Cancer is a word that quickly catches your attention can even terrify you.
Unfortunately, the incidents of cancer have been increasing in humans and dogs alike and a disease, which was quite uncommon a decade ago, is one of the fastest-growing ones.
An estimated number of 6 million dogs will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
A dog gets cancer when his body’s immune system cannot stop the cells from replicating at an abnormally fast. This disorderly pace leads to the formation of a mass known as a tumor.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10. However, half of all cancers are curable if caught early, experts say.
But, for a dog owner, cancer can mean the end of a life-long friendship. Statistics don’t matter as much as your bond with your furry friend, and you hope that your dog fights the odds.
In this blog post, we will go through how a ketogenic diet can help in treating various cancers in dogs in detail.
Cancer in Dogs: A Growing Epidemic
With the passage of time, cancer has gotten to be a pretty common disease–both, in dogs and humans.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Approximately 1 in 4 dogs will, at some stage in their life, develop neoplasia. Almost half of the dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer.
Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans!
That’s not all, though. An estimated of about fifty percent of dogs over the age of 10 years develop cancer at some point in their lives.
Malignant lymphomas, also known as the tumor of the lymph nodes are commonly seen in dogs, mast cell tumors (a form of skin cancer), mammary gland tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, breast cancer, etc. are commonly seen in dogs.
Bone cancer is also common in dogs.
As compared to other companion animals, dogs are affected by more forms of cancer.
In fact, according to the Veterinary Cancer Society, cancer is the leading cause of death in 47% of dogs, and 32% of cats. Dogs get cancer at about the same rate as humans, while cats get fewer cancers.
Cancer is genetic in the sense that some families or breeds of dogs do show a higher incidence for developing cancer at an earlier age but, this disease is mostly found in aging dogs.
Types of Cancer in Dogs
Did you know that about one-third of all tumors in dogs are skin tumors?
Up to twenty percent of those are mast cell tumors.
About 50% of all skin tumors are found on the body and 40% on the limbs (mostly the hind legs) and the rest on the head or neck. About 11% occur in more than one location.
The common locations where you can find mast cell tumors include the skin, spleen, liver, and bone marrow in dogs.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common forms of cancer in dogs:
- Bone – The tumors are mostly seen in large breed or giant dogs that are usually older than seven years in age. The most common sites include near joints and the leg bones. The symptoms of this cancer include lameness, swelling in the affected area, and persistent pain
- Mammary Gland (Breast) – Did you know that 50% of all breast tumors in dogs are malignant? This is why it is advisable to get your female dog spayed before she reaches the age of 12 months to reduce the risk of mammary gland cancer
- Skin – The skin tumors are quite commonly seen in older dogs and they are mostly benign. However, whatever the case may be, you need to get your dog examined by the vet to be sure that the skin tumor isn’t cancerous
- Lymphoma – One of the most common forms of neoplasia in dogs and cats is lymphoma which is characterized by an enlargement of one or many lymph nodes in your furry friend’s body
- Abdominal Tumors – The tumors that are physically inside your dog’s abdomen can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages. They are quite common and abdominal swelling and weight loss are some of the most common signs
- Head & Neck – Neoplasia of the mouth is quite common in dogs and some of the signs you need to look out for include bleeding, mass or tumor on the gums, difficulty eating, or odor. Most swellings are malignant which is why an early, aggressive treatment is usually required.
Neoplasia can also develop inside your dog’s nose and the common symptoms of this include bleeding from the nose, facial swelling, and breathing difficulty
- Testicles – Testicular tumors are quite common in dogs–especially for dogs that have retained testicles (this means that the testicles that did not move to their normal positions during growth, and may be located in the abdomen or between the abdomen and scrotum)
The most important thing to ensure that your dog gets a diagnosed early is to know the most common types of cancers in dogs and their symptoms to know exactly what you need to look out for.
Some forms of cancer are breed-specific so, you should look into your dog’s breed and the common cancers to keep a close eye on him.
The prognosis of cancer is much better when it’s caught early.
Diet and Cancer: The Lifestyle Link
It is true that cancer in dogs is genetic.
However, you cannot blame everything on the bloodline and genes because lifestyle, too, plays a big role on your dog’s physical wellbeing.
While genes do matter, it is the lifestyle that determines whether or not a certain gene will be activated. For example, a person may be genetically predisposed to getting diabetes. However, by leading a healthy lifestyle, the person can avoid getting the disease altogether.
It’s no coincidence that the incidence of cancer has skyrocketed as commercial pet food has become more available.
When a certain disease is spreading widely, you need to take a closer look at the lifestyle and nutrition of your pet. If your dog is inactive all day, doesn’t get the exercise he needs and is eating the same brand of pet food since Day 1, you have your culprit right there.
Most commercial dog foods available online are usually high-heat processed, 4D protein-laden, carbohydrate-based dog foods that aren’t as healthy for your dog as they claim to be.
Commercial Dog Food: It’s Fast Food for Your Dog!
If you eat heavily-processed fast foods such as tacos, fries, rice bowls, burgers, etc. all day every day, things are bound to go wrong with your body, right?
