Cancer in humans continues to make headlines, however cancers in pets, particularly dogs, is still considered a normal course of events. But it doesn’t have to be.
WHAT CAUSES CANCER IN DOGS?
Cancer is a “multifactorial” disease, which means it has no known single cause. However, we do know that hereditary and environmental factors can contribute to the development of cancer in our pets, especially dogs.
Symptoms of cancer may include:
- Lumps (which are not always malignant, but should always be examined by a vet)
- Persistent sores
- Abnormal discharge from any part of the body
- Bad breath
- Rapid, often unexplained weight loss
- Sudden lameness
- Black, tarry stools (a symptom of ulcers, which can be caused by mast cell tumors)
- Decreased or loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating
No one has done any clinical trials or statistical studies that prove it is possible to prevent cancer in at-risk dogs, but common sense and clinical experience make a strong case for avoiding anything that exposes an animal to known carcinogens or weakens the immune system. Just like their human companions, dogs live longer, healthier lives when they eat the right foods, get enough exercise, breathe clean air, drink clean water, and stay away from harmful substances. They may also be helped by immune-boosting herbs, supplements, special foods, and a few things you might not have thought of.
Here’s a review by CJ Puotinen of recommendations from holistic veterinarians and other experts:
MINIMAL VACCINATION PROTOCOL
Increasingly over vaccination has been identified as a health risk by holistic vets and veterinary colleges. “Vaccines really disrupt the immune system, “ says holistic veterinarian Dr Hershman, “especially combination vaccines that are given annually.” Like many holistic veterinarians, she recommends a single-dose parvovirus vaccination at age 10 to 12 weeks, followed by a single-dose distemper vaccination four weeks later and a rabies vaccination after age six months.
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT. SO ARE THEY.
As we grow increasingly conscious about what we feed ourselves and our families, we should consider what goes in our pet’s food. Many veterinarians blame grain-based pet foods for diabetes, digestive problems, and other canine disorders. Keep in mind that the canine digestive tract evolved on a diet of prey animals, consisting mostly of meat and bones, not wheat and corn. Pet food is not tested for many carcinogens (like human food is) and pesticides and it has been proven to contain chemical preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, or by-products of high-heat processing.
IMMUNE SYSTEM BOOST: SUPPLEMENTS
Antioxidant supplements, which help protect the body from damage by free radicals, have many health benefits, including cancer protection. Food-source antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients derived from whole foods are recommended by many holistic veterinarians because they are recognized as food by the body and are more easily assimilated than synthetic vitamins grown in a laboratory. The words “whole food” or “food source” indicate natural rather than synthetic ingredients. One of the simplest cancer-resisting supplements you can add to your dog’s food, according to Bruce Fife, ND, is coconut oil. Dr. Fife, the author of several books about coconut’s health benefits, recommends feeding dogs 1 teaspoon of coconut oil per 10 pounds of body weight per day in divided doses. “The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil help treat or prevent all kinds of illnesses,” he says, “and they have significant anti-tumor properties. Giving your dog coconut oil every day is inexpensive health insurance.”
THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS…GREENER
Lawn treatments and agricultural chemicals are known to cause cancer in animals Dogs pick up pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals through their feet and, when they sniff the ground, through their noses. Keep your dog off the grass in chemically treated neighborhoods, and explore organic alternatives for your own lawn and garden.
Even household chemicals pose a threat to our canine companions. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 150 chemicals found in the average home are linked to birth defects, cancer, and psychological abnormalities. If labels carry a “keep away from children and pets” warning, or if product labels suggest they should be used only in well-ventilated areas, look for alternatives.
STAY AWAY FROM TAP WATER
Fluoride has gotten such good press over the decades that most Americans think it’s essential for healthy teeth. It’s even added to some canine toothpastes. But in many countries, fluoride is considered a hazardous industrial waste, and its use in water supplies is prohibited. In September 2005, eleven unions representing more than 7,000 scientists and researchers at the EPA called for a national moratorium on the fluoridation of America’s drinking water, citing cancer risks.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
You probably haven’t thought about light as a cancer preventive, but it may well be. Not just any light, though. Unfiltered natural light, Mother Nature’s full-spectrum light, activates the hypothalamus and keeps the entire endocrine system balanced. All dogs can benefit from access to the full-spectrum light found outdoors, which activates the hypothalamus and keeps the endocrine system balanced. Light enters the eyes not only to facilitate vision but also to activate the hypothalamus. This region of the brain, in turn, controls the nervous and endocrine systems, which regulate functions throughout the body.
To learn more on how to keep you pets healthy in a natural way visit www.whole-dog-journal.com