Canine Liver Cancer Diet Tips

Canine liver cancer is not an extremely common form of cancer in dogs, accounting for only roughly 2% of all canine cancer diagnoses. When it does occur in dogs, however, it is something that requires medical and dietetic treatment to help prolong the life of the dog. While there are methods of treatment other than diet change, implementing a diet change for a dog with liver cancer can ultimately help him to live a longer, happier life.

Liver Function and Contribution

The liver plays a large role in metabolizing and excreting digested toxins from the body. When a dog has been diagnosed with liver cancer, it means that some type of malignant tumor has developed either within the liver or in the cells of the liver and is prohibiting the proper function of the liver from occurring. In order to combat the cancer and reduce the workload on the existing, functioning liver cells, veterinarians will often recommend a diet that is specific to treating dogs with liver cancer.

High-Quality Diet

When the ability of the liver has been impaired, it is important not to overload the liver with preservatives and additives that it can no longer properly metabolize, which is why veterinarians will recommend a high-quality diet that is devoid of such ingredients. For the dog owner, this will mean learning how to properly read the ingredient list on the dog food bag. Low-quality and cheaper dog foods tend to be nothing more than processed scraps that are not safe or not nutritious enough for human consumption. While lower quality foods may be suitable for some dogs, they are certainly not suitable for a dog with liver cancer.

Limit Carbohydrates

While a dog will still need a small amount of carbohydrates in its diet, cancer cells are fantastic at taking energy from them and reducing the amount of amino acids in the body. An excessive amount of carbohydrates can be harmful to canine liver disease because it can allow the tumor to thrive, grow and metastasize, so carbohydrate consumption should be limited.

Implement More Lipids

Unlike carbohydrates, cancer cells do not have use for lipids, or fats. However, the rest of the body makes great usage of lipids. Lipids have key properties that are beneficial to many biological functions and include anti-infective and cancer-fighting properties. For this reason, a dog with liver cancer should have its diet altered to include more lipids.

Reduction in Protein

It is never a good idea to reduce the intake of protein without veterinary approval because protein synthesis plays a major role in forming and maintaining the body’s major systems. When a dog is diagnosed with canine liver cancer, however, too much protein can be more harmful than helpful. Protein is another one of those agents that depends on the liver for metabolic breakdown, causing the liver cells to work harder than is ideal in dogs with liver cancer. Specialty diets are available by prescription that can safely reduce protein intake while still supplying other vital, life-sustaining nutrients.