This is common sense to us all.
However, when it comes to our pets, we put our complete faith in the pet food industry and give our dogs kibble which is advertised to be the best for our furry friend.
Did you know that dogs and people share roughly 75% the same genetic makeup, and we have similar nutritional needs?
By feeding our dogs a kibble-exclusive diet, we are just feeding them extremely processed foods that aren’t actually healthy for them because they:
- Are made from low-quality ingredients that are unsafe for human consumption
- Are cooked at high temperatures which means that they lose their nutritional values
- Contain macronutrients in proportions that dogs aren’t simply evolved to process
In fact, dog food can also legally contain ‘4D meat’ which is meat from dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals!
That’s not high-quality nutrition, right!?
Not just that, commercial dog food also contains mill floor sweepings that are labeled as grain, roadkill, and corn which is contaminated with high levels of pesticide. When you mix all of these ingredients together, you have something that will definitely get your pet sick.
The well-reputed premium dog food brands, too, manufacture their products with proteins found from grains or grain by-product sources such as corn gluten meal, brewer’s rice, and wheat, then from healthy meat sources.
So, your dog isn’t simply getting what he was evolved to eat and thrive with.
Animal meat and protein.
No wonder why dogs that are fed exclusive diets of commercial dog food are getting sicker and sicker!
The Ketogenic Diet and All That It Has to Offer
KetoPet Sanctuary is a successful foundation that helps dogs fight cancer by using a clean ketogenic diet which is designed to slow or halt tumor growth! The foundation has an excellent success rate, and over 55% of dogs are still alive, healthy, and happy.
A Ketogenic diet contains 80 to 90%of fat in the form of oil such as coconut, olive, or MCT, 5 to 15% protein in the form of animal meat, and 5% carbohydrates in the form of vegetables.
Yes, it is a strict diet and quite different from that your dog is used to.
According to the Warburg theory which was put forward by Otto Warburg in 1924, cancer feeds on sugar–which is what carbohydrates break down to–but that it doesn’t process fats well.
So, if you were to simply cut out the carbohydrates and sugar from your dog’s diet, you will be able to slow or stop cancer.
In fact, according to various researches, the Ketogenic diet for dogs actually does affect the cancer cells. However, the researchers still are exploring the link as to how diets that specifically control glucose in the body–like the Ketogenic Diet–help in reducing cancer cells and, in some cases, curing it altogether.
When your dog eats a Ketogenic Diet, his body is essentially forced into converting the protein and fat into glucose for energy. This essentially eliminates the need for sources of glucose, like carbohydrates and sugar for your dog.
This means that your dog’s body starts using stored fat or dietary fat as an energy source.
When your dog is on a ketogenic diet, he will potentially lose some weight. You will also be able to notice a reduction of inflammation in his body and he’ll have a stronger immune system.
This will help his body fight the cancer cells from the inside.
The Ketogenic diet is also an excellent way to get your overweight dog’s weight under control and restore his body to its prime.
The Epigenix Foundation conducted a research on how to reverse metabolic disease which lead to the formation of KetoPet Sanctuary in Georgetown Texas—the foundation we discussed earlier in the section.
KetoPet Sanctuary has been using the ketogenic diet on dogs that have terminal cancer, and the results are positive!
So, yes, a Ketogenic Diet can help dogs with cancer live longer, and even reach remission.
The RIGHT Diet for Your Dog to Fight Cancer
The Ketogenic diet has yielded positive results and has helped many furry friends fight off cancer so that they can go back to enjoying their belly rubs, long walks, and the company of their owners.
However, a ketogenic diet alone isn’t sufficient to ensure your dog’s well-being.
The three key things you should keep in mind when buying dog food include:
- Buying food with low sugars: Carbohydrates are counted as sugar as they are processed by your dog’s body the same way. Dogs don’t really need carbs to live and do much well on high-fat, adequate protein, and low carb diets
- Buying food made with organic ingredients: Conventional ingredients are full of toxins and carcinogens which accumulate in your dog’s body and cause diseases. Organic foods are safer, nutritious, and healthier options
- Buying food cooked at low temperatures: Processing and storing foods at a lower temperature ensures that the nutrients in the food remain intact
With a food that’s nutritious and contains everything that’s oh-so-good for your dog, he’s bound to be happier and healthier than ever.
Adding Two and Two: Ketogenic Diet for Dogs With Cancer
Fifty years ago, cancer was practically non-existent.
However, nowadays, it is a common disease, and you can see the incidence rates rising rapidly year after year. It is estimated that 1 in 3 domestic dogs will develop cancer, which is the same incidence of cancer among men!
According to the Warburg theory, was put forward by Otto Warburg in 1924, cancer feeds on sugar–which is what carbohydrates break down to–but that it doesn’t process fats well.
So, according to his theory, a ketogenic diet would be able to slow or stop cancer from growing altogether.
A ketogenic diet actually works in slowing down and even stopping the growth of malignant tissue in dogs that have cancer. While scientists research finding the link, pet advocates have embraced the ketogenic diet with pets that have cancer.
Do you have questions? Leave them in the comments, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.