Preventative Care for Canine Cancer

By on July 10, 2014

To help spread awareness and educate dog owners with any information we can, we’re passing on some tips from i Love Dogs, a canine advocacy group. It has been said that if your pup lives long enough, the odds that they will develop some sort of cancer is very near 100 percent. Outside of accidents, other diseases like congestive heart failure or heartworm, cancer is the number one killer of dogs.

Preventative measures and early diagnoses are the best way to beat the odds cancer presents us, so please read these helpful tips i Love Dogs provided us:

Although there is no single cause of canine cancer, we know that some environmental factors do promote cancer.

Long-term lifestyle choices can help shield your dog from cancer: keeping your dog fit, providing a healthy diet and limiting exposure to secondhand smoke, pesticides and herbicides.

But here are simple steps you can take now to lower your dog’s risk of cancer:

  1. Spay/neuter your dog

Mammary cancer is extremely rare in female dogs that were spayed before their first heat. Testicular cancer is most common in older unneutered male dogs, and can usually be prevented by sterilizing your dog.

  1. Bring your dog for regular vet check-ups

With regular check-ups, your vet can establish your dog’s baseline data for weight, blood work, unique physical characteristics and abnormalities. If your dog’s check-up deviates from his baseline, your vet will know that additional screening may be needed.

  1. Remove environmental toxins

Exposure to toxins is one of the potential causes of canine cancer. They can break down healthy cells and compromise your dog’s immune system, reducing his ability to fight off the damage. Do an audit of your home and remove any potential toxins. Use only glass or stainless steel food and water bowls.

  1. Provide high-quality food

Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA suggests supporting your dog’s immune system by providing freshly prepared nutrients in daily meals: “Focus on a diet based in whole foods: cooked whole protein sources, some whole grains and densely colored and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.”

  1. Supplements

Natural supplements are recommended by holistic doctors as a method of preventing canine cancer. Consult your veterinarian on possible supplements that can help ward off cancer or make life a bit easier for them if cancer announces its presence.

i Love Dogs (which can be found at, has also provided us with some helpful information about when, god forbid, your pup gets the diagnosis of cancer. Read below to find some tips and develop an action plan.

If your dog does receive a cancer diagnosis, what do you do?

First of all, ask your veterinarian for a referral to a veterinary oncologist. For a holistic approach, seek a veterinary onologist from the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s website.

Depending on the type and stage of cancer, your vet or oncologist may recommend:

  1. Surgery

Surgery may be the only way to remove tumors that cannot be shrunk with chemotherapy or radiation. Afterward, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment may be recommended to ensure the cancer cells have not spread to any surrounding bone or tissue.

  1. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to fight and kill the cancer cells in your dog’s body. These drugs are usually given intravenously, but some drugs may be available in pill form. Supplements containing reishi mushroom and decaffeinated green tea can be used to counteract the side effects of chemo.

  1. Radiation

Recommended for extremely localized cancers, radiation therapy directs high-energy photons or electrons at the site of the cancer in an attempt to eradicate all tumor cells. Radiation causes side effects, so consider providing your dog with a reishi supplement to help keep him comfortable.

  1. Supplements/Nutraceuticals

Studies have shown that supplementing dogs with natural anti-cancer substances like reishi mushroom and decaffeinated green tea can help reduce the size and appearance of tumors, as well as prevent the growth of secondary tumors. Both reishi and green tea help strengthen the immune system and promote cell health, significantly strengthening dogs’ defenses against cancers. Reishi can also counteract the side effects of other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Thanks to i Love Dogs for providing this comprehensive and interesting information.

Our best advice would be to get yearly check-ups, like the ones you get for yourself (hopefully), live a healthy and active life and develop a plan for when your dog reaches that certain age where things like this are likely to pop up. Prepare by being vigilant with exercise and diet; also prepare for when the time comes to make decisions as to the well-being and quality of life your dog deserves.

Also, as an community advocacy effort, attend the Puppy Up! Walk in Omaha this fall to combat cancer!

October 5, 2014- Puppy Up! Walk comes to Chalco Hills Recreation Area to combat cancer, raise funds for 2 Million Dogs

Coordinated by Paws and Whiskers Photography and Paws to Angels Pet Loss Center. Local dog lovers, in partnership with 2 Million Dogs, a national nonprofit organization that funds comparative oncology research benefiting both pets and people, will be holding the Puppy Up! Omaha Walk to raise funds and awareness of the common links between canine and human cancers.

Chalco Hills Recreation Area

Registration begins at 10:00am

Walk begins at 11:00am

Preregistration by October 2 is $20 per person; free for kids 14 and under; kids must be accompanied by an adult. Registration the day of the walk is $30 per person. Participants may bring up to two dogs each. All dogs must be 4 months or older, up to date on vaccinations and must be on a 6-foot or shorter leash at all times (no retractable leashes). Water for dogs and waste bags will be provided.

For more on the Puppy Up! Walk or to register, please visit and search for the local Omaha walk. You may also contact Paws and Whiskers Photography (402-909-1382) or Paws to Angels Pet Loss Center (402) 507-0585 for additional information.


cancer walk card


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