Diet for Dogs with Cancer

Canine cancer is a severe medical condition. Support care is available and a special diet must be administered for dogs with cancer.

The diet of a dog with cancer must be rich in protein and fatty acids, which can strengthen the immune system. Sick dogs have a weakened immune system. Cancerous dogs are exposed to various diseases, which can be fatal, so monitoring these is a priority in managing the pet's health.

Protein Rich Dog Food

Dogs with cancer need extra proteins, which strengthen the dog's immune system and will give him more energy. A healthy dog should get 18 to 20% protein in the daily diet, but a dog with cancer needs 30% protein.

The vet may recommend prescription food, or you may opt for homemade food. Homemade food lacks the additives and preservatives that are present in commercial food. The storage of commercial food can spoil the quality of the ingredients in the cans.

Foods that are rich in protein include chicken and lean meats, tuna or sardines.

Consult your vet about the other ingredients recommended for dogs with cancer. You have to make sure that the food you prepare is healthy for your dog, and doesn't lack the essential nutrients.

Grain Free Food

Grains are not recommended for dogs with cancer. Grains are digested in healthy dogs, but cancerous dogs don't produce the necessary enzyme to properly absorb grains. Most of the commercial food contains grains, so you may choose to prepare the food for your pet.

If you prepare food at home, avoid using corn, rice or wheat.

Eggs, carrots, broccoli, spinach or cottage cheese are recommended.

Wet food is also less rich in grains, and is healthier for the kidneys and easier to digest.

Fatty Acids

A cancerous dog will need special nutrients, so as to be able to manage the production of extra tissues. Essential fatty acids such as omega 3, 6 and 9 will help in the production of new tissues. If the dog doesn't get these supplements, the body will take these nutrients from the fat deposits or the muscle mass. In time, this can lead to a weakening of the body and liver or kidney disease.

Fatty acids are present in fish oils, tuna or sardines. Increase the intake of one of these ingredients in your dog's diet. Capsules of fish oil may be added to your dog's regular diet. Vets recommend K9 omega fish oil capsules or flax seed oil, as these contain no additives. Any capsules you choose should have a minimum amount of additives.

Talk to your vet about the right dosage for your dog. Typically, a dog with cancer needs about 1000 mg of fish oil gel per day.

Dietary Supplements

In addition to a prescription or homemade diet, a dog with cancer will need a few supplements that will support the production of extra tissues and provide the necessary vitamins and minerals to strengthen the immune system.

Antioxidants will support the effect of chemotherapy.

The vet will also recommend fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene.