As a pet parent, finding out that your beloved dog has cancer is absolutely devastating. While in many cases you may feel powerless to help them, adjusting their diet can help them to a better quality of life for their remaining time. While there are no super foods that will magically cure your poor baby’s condition, you can of course improve their life by feeding them a more nutrient rich diet.
If your pet is over or underweight, then you may want to consider getting to the bottom of the problem. It’s possible that they have become sensitive to the food you are feeding them, and offering them a more digestible diet may help dogs who are underweight to maintain a healthier body composition, and if your pup is overweight, then adopting a lower carbohydrate diet may make for a good switch for them. In this article we’re going to go over what cancer does to your dog, and the best way to feed them so they can maintain their quality of life.
What does cancer do to dogs?
For dogs with cancer that is inoperable, it’s likely that there will be a negative impact on their immune system. A lowered immune system can often show itself through skin allergies or sensitivities. Dogs suffering from these symptoms may also have a hard time fighting off illnesses or infections which would normally not be an issue. Unfortunately, if your immune system is not working properly, these things become a much more difficult battle.
While there are no studies to prove that there is a directly relation to cancer and food, we can help to treat some of the symptoms by changing their diets. Simply offering your dog a higher quality food overall is a great first step, but ideally we should be looking to incorporate items which can be ant-inflammatory, like fish oil or sweet potatoes, to help with day to day pain. Dogs who experience nausea may benefit from foods containing pumpkin, which settles the stomach and maintains regularity in the bowels. Additionally, lowering the amount of junk food items like corn or wheat can allow your dog to get more nutrition from his food, strengthening his body.
Should I feed a raw diet to my dog if he has cancer?
While many dogs eat raw diets just fine, this may not be recommended for dogs with cancer. As previously stated, many animals with cancer are experiencing a weakened immune system. A raw diet could be dangerous for them, because they don’t have the same defenses against bacteria as a healthy dog and feeding them a raw diet does present the risk for things like Salmonella and E.Coli. For dogs with cancer it would likely be advisable to give them cooked food where the risk of these dangers is removed or at least greatly reduced for them.
What’s the best dog food for cancer diagnosis?
Now that we’ve talked about what your dog is going through, now we’re going to make a few recommendations for high quality foods that might benefit your dog. While there is not a magic food that will get rid of your dog’s cancer, these foods all include ingredients which could help with symptoms that dogs with cancer or just older dogs in general may be having trouble with.
All of the recipes chosen use only the best ingredients possible, and they will include ingredients that will help your dog maintain a healthy weight and fight off some of his pain that may be caused from inflammation or include items which can help to strengthen a weakened immune system, which is common with dogs who have cancer. We have also recommended wet foods or fresh foods rather than kibble, because dogs who are sick will benefit from the additional liquids. Here’s our top picks.
#1 – NomNomNow
NomNomNow is a fresh food delivery company that specializes in offering pups and their parents the best quality food available. All of their meals are made fresh and delivered to your door every week. They use only the highest quality, human grade ingredients. There’s no junk in here, and the best part is that the recipes are all very limited in ingredients. This is excellent for dogs who are ill or who have allergies, because they are likely to develop food sensitivities. Since there’s so few ingredients in these foods, allergic reactions are less of a problem, and your dog will be able to eat his food without itching himself to death from skin irritations or being plagued by nausea.
In the screen shot below you can see the ingredients for their Chicken Chow-Wow recipe, we recommend this recipe specifically for dogs with cancer, because it includes both sweet potatoes and fish oil. These are natural anti-inflammatory foods which can help old or sick pets with arthritis or muscle pain. Many of their choices are also very vitamin and nutrient rich.
As you can see from the nutritional break down for this recipe, there are only four main ingredients in this diet. That makes it excellent for pups who have become very sensitive to certain foods since their diagnosis, and if your dog has been itching a lot, then a limited ingredient diet like this will likely benefit him. This particular recipe is also low in carbohydrates, a reduction in starches can be great for overweight dogs, and you’ll get more nutrients per bite here, because there’s no fillers or heavily processed foods to be seen. If you want to treat your pup like a doggy king, then this is the best possible food that you could feed to them. You can learn more about NomNomNow at their website.
#2 – Halo Dog Food
If NomNomNow is a little out of your price range, then Halo makes an excellent canned food that can still offer your pup adequate nutrition. Halo’s holistic recipes are not quite as limited as our number one pick, but they also contain human grade whole meat ingredients and lots of healthy veggies. The Holistic beef recipe also features our favorite anti-inflammatory, sweet potatoes, but it also contains pumpkin. If your dog has issues with constipation or diarrhea, then Pumpkin will be a wonderful addition for him, because it does a great job at keeping dogs regular.
Halo does make excellent kibble formulas as well, but feeding a wet food is a good way to help keep them hydrated. If however you need to feed them kibble for cost issues, then you should consider at least giving them a portion of their diet in a canned variety. You could feed a partial can of wet food in the morning, and then a compatible dry food for their other meal, or mix them together. This will allow your dog to get a little more nutrition per bite than he would eating just dry. You can pick up this excellent food brand for your pup at PetFlow.
#3- Wysong Epigen
If you’re interested in feeding your dog a diet that is almost entirely protein, then Wysong may fit the bill. Their Epigen formula focuses on just one protein, and it makes up 95% of the diet! While this is an excellent diet for most dogs, pet parents should keep in mind that if their dog has kidney issues that this may be a poor choice. Dogs with poor kidney health may have trouble processing a diet that is so rich in protein. If your dog does not have problems with his kidneys, then this is a prime choice.
This food comes in multiple flavors, so it’s easy to find a recipe that will agree with your pup. Wysong’s canned varieties contain just five ingredients, making them a great choice for dogs who need a low carb diet with a high amount of protein. You can choose between beef, chicken, duck, rabbit, salmon, or turkey, making it easy to find a food for dogs with allergies or food sensitivities. You can see the full nutritional break down and learn more about this food at Wysong’s website. This company has a great reputation for providing high quality pet foods.
Keep in mind that if your dog needs some additional fiber that you can easily add it. Since there are no other ingredients in this food really but meat, it would be easy to add some pumpkin for digestion help. You can purchase a can of pumpkin at the grocery store to help your dog out with his sensitive tummy. Just make sure it’s pure pumpkin and not the pie filling variety! The latter is full of sugar and other junk that your dog does not need to be eating.
How do I transition my dog to his new food?
While in some cases you may be able to begin feeding a new food right away, in others it could make your dog sick to suddently jump to a new diet. If this is the case for your pup, then you should start by introducing a small amount of their new food at a time. You can either sprinkle it on top of their old food or mix it together.
After they have accepted this food successfully, then you can begin adding more of it until the old food has been phased out. Keep in mind that it may take up to two weeks for your dog to successfully transition to his new food without issue. If you’re still having problems after this time, then it’s likely that your dog is sensitive to something in the food you have chosen. You may need to do some trial and error until you find something that agrees with him.