For dog owners whose pets have been diagnosed with cancer, you should begin to focus on giving your ailing pet the best quality of life and health possible. A big part of this would be following the proper diet for dogs with cancer. Just like humans, dogs diagnosed with cancer will have weak immune systems and will grow even weaker as the cancer progresses. At the same time, aggressive cancer treatments can weaken your pet’s body even further. Therefore, it is essential to build up new tissues and nutrient supply as your dog undergoes treatment sessions that will burn through his or her supply of proteins, fats and other essential nutrients.
Wasted muscles or atrophy, severely weakened internal organs and various complications are what await your pet if he or she doesn’t get the right diet. It also increases the risk of cancer cachexia, a metabolic condition that manifests itself as weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue and a compromised immune system. This disease causes a change in the way a dog’s body metabolizes carbohydrates, fats and proteins resulting in a poor use of energy for the dog and more energy for the cancerous cells. In fact, cancer cachexia can become the cause of death rather than the actual cancer. These cancer side effects can be avoided if you follow the right diet for dogs with cancer.
More protein, less carbohydrates is key for dogs with cancer. Canines are naturally carnivores and grains can be stressful on their digestive systems. Unfortunately, most dog foods include grains such as wheat, rice or corn. Moreover, cancer cells derive their energy from sugars. Simple carbohydrates are source of glucose that tumor cells can use for nutrients. In order to minimize or cut off the energy being fed to the tumor, you must limit and carefully select the carbohydrates you feed your dog. Foods low in glucose such as oatmeal and rice are safest. Therefore, if you choose to buy dog food from the store or supermarket, check the label and ingredients list. Make sure that the food you’re getting derives 30-50% of its nutrients from protein, 50-60% from fat and the rest can be from carbohydrates listed.
When choosing food for a pet with cancer, pick something that is highly palatable and has plenty of kcal per cup. Apart from having low appetite, a sick pet won’t need to eat as much so it is essential that you give him or her the most amount of good nutrients per serving. There are pre-prepared food available in the market especially catering to dogs with cancer, your veterinarian can identify and even order them for you. Supplements can also be added to your dog’s cancer diet, but again, work with your vet on this in order to ensure you won’t be giving your pet anything that could counteract his or her medication or treatment.
These are the general guidelines for the proper diet for dogs with cancer. It is up to you as a responsible pet owner to continue learning and updating your knowledge on how to further help your loyal companion. Working with your veterinarian and pet nutritionist would also be highly recommended as they would best be able to give you the benefit of their expertise.