Our dogs are treated not just as pets, but we treat them as our beloved and a cherished family member. There is this mutual bond of love and loyalty between our dogs and us which makes it heartbreaking when we learn that our dogs are diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer not only compromises a dog’s quality of life, but it is also the leading cause of non-accidental death in dogs. Other diseases are more common (e.g., obesity, chronic kidney disease, allergies) but cancer remains the most common fatal disease.
Treating and managing cancer in a canine patient is a team effort and involves the primary care veterinarian, the veterinary healthcare team, veterinary specialists, and (most importantly) the family. The course of treatment varies and depends on the type and progression of cancer, but it may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these.
With all cancer management strategies, providing optimal nutrition for your dog is essential. Proper nutrition can support both longevity and quality of life for dogs with cancer.
What nutritional changes should I now consider?
Research shows that tumor cells feed on carbohydrates. Tumors use carbohydrates to promote cancer cell growth, so high levels of carbohydrates in a dog’s food will actually feed the tumor and starve the patient!
It is suggested that dogs with cancer should eat a nutrient profile with no more than 25% carbohydrate on a dry matter (DM) basis. Unfortunately, the majority of canine adult maintenance formulations are far higher than that in carbohydrate content.
On the other hand, cancer cells have a difficult time using fat as an energy source, so foods that are relatively high in fat and low in carbohydrate may benefit dogs with cancer. In addition, higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids may exert an anti- tumor effect. While additional research is needed, it is recommended that canine cancer patients eat a ration with 25-40% DM fat and 5% DM or greater of dietary omega-3 fatty acids.
Homemade diets must be nutritionally balanced, and that is challenging to accomplish. In any event, it is always best that a dog with cancer eats something rather than nothing. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best option for your dog.
The Original CrockPet Diet is a home-cooked diet for your pet, made in your kitchen with only real foods. Dr. Ruth’s patented recipe is fully balanced for pets in all life stages and can improve the health of your pets.