50 percent of dogs, age 10 or older, are diagnosed with cancer. Most pet parents are unaware of how prevalent cancer is in dogs. Below are some pieces of information dog owners should learn about cancer and dogs.
According to Canna-Pet, age is a contributing factor to cancer in dogs. Cancer is a leading cause of death for canines over the age of 2. However, age is not the only contributing factor. WebMD notes that some breeds may have a genetic disposition to cancer when compared to others.
For instance, mast cell tumors are commonly diagnosed in mixed breeds and older dogs. BarkPost lists Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and West Highland White Terriers as among the breeds that are prone to cancer.
Even though dogs, in general, have a high risk of cancer, there are some ways to help prevent this disease. It must be noted, however, that there are no bullet-proof measures for preventing cancer in dogs.
Other than old age and genetics, cancer in dogs could be caused by their diet. So, maintaining a healthy diet for your dog may be one way to prevent cancer. Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a vet from Los Angeles, supports natural and alternative treatments for pets and prescribes feeding whole foods to dogs, reported PetMD.
“Whole food feeding is key. Human grade ingredients have lower thresholds for certain substances that can be toxic—even carcinogenic. Mold-produced toxins, including aflatoxin and vomitoxin, can irritate the intestines, suppress the immune system, and are carcinogenic (cancer causing). You want to be sure that while your pet is being treated that their food is not going to further contribute to cancer.”
Dr. Mahaney, who is also known for using Eastern methods, believes nutrition is vital when trying to prevent cancer in dogs.
“It’s crucial that all veterinarians and pet owners be attuned to whole-body health, especially when a pet is diagnosed with cancer and is going through surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. What’s not totally addressed in the veterinary oncology community is nutrition. We’re so dependent on processed, commercially available pet foods, primarily kibble, and really it’s not the ideal thing for any pet to eat. It’s fairly simple to make dietary changes to a whole-food based diet that can really benefit whole-body health.”
Canna-Pet seems to agree with Dr. Mahaney. The site advises against exposing dogs to harsh chemicals like cigarette smoke or household cleaners as well. The site advises pet owners to follow a raw diet when feeding their dogs as well.
Other than nutrition, spaying or neutering a dog is also said to prevent cancer in dogs. WebMD explained that spaying or neutering dogs could help prevent mammary cancer. According to Aaha, 50 percent of mammary tumors found in dogs are malignant and spread to other parts of the body.
Early Signs Of Cancer In Dogs
Unknown bulges, swellings, or growths under a dog’s skin could be a sign of cancer most owners ignore, says Rover. These mysterious growths look like lumps or bumps and can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (not cancerous). Swelling and sores are symptoms of Melanoma, a type of skin cancer. As per Aaha, this form of skin cancer usually stars in the nail beds, footpads, and eyes of a dog as well as around the mouth and lips.
Dog parents should look out for any changes in their dogs’ demeanor. For instance, constantly limping or lethargy could be a symptom of cancer. They should also observe their dogs’ excrement to see if there is any abnormal discharge, bleeding, or unusual poop in general.
There are other early signs that could mean your dog has cancer, but the best way to find out is to visit the vet. Seeking a veterinarian opinion on preventive measures is also advised.