Conventional approach to treating canine cancer is to remove the tumor surgically and then use drugs to attack the cancer cells. However, these drugs have far more devastating effects on the sufferer than the cancer itself and most pet parents choose to euthanize their pets. The natural approach to canine cancer is different. Many holistic vet experts including Dr. Richard Pitcairn focus on cancer prevention using dietary tips and lifestyle changes. Others recommend homemade dog food cancer prevention and certain brands of best commercial dog food for cancer. Let us study some of the best brands that could aid in canine cancer prevention (and for dogs in remission) as well as what to feed a dog with cancer and no appetite.
Holistic support for dogs with cancer
- Speak to your vet and ask everything you want to know about your pet’s disease. Ask for some time before deciding on treatment. You may just want to spend time with your furry friend and sit down with your family members before deciding on a course of action.
- Beware of treatments as many have terrible side effects
- As far as possible, focus on creating a comfortable life for your pet and cherish the time s/he has left.
- Gentle alternative therapies and good nutrition can make your dog stronger. Ask your vet what to feed a dog with cancer who won’t eat.
- Avoid vaccinating your dog with cancer.
- Live each day with optimism. Understand that positive thinking has a lot of power.
- Let your dog go peacefully if all your efforts fail to show results.
Ideal dog cancer diet
An ideal cancer diet for dogs includes the following:
- It should focus on improving quality of life and give energy to your pet.
- The diet should decrease metastatis of certain cancers.
- It should ease nausea and vomiting and maintain body weight.
- The best homemade or commercial dog food for cancer should extend remission period and stimulate healing response.
What to feed a dog with cancer and no appetite
Cut carbohydrates and add healthy fats
It is believed that a low carb diet that is rich in healthy fats can help starve the cancer cells. Also, the added fat helps maintain weight in dogs with cancer that have little or no appetite. So add plenty of fish oils to your pet’s diet. This supplement is also cancer preventative as it fights free radical damage. Omega 3 essential fatty acids also build immune system and support joint health. Decrease grains in the diet to 10% of the total meal. To avoid diarrhea, add fish oil or flaxseed oil slowly.
The reason why dogs with cancer lose muscle mass is because the tumor cells eat away the amino acids-the building blocks of proteins. This results in weight loss and decreased immune function. Adding protein to the diet can help maintain weight. Increase protein by almost 60%. You can add eggs, meat, poultry, fish, tofu, cottage cheese, liver etc in the homemade dog food for cancer.
Add vitamins and minerals
Your pet needs plenty of vitamins A, C, E as these are antioxidants that fight free radicals and also enhance immune function. Research also shows that these vitamins and foods rich in them can also decrease side effects of cancer treatment. Therefore your vet might advise you to stop these supplements and foods a few days prior to chemotherapy. Post treatment; slowly add these vitamins and minerals to your pet’s diet. Your dog also needs selenium, zinc and iron along with B vitamins. Vegetables and fruits should constitute 35% of the pet’s diet. Add lightly pureed vegetables to your dog bladder cancer diet. You dog also needs a calcium supplement unless s/he has high blood levels of calcium which can result from certain cancers.
Supplements to feed your dog
- Vitamin C – 200-2000 mg daily depending on the weight. Decrease quantity if diarrhea or loose stools occur.
- Vitamin E – In the form of d-alpha tocopherol. Give 200-600 IU per day. Discontinue use prior to chemo or surgery as it affects blood clotting.
- Vitamin A – 5000-10000 units 2 times per week. Avoid use if your pet has lung cancer.
- COQ10 enzyme – 10-60mg twice a day. Reduce dosage if it causes diarrhea.
- CBD oil – Check out my article on CBD hemp oil and hemp oil supplements that can aid a dog with cancer.
Sample dog cancer diet – what you can feed your dog with cancer and little or no appetite
This recipe is from The Complete Holistic Dog Book[i]
- 5 oz turkey/chicken/beef/lamb cooked with fat. You can, for variety, add cottage cheese, peanut butter, and tofu etc.
- 3 oz. steamed vegetables. Avoid starchy vegetables.
- ½ oz oats/barley/brown rice/millets
- 2 tablets of calcium carbonate
- 1 tablet of multivitamin powder (choose one with bioflavonoids)
- 200-400 IU of Vitamin E
- 2 tsp fish oil
- CBD hemp oil
Always discuss any diet plan with a vet. You may want to watch out for symptoms like gastric trouble etc. In case this occurs, you may want to tweak the ingredients. Monitor your pet’s weight. You can add coconut oil or olive oil to your pet’s diet.
Best commercial dog food for cancer
Many puppy foods are high in fat and proteins and can sometimes be given to adult dogs with cancer who won’t eat. Your vet can also give you high quality prescription canned formula which usually contains fish oil, arginine and other amino acids. In general, following commercial dog food brands are known to improve quality of life for dogs with cancer:
Hills Cancer Diet
Hills is one commercial dog food brand having quality food for sick pets. Their Digestive/Weight Management dog food with chicken is ideal for dogs with pancreatic cancer who suffer from hypoglycemia. This food prevents seizures in sick dogs.
Ketogenic Pet Foods
This is a brand that manufactures special, all-natural, low carb, high fat foods for dogs and cats. You can use it to supplement your dog’s homemade anti-cancer diet or even use it as main meal. Apart from high quality fats and proteins, it contains natural healthy oils that can help boost immunity, manage weight and also strengthen the system to fight cancer. Ketogenic pet foods come in different varieties like beef, salmon, chicken liver, etc.
Avoid taking your pet out in polluted areas. If s/he is in pain, speak to your vet about short/long term pain management therapies. Arnica and Hypericum homeopathic remedies can alleviate pain but they are often too mild for severe cases. Acupressure and/or acupuncture therapy can also help. Keep your pet as happy as you can. Cherish the time you have left with her/him.
[i] The Complete Holistic Dog Book: Home Health Care for Our Canine Companions By Jan Allegretti, Katy Sommers