For dog owners who have had their pets diagnosed with cancer, you should be aware that there is a special cancer diet for dogs. Why do you need to pay special attention to your dog’s diet? This is because just like humans, dogs diagnosed with cancer will have weak immune systems and will only grow weaker as the cancer progresses. Aggressive cancer treatments can weaken your pet’s body even further, making recovery harder. Moreover, it is essential that your dog’s body build up new tissues during the treatment sessions and if he or she is not getting the right food, they’ll be burning through all their supply of proteins, fats and other essential nutrients stored in their sick bodies.
So what happens if your pet doesn’t get the right diet? Their bodies will use itself up and will result in the following: wasted muscles or atrophy, severely weakened kidneys, and liver complications to name a few. Dogs with cancer are at a risk of having cancer cachexia, a metabolic condition that manifests as weight loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, and a compromised immune system. Cancer cachexia is a concern because in some cases it can be the cause of death, rather than the actual cancer. Cachexia changes the way a pet’s body metabolises carbohydrates, fats and proteins and these changes result in poor use of energy for the dog and increased energy use by the cancerous cells. These cancer side effects can be avoided if you follow the right cancer diet for dogs.
Low Carbohydrate Cancer Diet for Dogs
For dogs with cancer, the key is less carbohydrates and more protein! Dogs are meat eaters. Grains are actually stressful on their digestive systems. However, most dog foods include grains such as wheat, rice or corn. Therefore, if you choose to buy dog food from the store or supermarket, check the label and ingredients list. Make sure that the food youare getting derives 30-50% of its nutrients from protein, 50-60% from fat and the rest from carbohydrates.
Remember that cancer cells feed on sugar and we need to keep those tumor cells from getting any further energy. Simple carbohydrates such as pasta and bread are sources of glucose that tumors just love. 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 your best bet.
Cancer Diet for Dogs – Protein is Essential
Protein is essential for dogs with cancer. Tumors also rob them of protein nutrients, thus causing dogs to waste away since protein is needed to maintain muscle mass, uphold the immunity system and heal wounds. High quality digestible proteins should threrefore be high in your list of priorities. Digestible proteins include egg whites, white meat such as chicken, lean beef, beans, ground turkey, lamb and canned sardines.
Fats Are Needed in Cancer Diet for Dogs
Fats are also important because they provide more energy that protein or carbohydrates. Dogs suffering cancer would also usually have a decrease in appetite and would therefore be burning off their fat reserves until they waste away, unless you increase their fat intake. The right types of fats such as omega fatty acids are best. Fats also help transport fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, K and E.
Fish oil is also beneficial for dogs with cancer. It is a good source of cancer-fighting Omega 3, 6 and 9. Research shows that these fatty acids aid in preventing the growth and development of tumors as well as help in improving the immune system.
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 doga’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.
Grain Free Cancer Diet for Dogs
On a final note for cancer diet for dogs, keep the following in mind: grain-free food would be best, if you’re buying a dog food brand, at least the first two ingredients should be meat, stay away from dog foods that list corn meal, wheat or rice as the first ingredient. The raw food diet is also something you might want to look into as most canine cancer patients do well with this diet. You can start with rare-cooked meat before gradually introducing them into raw food.
Every day there are more discoveries on dog cancer supplements and cancer diet for dogs. It is your responsibility as the pet owner to continue updating yourself with these breakthroughs in order to give your pet the best chance at life.
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