First let me say that I am not a veterinarian, doctor or a medical professional at all and nothing in this article is meant to take the place of professional medical advice. I am a guy with a sick dog who decided it was time to research what I could do to help my dog fight cancer in the future.
I recently had a mass removed from my nine year old terrier mix. It was quite large and I was scared to death at the idea of putting him through an intrusive surgical procedure with no real idea of how things would be afterwards. Thankfully he was a champ and powered through it very well and is recovering well also.
My joy was lessened a little during his follow-up exam when I got the news that, while he is healing well and the doctor took what she thought was the entire mass, a biopsy of the mass came back positive for a known form of cancer.
I know having the mass removed has bought him some time and if the entire mass was removed, it may not return, but maybe isn’t where I wanted to be on this so I decided it was time to start researching what I can do to help decrease the chance of this ugly monster coming back for my pup.
I did some research and put together a list of foods that are good for fighting cancer in dogs. These aren’t hard-to-find items either, but things you can pick up at any grocery store and help get your pup on their way to fighting off the beast. They aren’t just great for dogs either, but some guard us humans against some of the same cancers. My shopping list looks like this:
Now I won’t go into great detail here, because you’ll do that later with further research and by consulting your vet about the health of your dog, but I do want to throw in here, just why these foods are good in helping to prevent cancer and in some cases we must understand what cancer does and how it affects us and our pets.
Cancer is actually a group of diseases which cause abnormal cell growth. This video, while it pertains to humans, describes how cancer forms and includes an animation that explains how a cancer tumor grows, how it forms blood vessels to feed itself and that brings me to the #1 item on our list, apples.
Apples are antiangiogenic, meaning, they prevent the formation of blood vessels from other blood vessels. This is important for anyone afflicted with or prone to cancer because it will help prevent tumors from being able to grow by restricting their access to blood flow. https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/food-facts/apples/
Asparagus Contains Glutathione (which prevents damage done by free radicals and carcinogens) and Saponins so it is not only a great antioxidant but also an anti-inflammatory. This one is hard for me to sell to my pup. I love asparagus but he isn’t as fond. Also, while it may be effective against some forms of cancer, it isn’t effective against all so, do your research before thinking this one will be a superfood for your pooch.
Blackberries contain large amounts of anthocyanins so they boost defenses against free radicals and I might add, they mix well with other food and my dog absolutely loves them. This is a great option, easy to find fresh or frozen. I mixed frozen ones that I can throw into a mini processor and it gives my dog’s food a little extra crunch.
Blueberries like Blackberries, are rich in anthocyanins and laboratory tests have shown them to be a proven killer of many types of cancer. Check here for an article explaining that https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320517
Broccoli is high in glucosinolates which will help to protect healthy cells against DNA damage. Visit https://www.health.com/condition/cancer/6-cancer-fighting-superfoods to find out more.
Coconut Oil is not only great for healthy skin and hair but can also guard against precancerous lesions and kill some bacteria known to cause some types of cancer. Most of this is accomplished by the fatty acids contained in coconut oil.
Fish Oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are known to shrink tumors and provide an anti-inflammatory property as well. Let me say though, I found some data showing that fish oil can interfere with some types of chemotherapy treatments so again, be sure to consult your vet before starting a fish oil regiment if chemo is being administered. Read more here on Omega-3’s
Fresh Vegetables especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, watercress, back choy, cauliflower and cabbage are healthy choices, especially for our cancer patient pups. While nothing is a guaranteed cure for cancer a review of research published in the October 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that 70% or more of the studies found a link between cruciferous vegetables and protection against cancer. Check out this link for a great article. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/super-veggies-cruciferous-vegetables#1
Pumpkin contains high amounts of beta-carotene which when it’s digested is turned into Vitamin A. Vitamin A in turn prevents damage by free radicals. Pumpkin is full of Read more about at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory that is not only good at interfering with tumor production and growth but can kill some types of tumors. Interestingly, mixing the turmeric with coconut oil can increase the absorption rate of the curcumin. So mixing these two can be a powerful little booster.
Vitamin C like other antioxidants helps inhibit tumor cell growth, in fact Chi Dang, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and oncology and Johns Hopkins Family Professor in Oncology Research, unexpectedly found that the antioxidants’ actual role may be to destabilize a tumor’s ability to grow under oxygen-starved conditions. Read about that here https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070910132848.htm
Michael R. Robison