Cancer is a hated and despised word no one wants to mention or hear. Yet, as a pet parent, it's a reality you have to face.
According to research, up to 50% of mature dogs die of cancer-related ailments. In America alone, 14 million dogs succumb to cancer yearly.
Sadly, numerous cancers originate from a dog's genetics; thus, you can't do much to prevent your canine from such.
However, you can take steps to immensely reduce the chances of your puppy suffering from this dire disease.
Choose a registered breeder.
Some of our beloved dog breeds, including Boxers and Golden retrievers, are especially prone to certain types of cancer.
A responsible breeder with these dogs will constantly screen his breeding stock for cancer.
If you want to acquire a cancer-prone mutt, you should work with a registered breeder who has tried to eliminate the cancer lineage from his dogs.
You can confirm such information by asking the breeder to provide you with cancer health testing documents for his canines.
Doing so prevents you from getting a dog that has underlying health issues.
Don't spay or neuter too early.
A recent study by a doctor from the University of California, Doctor Benjamin Hart, states that neutering or spaying puppies before they reach sexual maturity may heighten their chances of developing some cancers.
For example, Benjamin's 2004 report argues spaying and neutering can increase a golden retriever's probability of having cancer by up to four times.
Yet it isn't clear whether failing to spay or postponing it till your pup reaches sexual maturity will be beneficial. That's because the procedure has different reactions on dogs depending on their sex and breed.
Another study by Jane Swagester, a leading biologist, found that neutered purebred dogs had a 55% chance of developing bone cancer.
On the other hand, dogs not neutered had a 23% chance. This means it's better to wait for your furry friend to grow a bit before deciding to spay or neuter.
Even then, it would be best first to consult your vet doctor.
Watch your dog's weight.
The best way to keep your loyal furry friend fit and healthy for the long run is to manage his weight.
According to vet nutritionist Lisa Winston, there is a direct correlation between a dog's weight and the development of certain cancers.
For example, eight of ten dogs with lipomas and a benign tumor were obese.
Earlier research conducted in 2001 suggested obese dogs, particularly females, are at a higher risk of growing mammary tumors.
Furthermore, being overweight exposes a dog to joint-related issues and diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
You can take control of your canine's weight by feeding him small portions of highly nutritious foods, especially those with lots of fiber.
Such a diet will satisfy your dog after eating a small amount and lessens fat accumulation, which usually leads to obesity.
Provide a balanced diet
When your dog consumes sufficient amounts of food containing all the essential nutrients, he will have a strong immunity that will help fight cancer cells.
Ensure your dog's diet has vegetables. They provide vitamins that help enhance immunity and prevent organ damage.
Experts also recommend adding mushrooms to your canine's food to improve liver function and boost a dog's immunity.
A dog's liver plays a critical role in detoxification. If the liver doesn't work correctly and toxins accumulate in your dog's body, he may develop cancers such as
- Intestinal carcinoma
- Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
- Neuroendocrine tumors
Northern Cascades Immunity Defense contains medicinal mushrooms that aid your dog's liver and can also.
- Relieve pain
- Increase endurance
- Enhance immune system functioning
- Improve heart performance
- Support digestion
Doctor Weeth Marcus, a vet nutritionist, states that seniors are more prone to cancer than younger dogs.
Luckily there are dietary changes you can implement to keep such dogs cancer free.
For starters, you can provide antioxidants, particularly those from fish oils, as they support cognitive functioning by preventing brain cell damage.
If you can't find appropriate fish oils, you can use Immune Defense, which contains mushrooms that have antioxidant properties.
Lessen the use of tick and flea products
Dog tick and flea pesticides contain carcinogens, and the more you apply the pesticide, the more carcinogens your dog absorbs.
Over time, the carcinogens may accumulate in your dog's body and escalate into a cancerous growth.
An ideal example is the chemical Fipronil, commonly found in numerous tick products. Studies have shown that dogs constantly exposed to fipronil develop thyroid cancer due to adjusted thyroid hormones.
Additionally, some pesticides contain Permethrin, a carcinogenic compound that can cause liver tumors or lung cancer in dogs.
There are plenty of natural products you can use that effectively get rid of fleas and ticks instead of the commercial ones, including
- Neem oil
- Mint leaves
- Diatomaceous earth
Use natural garden and lawn products.
Herbicides and lawn chemicals are highly toxic to dogs. That's because canines are closer to the ground, hence more susceptible to the poisonous chemicals in these products.
Studies show a direct link between garden and lawn chemicals and cancer in mutts.
In a recent study, researchers randomly selected;
- 210 canines with liver cancer
- 200 pups with dog malignant lymphoma (CML)
The researchers then asked the dog owners to complete a few questionnaires.
From the questionaries, the professors observed that 85% of puppies with liver cancer came from homes that used lawn pesticides.
Moreover, 90% of dogs with severe lymphoma were from homes that regularly applied chemical insecticides in their gardens. It is better to use chemical-free lawn nourishment.
Pouring compost manure over your lawn is preferable as it improves soil fertility and doesn't contain the destructive salts chemical fertilizers have.
Vaccinations help to protect your furry friend from diseases. Yet, like all beneficial substances, they also have their side effects.
In some cases, dogs may develop malignant lymphomatous tumors around areas where the vet injected the vaccine.
Before vaccinating your pet, you must understand that one critical vaccine can protect your canine for life.
You don't have to revaccinate after your puppy responds to the vaccine.
If you aren't sure whether your mutt has responded, ask a veterinary doctor to carry out a titer test, ideally three or four weeks after administering the vaccine.
Use pet-safe cleansers
Unfortunately, many of the pet cleaners tagged as "safe," "green," or "non-toxic" still contain harmful ingredients. Most companies bend the truth to increase sales at the cost of the dog.
You can easily make safe and inexpensive dog cleaning products at home. What's more, your vet can suggest which cleaning recipes work best.
Often dogs become obese from overeating or not exercising.
Exercise keeps your puppy mentally stimulated, reduces stress, gets rid of excess fat, and prevents joint problems.
Take your dog on regular morning and evening runs. The more active your dog is, the lesser health issues will have.
Do you smoke? If so, you may have to consider quitting.
A study published by Colorado State University shows that secondary smoke increases the chances of dogs suffering from nasal cancer.
Secondary smoke can easily affect canines with long noses like Dachshunds, collies, and Labrador retrievers.
Furthermore, short-nosed canines, including Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and Pugs, tend to develop lung cancer while living with smokers.
Reduce sunlight exposure
Dogs having light pigmentation are susceptible to certain types of cancers.
Therefore, you should keep such pups away from the sun, especially at midday when the sun is at its hottest.
If you plan to spend time outside, apply sunscreen to your pet for protection. Remember to only use canine sunscreen as those made for humans may lead to skin issues.
It's worth noting that cancer is a deadly disease that can show up anytime, regardless of your best efforts.
However, taking the above-stated preventive measures gives your loyal furry friend a substantial chance of avoiding the disease and living a long, happy life.