Cancer and Your Pet: Two Things to Avoid
- The study of the relationship between nutrition and cancer in companion animals is in its infancy. However, it is assumed there is a link between obesity and cancer in dogs and cats – just as there is a link between the two in humans.
- Fat doesn’t just sit on your pet’s body harmlessly. It produces inflammation that can promote tumor development. In fact, cancer is actually a chronic inflammatory disease.
- Another cancer-promoting factor in the lives of many pets is the poor quality, highly processed, pro-inflammatory diet they are fed. Two primary factors in this type of diet are an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids coupled with a deficiency of omega-3s, along with an abundance of carbs and starches.
- A healthy, species-appropriate diet for dogs and cats – one that is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer – consists of real, whole, fresh foods, preferably served raw.
- Healthy immune system function is also crucial in preventing cancer, and there are several things you can do to promote a balanced, resilient immune system in your pet.
By Dr. Becker
I recently ran across an article about the link between nutrition and cancer in dogs and cats. According to PetfoodIndustry.com:
"Despite significant advancements in companion animal cancer treatment over the last decade, the relationships between nutrition and veterinary cancer control and prevention remain in their infancy. Developing dietary strategies for reducing companion animal cancer incidence and mortality—overall and for specific cancers—will be an exciting and challenging endeavor that will take extensive research coordination using evidence-based designs."
Since this article — though written by a professor at the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University – was published in a trade journal for the pet food industry, I think we can assume there will be pet food companies heavily involved in developing dietary strategies to address the growing problem of cancer in pets.
And I doubt very seriously those pet food manufacturers will develop strategies that encourage pet owners to feed real, whole, fresh food and not the processed stuff they sell.
Expect to see "cancer prevention" processed pet diets coming soon to a store and/or veterinary office near you. It’s just a matter of time.
Obesity Increases Cancer Risk
The PetfoodIndustry.com article also points out that, "Caloric restriction has demonstrated the most consistent delay in the progression and prevention of tumor development across species."
Fewer calories, it has been shown, cause the cells of the body to block tumor growth.
Too many calories, on the other hand, lead to obesity – and obesity is strongly linked to increased cancer risk in humans. There is a connection between too much glucose, increased insulin sensitivity, inflammation and oxidative stress – all factors in obesity – and cancer. And while there’s been no direct link made yet to obesity and cancer in dogs and cats, it is assumed a link exists.
So in addition to the clearly established connections between obesity and other health problems like diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, reduced quality of life and shortened lifespan, there is also increased risk that an overweight pet will develop cancer.
And what is the biggest health problem for pets today? Overweight and obesity. Certainly the increase in cancer rates among dogs and cats is in part attributable to the obesity epidemic.
Overfeeding your pet is not a loving thing to do. Food is no substitute for quality time spent with your dog or cat. And keep in mind that fat doesn’t just sit on your pet’s body harmlessly. It produces inflammation that can promote tumor development.
In order to be the best guardian you can be for your pet, you must insure she stays at a healthy weight. Parents of too-heavy and obese pets need to understand the tremendous harm they are doing to their companion animal’s health and quality of life … before it’s too late.
Inflammation Leads to Cancer
Anything that creates or promotes inflammation in the body increases the risk for serious diseases, including cancer.
Recent research points to cancer as a chronic inflammatory disease. Inflammation kills the cells of the body. It also surrounds cells with toxic inflammatory by-products that inhibit the flow of oxygen, nutrients and waste products between cells and blood. This creates an environment in which abnormal cells proliferate.
Preventing inflammation is crucial to the prevention of cancer.
One major contributor to inflammatory conditions is a diet too high in omega-6 fatty acids and too low in omega-3s. Omega-6s increase inflammation, cell proliferation and blood clotting, while the omega-3s do the reverse.
Unfortunately, the typical processed western diet – for both humans and their pets – is loaded down with omega-6 fatty acids and deficient in omega-3s.
Nutrition for Cancer Prevention
The best diet for cancer prevention is a diet that provides the nutritional components required to maintain healthy cells and repair unhealthy ones.
Cancer cells need the glucose in carbohydrates to grow and proliferate. If you limit or eliminate that energy source, you do the same with the cancer’s growth. That’s one of the reasons I always discourage feeding diets high in carbohydrates. Carbs are pro-inflammatory nutrients that also feed cancer cells.
Carbs you want to keep out of your pet’s diet include processed grains, fruits with fructose, and starchy veggies like potatoes. All dry pet food contains some form of starch (it’s not possible to create kibble without it), which is one of the reasons I’m not a fan of dry pet food.
Cancer cells generally can’t use dietary fats for energy, so appropriate amounts of good quality fats are nutritionally healthy for dogs and cats.
A healthy, species-appropriate diet for dogs and cats – one that is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer – consists of real, whole foods, preferably served raw. It looks something like this:
High in high-quality protein, including muscle meat, organs and bone (protein should make up 75 percent of a healthy dog’s diet, and 88 percent of a cat’s diet)
A few beneficial additions like probiotics, digestive enzymes and super green foods
Moderate levels of animal fat
A vitamin/mineral supplement
High levels of EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids)
High moisture content
A few fresh cut veggies and a bit of fruit, pureed
No grains; no starches
Immune System Support for Cancer Prevention
The health of your pet’s immune system is vital to her ability to defend against disease. Balanced, species-appropriate nutrition is the foundation for a healthy immune system. You can also help keep your dog’s or cat’s immune system balanced and resilient by:
- Insuring regular and adequate exercise
- Brushing your pet’s teeth every day or several times a week
- Eliminating exposure to chemical toxins, including tobacco smoke
- Reducing the number of unnecessary vaccines
- Taking a proactive approach to your pet’s health with regular at-home wellness exams and twice yearly wellness visits to your vet to insure your dog’s or cat’s organs are functioning well and he’s not harboring any silent infections or other illness
Just like your own, your pet’s optimal health depends on ubiquinol, or the reduced, active form of CoQ10. Ubiquinol can potentially help boost energy, support cardiovascular health and immune system function, and even support brain and nervous system health. And it tackles the damaging free radicals that can make your pet grow old before his time.
High in high-quality protein, including muscle meat, organs and bone (protein should make up 75 percent of a healthy dog’s diet, and 88 percent of a cat’s diet) should be protein, moderate fats and a few beneficial additions like probiotics, digestive enzymes, CoQ10 and super green foods is recommended
Beef Verses Bison for Dogs – Variety is critical for your pet to receive the full spectrum of amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamins and antioxidants necessary to thrive.
August 1, 2012 - Posted by justonemorepet | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pet Recipes, Pets, responsible pet ownership | Cancer prevention in pets, Cats, cooking for pets, CoQ10, dogs and cats, inflammation reduction in pets, natural pet food, nutrician for Cancer prevention, nutrition, Pet Health, pet immune system support, Pet Nutrition, pet obesity epidemic, pet recipes, ubiquinol
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Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
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If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!