Donate to Dogrisk Research

DogRisk is a research program about nutritional, environmental and genetic factors behind canine diseases as well as cancer detection dogs.

In December 2009 The DogRisk Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) was launched onto the internet. It was developed by PI Anna Hielm-Björkman at the Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, together with microbiologist Shea Beasley. The idea was to get a longitudinal "snap shot" of what dogs had been eating, where they had lived, how active they had been, their fenotype and their diseases. The idea is that we can see what dogs have been eating and where and how they have lived, prior to getting a disease. The FFQ also contains a lot of covariates so that we can model the disease and environment/diet associations.

The aim of this survey is to find possibly true cause effect relationships and then to test them in future diet interventions.

On top of this there is a lot of interesting data for the industry, as we can see what dog owners buy and use for their dogs. How does the "Standard dog of Finland" live? How do we feed our dogs, walk and train them, what kind of recommendations do breeders give, how are dogs vaccinated and de-wormed, how often do they get sick and what are the diseases they suffer from? There are over 12 000 answers already. Unfortunately, up till now you can only fill in the survey in Finnish language.

So, the impact of the diet and other environmental factors on diseases in dogs is the first aim of the DogRisk project. They also want to collect as many dogs as possible so that they can use it when we are searching patients to new clinical studies.

The first clinical study in the DogRisk program was the food trial in 2013-2014. In this trial they studied atopy and allergies in Staffordshire Bull Terriers and how these diseases are affected by nutrition, genes and metabolism. As they have had a hard time to get funded, nearly nothing is yet published.

Here is a list of research papers they have produced, in very financially constrained circumstances, so far. They have another 40 papers that they could write. The only thing standing in their way is cash. Help them to help us all, please.

Latest publications from DogRisk

Johanna Anturaniemi's thesis "The relationships between environment, diet, transcriptome and atopic dermatitis in dogs". 2018.

Maria Fredriksson-Ahomaa, Tiina Heikkilä, Noora Pernu, Sara Kovanen,

Anna Hielm-Björkman and Rauni Kivistö. Raw Meat-Based Diets in Dogs and Cats. Vet. Sci. 2017, 4, 33; doi:10.3390/vetsci4030033


Anturaniemi J, Uusitalo L, Hielm-Björkman A.Environmental and phenotype-related risk factors for owner-reported allergic/atopic skin symptoms and for canine atopic dermatitis by veterinarian in a Finnish dog population. PLoS One. 2017;12:e0178771.


Barrouin-Melo SM, Anturaniemi J, Sankari S, Griinari M, Atroshi F, Ounjaijean S, Hielm-Björkman AK.Evaluating oxidative stress, serological- and haematological status ofdogs suffering from osteoarthritis, after supplementing their diet with fish or corn oil.Lipids Health Dis. 2016; 15(1):139.


Roine J, Uusitalo L, Hielm-Björkman, A. Validating and reliability testing the descriptive data and three different disease diagnoses of the internet-based DOGRISK questionnaire. BMC Vet Res. 2016;12:30.


Olkkola S, Kovanen S, Roine J, Hänninen ML, Hielm-Björkman A, Kivistö R. Population Genetics and Antimicrobial Susceptibility of Canine Campylobacter Isolates Collected before and after a Raw Feeding Experiment. PLoS One. 2015 Jul 14;10(7):e0132660.


Teixeira LR, Luna SP, Matsubara LM, Cápua ML, Santos BP, Mesquita LR, Faria LG, Agostinho FS, Hielm-Björkman AOwner assessment of chronic pain intensity and results of gait analysis of dogs with hip dysplasia treated with acupuncture. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2016 Nov 1;249(9):1031-1039.


Boström AF, Hielm-Björkman AK, Chang YM, Weller R, Davies ES.

Comparison of cross sectional area and fat infiltration of the epaxial muscles in dogs with and without spinal cord compression. Res Vet Sci. 2014 Dec;97(3):646-51.


Uusitalo L, Nevalainen J, Ovaskainen ML, et al. Fatty acids in serum and diet - a canonical correlation analysis among toddlers. Maternal & Child Nutrition 2013; 9: 381-395.


Uusitalo L, Niinistö S, Virtanen SM. Ravinnon merkitys tyypin 1

diabeteksen kehittymisessä -enemmän kysymyksiä kuin vastauksia. Suomen Lääkärilehti 2013; 68: 923-7.


Zaldivar-Lopez S, Iazbik MC, Marin LM, Couto CG: Iron status in blood donor dogs. J Vet Intern Med 28:211-214, 2014.


Caro JT, Marin LM, Iazbik MC, Zaldivar-Lopez S, Borghese H, Couto CG: Markers of iron metabolism in retired racing Greyhounds with and without osteosarcoma. Vet Clin Pathol 42:360-363, 2013.

Make a donation

DogRisk is the biggest university department raw food project in the world. It’s very underfunded.

If your dog or cat has benefitted from a change to raw or fresh food, and you can afford a few pounds (four paws, four pounds?), this could help convince the kibble feeding world and vets all over the world of the incredible benefits of raw.

Please help by giving a donation.