Canine cancer is quickly rising as a concern for many dog owners. But what is less commonly known is that science is quickly proving that specific diets can play a significant part in ensuring both longevity and quality of life for dogs suffering with cancer.
In particular, one of the visible effects of canine cancer is severe weight and body condition loss, scientifically called cancer cachexia. Because of this condition, dogs begin to lose a lot of their muscle mass regardless of the food intake. Even more, nausea associated with cancer cachexia results in a decreased appetite, furthermore accelerating the weight loss process.
We know that you only have your canine friend’s best interest at heart. We feel the same. Here at Volhard, we believe that choosing the right course of action for treatment and diet can give your canine companion a fighting chance. The essential thing for you to do now is to feed your dog’s healthy cells nutritious foods and eliminate those that contain carcinogens (i.e. substances that promote the formation of cancer. Unsure how to proceed? Let’s discuss what are the key components of a dog cancer diet!
For those who are unconvinced that diet is a critical component of nursing your dog back to health, it can be helpful to remember that cancer primarily feeds off of oxygen and sugar. While it is not feasible to adjust how much oxygen your dog is getting, it is possible to control their sugar intake. Doctors recommend starving the cancer cells by putting a canine cancer patient on a diet that is low in sugar and high in fat, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, which may actually reduce tumors.
Is there any way to find such a diet for your canine companion? Yes, there is. With the help of a ketogenic dog diet, you are sure to deliver to your dog the proper amount of nutrients contained in raw sources while minimizing the amount of glucose originating from certain types of carbohydrates and starches.
As we settle on one solid diet, our next responsibility is to stick with it. Often, concerned pet owners switch their dog’s diets when they are not noticing significant weight gain. However, this is not recommended in your dog’s case. One of the main concerns about a canine with cancer’s diet is that it achieves a steady body weight, meaning that the dog is neither gaining nor losing significant amounts of weight. When a dog’s diet is being switched based on impulse, this can discourage your dog from eating well and even cause distress to the stomach resulting in diarrhea and vomiting.
Choosing a ketogenic diet for your canine friend primarily composed out of raw foods can be more than beneficial to your dog’s overall health. Let’s take a closer look at the diet’s main components.
One of the key advantages of the ketogenic dog diet is its versatility. For your dog to remain in ketosis (a natural metabolic state where the body produces energy out of fat instead of carbs), they must consume fatty foods, such as lamb, fish, and beef (including both meat and bones), which comprise a high percentage of the whole diet. In particular, organ meats are an effective way to ensure that there is extra iron in your dog’s food bowl and, consequently, their bloodstream. However, there is always room for improvement in any diet.
Your dog’s diet should not be meat alone. Remember that cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and kale can reduce the risk of bowel cancers. These important vegetables along with some other veggies such as turnips, contain vitamins that are essential in fighting cancer. Especially in the case of vegetables, knowing how to cook them is paramount.
In the wild, carnivores get their share of vegetables through eating prey . The prey animal provides predigested vegetable material which in turn provides a very bioavailable food source filled with a myriad of vitamins and nutrients, which the carnivore’s digestive system can easily absorb.
To achieve the same effect, we recommend that you process whether that be chopping, steaming or roasting the vegetables beforehand. This minimal process makes it easier for the dog to break down the cell walls of the vegetable and absorb the nutrients. If you are opting for raw vegetables, processing them and turning them into a puree (which can be mixed with the rest of the meal) will do the trick. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage and provides healthy bacteria to the dog’s gut in a very bioavailable way. In all of these cases, the process of “pre-digesting” is achieved.
Finally, now that we have covered the types of food recommended for your canine companion, the time has come to focus on the foods that will join cancer’s side of the battle, fueling tumors or attacking the immune system.
While grains are important to a healthy dog’s diet, for a dog fighting cancer they pose somewhat of an issue. When trying to set your dog up for success, you must realize that almost all pre-packaged dry dog foods, even those that make healthful claims, rely on some type of grain as the basis of their make-up since grains are an inexpensive filler. Synthetic vitamins are also a big issue to consider. One of the best things you can do when choosing a food for your dog is to flip the package over and examine the list of ingredients. If the first ingredient is anything other than a recognizable protein source, this is not the food for your pooch. Numerous fruits and starchy vegetables fall under the same category too: potatoes, peas, and carrots all are rich in carbohydrates and, therefore, unfit for the ketogenic diet.
While the correct diet is crucial if your dog suffers from cancer, a diet alone will not cure your dog. Diet can be used as a way of supporting the dog while their body fights by improving their overall health, maintaining weight, fortifying the immune system, providing energy, and starving cancer cells. One challenge even with the best diet is to keep your dog eating while going through treatment or when nausea overwhelms the system. The best case scenario is to choose a whole food, hydrated, fresh, natural diet that is species appropriate.
A diet that is filled with high-quality, raw, ethically sourced, proteins and other ingredients filled with vitamins and minerals will make a difference