It’s often just as traumatic to learn that a canine companion has cancer. Thankfully, there is holistic cancer treatment for dogs that may prolong life.
A cancer diagnosis for your dog can be as heartbreaking as one for a human loved ones. And, you may be in search of natural methods to help extend your pet’s already abbreviated lifespan.
Carol Osborne, a doctor of veterinary medicine, and author of the books “Naturally Healthy Cats” and “Naturally Healthy Dogs”, also created a holistic health treatment protocol for canines and felines. In addition, Osborne patented two longevity pet supplements called, PAAWS: Pet Anti-Aging Wellness Supplement; available for dogs and cats.
Dr. Osborne says that if your dog is battling cancer, it is important to strengthen the immune system as much as possible. Though this logic applies to human cancer-fighting patients as well, some pet owners do not realize the importance applies to animals as well.
Conventional cancer treatments typically weaken the immune system. Before considering the holistic cancer treatments for dogs, the animal’s immune system should be strengthened first.
Initial steps to support your dog’s immune system
“It’s crucial to keep your dog’s immune system intact to optimize his or her chances of winning the fight against cancer,” Dr. Osborne says via email. The first crucial step to preserving whatever vitality the immune system has during the initial cancer-fighting stage, says Osborne it to minimize and hopefully eliminate all toxic elements from your pet’s internal and external environment.
Osborne claims that feeding a nutritious, “anti-cancer diet,” will increase your pet’s chances of beating cancer. As part of this review of holistic cancer treatments for dogs, we’ll review Osborne’s diet suggestions shortly.
First though, let’s take a look at other holistic canine cancer treatment tips….
Tips for Using Holistic Cancer Treatment for Dogs
To lessen the amount of toxin in the body, dogs should avoid vaccinations and synthetic medications.
Many people are aware of the vaccine controversy in humans. Most people probably don’t give vaccinations in regards to pets much thought. But according to Osborne, vaccinations may also cause negative side effects in your pet.
There are ways to get around conventional shots for rabies, distemper, parvo, hepatitis and leptospirosis, as well as annual shots. Osborne recommends seeing if the state you live in accepts antibody titers as legal proof of protection against the diseases for which dogs are commonly vaccinated. Titers are a blood test that reveals if your dog has an adequate level of internal protection against a specific disease.
Osborne also recommends your dog not receive any conventional heartworm, flea or tick medications while your dog is fighting cancer.
“Replace synthetic prescriptions with natural products and supplements whenever possible,” says Osborne.
Think about water quality for your dog
Water is important
Many pet owners don’t realize that drinking water quality is just as important for pets as humans. Some owners give their dogs tap water. Osborne suggests giving your dog distilled or reverse osmosis water. If tap water is the only choice, you can boil the water first to help eliminate potential toxins such as lead, arsenic, titanium, cadmium, fluoride, chloride, etc.
The Anti-Cancer Diet for Dogs
The anti-cancer diet may not be as appealing as other diets, but it has proven to be palatable and nutritious for many cancer ridden canines and is quite affordable, says Osborne. Similar to today’s low carb Atkins Diet, a canine cancer diet involves minimizing sugars. Just as with humans, cancer cells feed on sugars.
Radically minimize other sources of carbohydrates in your dog’s diet. Many conventionally-made brands of dog food contain grains as a main ingredient. Grains are carbohydrates. Eating grains will cause cancer cells to proliferate in the body.
“Because cancer is a wasting disease, in addition to maintaining your dog’s energy level, we must also try to maintain the dog’s body weight and muscle mass,” says Osborne, who recommends a raw diet for pets.
Osborne claims that all dry dog food, even those claiming to be grain free, are to be avoided. She suggests meticulously reading wet pet food labels and making sure they contain wild or raw sources of meat and no grains. Although wet dog food, especially raw, wild sources of meat are more expensive, if your dog heals from cancer, the cost of the superior dog food will be far less expensive than the medical bills you’ll have to pay for cancer treatments.
Some common carbs Osborne says to eliminate from your dog’s diet includes potatoes, pasta, noodles, rice, and bread.
The 50/50 diet
Osborne suggests a diet for your pet consisting of 50 percent protein and 50 percent vegetables.
For protein, Osborne suggests white meat chicken, turkey, and pork from non-factory farmed sourced. Fish other than tilapia is also a good protein source for your dog, says Osborne. Because meat is a primary source of protein for your dog, Osborne has more specific advice on how to prepare it.
“Your dog needs the chicken with the skin and the fat. We do not want lean cuts of meat and don’t want meat boiled. You may grill, fry, broil or bake the meats,” she says.
For healthy vegetable sources, Osborne recommends the same cruciferous vegetables for humans as for dogs, as part of her holistic cancer treatment for dogs. Top on the list, according to Osborne: broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. Green beans, spinach, kale, and cabbage are also excellent vegetables with high antioxidant properties. Osborne is especially high on broccoli because just one cup of it provides nearly twice as much protein as a cup of steak.
“Broccoli also has specific anticancer properties,” she says.
One vegetable Osborne suggests avoiding: carrots. “They’re hard for dogs to digest and are high in sugars. Peas are also difficult for most dogs to digest,” she says, adding that caution is urged with corn because much of today’s conventionally-grown corn is genetically modified.
No fruit for dogs with cancer
As for fruits, even if you think fruits are healthy and contain antioxidants, they should be avoided. Osborne says this is because fruits are mostly all sugar. Again, if your dog has cancer, cancer cells need to be starved of sugar.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive healthy source of food for your dog as part of a holistic canine cancer treatment, Osborne recommends buying pouches of Stage 2 human baby food. This pureed source of nutrition is very easy to digest. Chicken–n-Gravy or Chicken-n-Broth are especially tasty to most canines.
In order to encourage your dog to eat vegetables, Osborne suggests squeezing a few teaspoons of the Stage 2 pouch on the veggies.
Guidelines for canine anti-cancer diet meals
Osborne also says that eating a good, balanced breakfast isn’t just for us humans. “A great breakfast for your dog might be eggs and bacon, along with a nice cup or two of veggies. You can prepare the eggs in a variety of ways: fried, poached, sunny side up or even hard boiled. The veggies can be fresh or frozen; raw or cooked,” she says.
Size and number of meals
Another diet tip for dogs with cancer from Osborne is to give multiple, small meals. “Smaller meals are easier for your dog to digest, absorb and assimilate, as opposed to one big daily meal. Eating every four hours or six times a day maintains stable insulin levels and prevents hunger binges,” Osborne says.
Osborne acknowledges that this way of eating for most people is not feasible, but if you’re trying to give your dog the best holistic cancer treatment, do try and increase the number of daily meals. “At a minimum, all dogs should eat twice a day,” says Osborne, adding, “But increasing that to three or four times daily is very helpful and physiologically superior for your dog’s body.”
Use weight as a guide
Dr. Osborne recommends weighing your dog regularly helps to insure your dog is maintaining body weight. “Run your hands along both sides of your dog’s rib cage to be sure its hair coat is not masking weight loss and protruding ribs.
If you’re feeding your dog homemade food, Dr. Osborne recommends using the following guideline.
15 pound dog: ½ cup twice daily; ¼ cup 4 times daily
30 pound dog-1 cup twice daily; 1/2 cup 4 times daily
60 pound dog: 2 cups twice daily; 1 cup 4 times daily
90 pound dog: 3 cups twice a day; 11/2 cup 4 times a day
Another final tip when using holistic cancer treatment for dogs, from Dr. Osborne, is to discuss with your vet some natural supplements that can help with canine cancer.