Dogs with cancer are susceptible to a variety of harmful symptoms, including loss of stamina, persistent lameness or stiffness, difficulty breathing, and loss of appetite. To combat these conditions and help your dog recover, you’ll need to supply a diet that’s specifically designed to counteract the effects of cancer. At Wapiti Labs, we fully understand and appreciate how important your dog’s health and well-being is, so today we’ll be discussing how you can construct an ideal diet for dogs with cancer and the most effective ways to feed it to them. But before we jump in, it may be useful to provide a definition of the disease afflicting your animal first.
What Is Cancer?
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is a general term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can spread through the lymph and blood systems as well. There are many types of cancer, but some of the most common types of canine cancer are lymphoma, melanoma and mammary cancer.
As we discussed earlier, any form of cancer can pose a very serious threat to your canine’s health. Fortunately, we can utilize chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to control and eliminate cancer cells in your dog’s body if they’re detected and diagnosed early on. If you’re not sure whether your dog has cancer, look for these telltale signs and consult with your local veterinarian as soon as possible. They’ll be able to confirm your dog’s condition and help you move forward with effective treatment if cancer is detected.
Once you’ve decided on a form of cancer treatment for your dog, it’s critically important to build a new diet that will support its fight against the disease.
What to Feed a Dog With Cancer
Dogs with cancer require a special combination of amino acids, proteins and fats. Veterinary experts generally recommend giving your dog foods with high caloric content to ensure that they consume enough calories despite their diminished appetite. (Don’t worry, we’ll provide a few tips on getting your dog to eat in a bit.) It’s also recommended that you construct diets that are high in protein and fat (think chicken and fatty fish) since cancer cells can decrease muscle mass and are less likely to use fat for energy. Last but not least, try to incorporate Omega-3 fatty acids and arginine into your dog’s diet to reduce cachexia (weight loss, muscle loss, and fatigue in cancer patients) and enhance the immune system.
One of the leading authorities on the topic of canine cancer is Gregory Ogilvie, DVM at Colorado State University. After performing extensive research on anti-cancer diets for dogs, Dr. Ogilvie recommended that pet owners construct daily meal plans that contain high amounts of unsaturated fats, small amounts of complex carbs, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Check out this link to see the specific daily diet one of Ogilvie’s four-legged patients was given, but bear in mind that the quantities described may need to be adjusted depending on the size of your dog.
Note: As always, you’ll want to speak with your vet and gain his or her approval before starting your pet on any new diet plan.
How to Feed a Dog With Cancer
OK, so you’ve put together a tasty and nutritious combination of foods for your sick dog and ensured that your vet approves of it. Well done! Now we just need to find a way to convince your animal to eat. As we briefly touched on before, cancer can significantly decrease an animal’s desire to eat. To exacerbate things even further, certain cancer treatments like chemotherapy make food an even less attractive prospect for dogs. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a few tricks you can use to persuade your canine to chow down.
First of all, try to make the food you’re offering smell good. Heating up the meals to around room temperature will increase the strength of its aroma and just might convince your dog to take a few bites. You can also add tiny amounts of natural flavorings (like sugar or salt) to the dish to entice them as long as your vet approves of the ones you use. Make sure you offer multiple small meals throughout the day to ensure freshness and avoid overwhelming your pet too. If you need more advice or counsel on getting your pet to eat, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet for help.
Consider Using Pet Supplements to Keep Your Dog Healthy
Now that you’ve scheduled cancer treatments and established a healthy diet, think about putting your dog on a supplement regimen to further support its health. Wapiti Labs offers a wide variety of dog supplements that help to maintain healthy cartilage and joint function, encourage blood circulation, support kidney and liver function, and more. We even offer special mobility supplements to support the joints and long-term health of senior dogs. Talk with your vet to determine which health products will be most beneficial for your pet.
Your Dog Can Beat Cancer
With proper treatment and care, your dog has a fantastic chance to overcome its cancer and go on to live a long and prosperous life by your side. Don’t lose hope, and never hesitate to call or message us if you need more advice or information on maintaining your dog’s health. We’re here to help.