Cancer Treatments Require Special Care
Why a special diet for dogs with cancer? There are many different therapies used to fight canine cancer, depending upon the patient and the type of cancer. But one thing all dog cancers have in common is the need for a specialized diet. Every process in the body is regulated and controlled by what goes in the mouth. If you want the best chance for a good outcome, you must give your dog the proper building blocks to use in fighting this disease, and keep out those things which will cause further harm. Diet is crucial for a dog with cancer.
When a dog is fighting cancer, the first concern is to get the immune function back to normal. The next most important issue is diet. A dog with cancer is building a lot of new tissue, and adequate proteins and cell membrane compounds (omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids) are required to do this. When the adequate amounts of the correct proteins and fats are not present in the diet, the body will rob it from other places, leading at best to muscle wasting, but more likely complications with the functions of the kidneys and dog liver cancer. This can lead to kidney and liver failure, which is something your poor dog does not need on top of the cancer. Fortunately, these secondary liver and kidney complications can usually be avoided by watching the dog's diet.
The first rule for feeding a dog with cancer is to STAY AWAY FROM GRAINS! Dogs did not evolve as grain eaters. Most of our commercial dog foods are based upon rice, wheat or corn. But if we look at dogs in nature, we find they never graze in the wheat field or rice paddies. Dogs have evolved for the past 10 million years as primarily meat eaters. They simply do not produce the enzymes necessary to digest grains. While rice and corn may be a good filler for the dog food companies, they don't make a good filler for the dog. Read your dog food label: make sure the first ingredient on the list is some type of meat. You will almost always find some grains listed, but they should be down the list a ways, not right at the top. Sorghum is a better filler than corn, which is better than rice or wheat. For a canine cancer patient, any commercial dry food should be supplemented with additional animal protein sources. Feel free to add canned sardines (best), cottage cheese, eggs and just about any kind of meat such as hamburger or ground turkey. High fat content is good. Some vets advocate a raw diet, while some say it should be cooked. More important than cooked or raw is the amount of animal-based protein and fats. Keep in mind, dogs are primarily carnivores. They do best on the diet they evolved to eat.
Certain fatty acids called Omega 3, 6 and 9 are required in fighting cancer. Fish oil is a good source of these specific fatty acids. We HIGHLY recommend fish oil be added to any cancer dogs diet. It is easy to get a dog to take their fish oil. If you open the softgel, you will find it is stinky and fishy. It's like candy for dogs. They love it. Just snip open the capsule and squeeze some out so the dog can smell it the first time, and after that you should have no problem with the dog taking the capsules. One 1000 mg softgel capsule per 20 lbs body weight per day is a good dose for dogs. (60 lbs dog gets 3 capsules per day). Some people like to use flax seed oil, and that is okay in theory, but often times dogs will not readily eat flax oil so it needs to be disguised in a carrier. This is a good indication it is not the best choice. It is better to stick with fish oil.
Many veterinarians feel that antioxidants should be stopped three days before, and resumed one week after the completion of the radiation or chemo treatment. This comes from earlier assumptions and is not necessarily the latest info. It is crucial you work with your oncologist to achieve maximum effectiveness in your dog's treatment!
it is critically important to provide a high quality daily supplement to dog fighting cancer to maintain optimal health, prevent further bone and muscle mass deterioration, boost immune function, and prolong their life. Their are many canine daily supplements on the market but few provide the "total package" for dog's fighting cancer. Research each available brand to find the one best suited for your dog's need.