• Rodney & Dr. Becker

DR. ANNA HIELM-BJÖRKMAN | Feeding Your Dog Fresh Foods May Ward Off Allergies

Veterinary scientist Dr. Anna-Hielm Björkman discusses her research team's recent findings that feeding pregnant dogs and puppies fresh, raw foods significantly lowers their risk of developing allergies. She also shares with Rodney & Dr. Becker their promising developments in training dogs to sniff out COVID-19.



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Dr. Anna Hielm-Björkman talks with Rodney Habib and Dr Karen Becker about the canine research going on in her program (DogRisk) at the University of Helsinki. In particular, discussion focuses on a recently-released study that looked at a number of dietary, environmental, and genetic variables to identify those associated with the development of canine atopy (a heightened immune response to common allergens), or the protection from it.

Anna Hielm-Björkman, DVM, PhD, docent, CVA (IVAS) is a professor, senior researcher, and principal investigator for the department on Equine and Small Animal Medicine in the Veterinary Faculty at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She investigates the occurrence and progression of chronic diseases in dogs and humans and the role of nutrition can play in both. Dr Hielm-Björkman is the leader of the Dog Risk Group which is a research program focused on nutritional, environmental, and genetic factors behind canine diseases.


In this episode:

Anna's study on atopic dermatitis makes internet buzz. What inspired her to do the study? (0:22)

Despite some breed predispositions is there still potential to epigenetically modulate health; Reparative nutrition in action. (3:24)

Anna's breakdown of the 12,000 participant study (5:00)

Where does the onus fall on dogs eating nutrient dense food? Pet owner or manufacturer? (7:00)

Does diet and environment play a role through the life of your pet? Has the science evolved? (8:38)

What else is better for puppies to lessen their risk of allergies? (10:28)

Anna's findings on canines identifying COVID-19 positive humans and how they could be used in public settings as a benefit. (13:00)

Connect with Dr. Anna:

University of Helsinki

Dog Risk Website

Dog Risk Facebook Page

Mentioned in this episode:

Study: Identification fo modifiable pre- and postnatal dietary and environmental exposures associated with owner-reported canine atopic dermatitis.

Manal Hemida

Improving health by adding 20% raw food