As dog-parents, the word cancer is perhaps, one which we dread the most. We love our fur babies and want them to have a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, the risk of cancer in dogs has increased rapidly over the passage of time. Just recently my friend’s dog got diagnosed with cancer and, I kept wondering what can be the reason.
After lots of research and discussion with the vet, I found out that there are no exact causes of tumors in dogs. Instead, various reasons contribute to it; the prime factor being weak immune systems and exposure to the toxins in our environment.
I concluded that eliminating the risk of cancer might be impossible, but we can certainly take steps to prevent it and reduce the risk. Here are the five ways to prevent cancer in dogs.
1. Regular checkups
Don’t miss the vet visits; you should take your dog to the vet at least once every twelve months. But don’t just wait for the vet visit but keep a check yourself as well. Examine your dog’s body physically for any masses or lumps. If you do spot any, schedule an appointment with the vet.
2. Controlling Your Dogs Weight
Obese dogs are at a higher risk of cancer. Hence it is essential to control the dog’s calorie intake. Also, monitor your pooch’s physical activities and incorporate exercise into its routine. You can track the weight by checking your pet’s body condition score. Ask the vet to choose a chart that they prefer and use it to check the rating. An ideal score should be a 4 or 5 out of nine, a score of 6 to 9 would indicate that the dog is obese.
3. Whole Foods vs. Processed Foods
Diet plays a crucial role in your dog’s health. Feed whole foods rather than processed foods to your fur baby. Many fresh foods consist of nutrients that can help prevent cancer.
Apples are antiangiogenic which means they stop the generation of blood vessels in a tumor and starve it. Bananas and Blueberries contain ellagic acid and antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Broccoli is packed with glucosinolates which protect against carcinogens by making them inactive. It can also help dogs fighting cancer as it helps in detoxification. Along with prevention, you can even feed these foods to dogs fighting cancer for strengthening their immune system. You can also give your dog fish oil, flax seed oil, cauliflower, asparagus, and carrots to help fight cancer.
4. Exposure to Toxins
One of the prime factors that contribute to cancer in dogs is the presence of toxins in the environment and typical household products. We use pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides in our homes, some of these are found to be carcinogenic (they support cancer formation). Keep an eye on what he is ingesting and make sure he can’t get hold of anything toxic. Reduce the use of pet grooming products that contain fipronil.
According to research conducted by the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, the University of Massachusetts, the use of lawn care products can increase the risk of Canine Malignant Lymphoma. Make sure you use pet-friendly products. Don’t let your dog go out unsupervised and keep an eye on what it is ingesting.
5. Spaying & Neutering
Although spaying & neutering can help your dog live a healthy life, don’t do it too early. According to the Vizsla Study conducted by M. Christine Zink, DVM, males neutered before the age of 12 months are at a higher risk of aggressive cancer. Females who are spayed are at a reduced risk of mammary gland cancer. But hey might be at risk of devel a higher risk of developing other types of cancers. So the decision isn’t an easy one, consult the vet, discuss your concerns and make an informed choice.
If you got to know that your pet has cancer, don’t lose hope. Not all tumors are malignant, and many types are curable. Just support your fur baby through the treatment, and they’ll revive back to life.
About the writer:
Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.