Cancer is so scary, and so prevalent. There are times when I think we’re powerless to fight against it--it will get us all in some way eventually. But I guess that’s a pretty nihilistic, cynical approach. So for Pet Cancer Month, I decided to look into what--if anything--we can do to prevent it from happening to our pets in the first place.
There is a surprising amount of information available out there, and a lot of the articles I read seemed to come to a common consensus on what a cancer prevention diet for a pet looks like. Here are some of the most commonly agreed-to concepts and menu items.
Disclaimer: You should always consult your vet before changing your pet’s diet. If you suspect or know your pet to have cancer, you absolutely need to talk with your pet’s health care provider before proceeding.
Low Carbs, High Protein, and Good Fats
Although research on every kind of cancer hasn’t been done yet, many types of cancer cells feed on the sugars in carbohydrates, high fructose fruits, and starchy veggies; however, most cancer cells cannot feed on good fats. The idea with a preventative diet, then, is to keep your pet’s carb content low, while keeping protein and good fats high. This generally means staying away from traditional carb-based grain kibbles and moving towards something more whole-foods based.
A general, suggested breakdown is:
Dogs: 50% protein (fish or poultry is best), 50% veggies (dark leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and green beans are good choices)
- Cats: 80% protein, 20% veggies
- Sources of Omega-3, 6, and 9
Ways to Achieve That Diet
Ideally, the most healthy, cancer-preventative way to feed your pet is home-prepared meals using raw, whole, organic foods. Click here for some good guidance on how to prepare a cancer-fighting meal for your pet. However, since many people can’t do that, you may want to try diets that are frozen raw, dehydrated or freeze dried. There are even some high-quality canned foods for dogs and cats that will do the trick.
There is one commercially-produced prescription diet for dogs that is specifically meant for dogs with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, and that’s Hills Prescription Diet Canine n/d. It’s not for use with all types of cancer, but you can ask your vet if it’s appropriate for your pet.
Warning: If your pet is on chemotherapy or is immunosuppressed, you should not feed a raw diet.
Sources Of Good Fats And Other Add-Ins:
Flax oil (1 teaspoon per 20 pounds daily)
- Olive oil (1 teaspoon per 20 pounds daily)
- Coconut oil (1 teaspoon per 10 pounds daily--might have to start with smaller dose and work up)
- Fish oil (1000 mg per 10-20 pounds daily)
- Turmeric (less than 1 tablespoon daily)
- Garlic (1/2 clove for dogs under 40 pounds, 1 clove for dogs over 40 pounds, daily for 5 days, then rest for 2. Cats should not get garlic.)
- Milk Thistle (200 mg per 10 pounds, daily)
A Note About Water
Depending on where you live, the water might carry more toxins than you realize. Although it might taste fine, and everyone in the house seems fine, over time, the buildup of chemicals can lead to serious health problems, including cancer.
To combat this, offer your pet filtered water that you change frequently. Also, be sure to use glass or ceramic bowls so toxins from plastic don’t leach into the water. Yes, that means using store-bought water from plastic bottles is a no-no as well.
- Obesity is bad news--it can create inflammation, which can lead to the formation of tumors--so keeping your pet’s weight in check is a key to keeping cancer away
- There are a lot of different types of supplements in the form of pills, powders, and drops. There are way too many to mention here, but I personally use Nupro and Nzymes with my pets, and both are great sources of general health support. I encourage you to do your own research to find something that works well for your pet.
We can’t possibly prepare for and prevent everything, but I do know prevention is so much easier than treatment. After doing this research, I have a different outlook. I can see how simple it is to change a few things that could make a big impact, and potentially even save my dogs’ lives!
What about you? Do you have any secret cancer-fighting recipes or tips? Share them here!
Hofve, DVM, Jean “Holistic Cancer Prevention & Care in Your Pet”. Only Natural Pet Store
Hofve, DVM, Jean “Milk Thistle--A Wonder Herb?”
Poutinen, CJ “Is Cancer Prevention in Dogs Possible?” The Whole Dog Journal
Smith, Melissa “Coconut Oil For Pets: Numerous Benefits Dogs, Cats”
“The Best Diet for Dogs With Cancer” K9Medicinals
“Cancer and Diet”. Centinela Animal Hospital
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