was.
To offer an example, the course recommended only changing the recipe of a dry food if it was suspected to be the cause of illness, never the brand. Knowing how many pet foods use the same formula (such as a concoction of various meat by-products) yet are packaged as different recipes, it means changing the recipe and not the brand will have zero effect.
The purpose of this page is to list essential research for a canine nutritionist (or a feline nutritionist) as and when I stumble across it.
Is homemade food better for dogs?
There is an argument homemade food is better for dogs, whether it be raw food, fresh food, or even table scraps.
The following study conducted in 2021 suggests “in the case of no consumption of raw food at all or where 80 per cent or more of the puppy’s diet was dry food, there was a significant increase in the prevalence of allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in the same dogs, later in life”:
In short, feeding a dry diet without variety may lead to skin sensitivities and atopy related skin symptoms, likely as a precursor to many underlying health conditions:
- Vet Practice Magazine – Link studied between puppyhood diet and allergy and atopy related skin symptoms in adult dogs 13th December 2021
- Research article – Puppyhood diet as a factor in the development of owner-reported allergy/atopy skin signs in adult dogs in Finland
Do grain free diets cause heart failure?
One of the many largely publicised and highly disputed areas of canine nutrition in recent years has been grain free diets formulated with legumes as causing a rare heart condition known as Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).
Not only was the base of this nothing more than a theory, the resulting FDA investigation which named and severely harmed numerous pet food brands found no causative proof.
Nevertheless, many a vet to this day advises pet owners grain free or boutique diets may cause heart failure.
Does feeding raw chicken cause paralysis in dogs?
A widely publicised study from 2018 into raw chicken (namely chicken necks) suggested a link to a rare condition Acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN) which can cause paralysis in dogs.
To offer a short summary, the study investigated a bacteria known as campylobacter as a possible cause of APN. What the study found was approximately half of the APN dogs in the study tested positive for campylobactor.
An earlier study by University of Adelaide in 2016 ascertained approximately 50% of dogs in the Australian dog population carried campylobacter, transmitted by various means inclusive of raw meats, shared water bowls, or through faeces (including smelling the anus of another dog).
It was therefore expected approximately 50% of the APN dogs tested positive for a bacteria found in 50% of a healthy dog population.
Nevertheless, the unproven hypothesis has been taken as “substantial evidence” and many vets continue to advise against raw feeding as a consequence.