7 Ways to Prevent Cancer in Dogs

Cancer: No six letters instills the fear of dread in a dog parent than the “C” word. Canine cancer affects one out of every three dogs.  Of those, over half of them will die of cancer. Can you stop or prevent cancer in dogs?

The good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent your dog from becoming one out of every three dogs who will acquire cancer.

Here are 7 ways to prevent cancer in dogs:

7 Chemical-Free Environment

Take two puppies born to a healthy dog mom and one lives in a household where no one smokes and there is a lack of chemicals around the dog. Puppy B lives in a house where someone smokes around the dog and non-pet-friendly chemicals are used in the household.

Think about it: your dog spends most of his time at home, so he’s surrounded by whatever chemicals you use to clean it. If your dog has environmental allergies, those can be triggered even indoors by the allergens you and your dog bring inside.

Second-hand smoke is a dangerous problem for dog. Consider that dogs spend their days/nights at the feet of their family members. Nicotine and tar permeate into the hair and skin. Pet blogger Melissa Clinton kicked cigarettes and her dogs are happy for it!

Lawn treatments are also a serious threat to dogs: Pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals can get into a dog’s bloodstream. Watch for signs posted on lawns on your walking route and anywhere dogs play. Sometimes signs are not posted, particularly if your dog is walking or playing in an area like a local park. Keep dogs off chemically treated lawns. Wash paws immediately if you suspect any issues: In fact, this dog mom washes her dog’s paws just about daily with chemical-free clothes or a dog shampoo and water.

Click This: Green (pet safe) alternatives to household cleaners

Prevent cancer in dogs

6 Just Say No (to Toxins ON dogs)

I will never forget the moment of terror I felt in reading the pamphlet that came in the box of chemical-filled flea and tick preventative for my dog. “Use gloves before applying.”

I could have cried. Why would I expose my dog to something that I had to use gloves to apply? In that moment, I changed.

I am a fan of non-chemical ways to prevent nasty ticks and fleas. I only use on my dog what I would use on myself. It’s the way I live my life and it serves me well.

Click This: Safe Ways to Prevent Fleas and Ticks

flea prevention

5 Play

A healthy dog with a healthy body and a healthy mind helps increase life span, much like people. Genetics plays an important role in what diseases any species is more inclined to develop, but stimulating a dog’s mind is one of the best things you can do for his or her well being.

Playing with a dog is an instant boost of feel goodness to the soul, and can’t we all use more of that? Nothing replicates the  look in my dog’s eyes when “wanna play” is verbalized. One of the first phrases my dog learned was “wanna play?”

YAY Science: The lymphatic system is involved with the heart, immunity, and the fats of the small intestine in mammals. It makes sense, then, to boost the lymph system to prevent cancer. Exercise is good for the soul, boosts endorphins, helps rid the body of toxins, and all those fabulous things it does for humans, too. Dogs cannot “tell” you it’s time to play but they want to, they really do!

If the weather is crummy, you can still make do indoors.

Spend at least a half hour twice a day with some sort of activity for your dog, taking into considerations his or her overall well being.

Click This: How to Exercise a Lazy Dog

And Things to Do With Your Dog on Rainy Days

lazy dog exercises

4 Watch Those Vaccines!

I am not anti-vaccine, I am anti over-vaccine. Regarding sarcoma tumors in dogs, petMD says, “Vaccination with the rabies vaccine appears to be the underlying cause of this type of sarcoma. Moreover, the risk of developing the tumors may increase with the frequency and number of vaccinations given.”

This dog mom had a Cocker Spaniel who developed a mast cell tumor at the site of then yearly injections. I know better and so I do better. We do NOT routinely vaccinate our dog because the vet says we must do so. We do assess the situation yearly, draw titers, and avoid certain vaccines altogether. We have written extensively and have researched this topic in depth. Please visit these links and do not feel bullied into getting vaccines. Rabies is required by law, but there are dogs who get a waiver due to medical issues on a case by case basis.

Click This: Does My Dog Really Need Vaccines?


Why Your Dog May Not Need Yearly Vaccines

Does a dog need vaccines

3 The Right Diet

Ah, the age old question: What diet is best for my dog? What food should I feed my dog? The answer is simple: The best food for your dog is the one that works best for him or her. What’s that? Read on…

In looking for a dog food to feed in general, some of the qualities important to me include:

  • No artificial ingredients or preservatives: I want it as fresh as possible without having to cook it myself
  • Nutritious and good for my dog
  • Human grade
  • He likes the taste of it and I can rotate flavors if desired without causing digestive upset
  • Made with recognizable ingredients, words I can pronounce, made with human grade ingredients that are not from rendering plants or other nasty places.
  • I am not as concerned with price of food if I know I am feeding quality because I either pay now or pay later in costly medical bills due to an inferior grade of food.
  • No ingredients from China.

Bottom line: Know what is in your dog’s food. Perhaps that means a home-cooked diet. Perhaps that means a diet low in carbohydrates and feeding organically fed and produced ingredients. Perhaps that means a raw diet you feel comfortable serving. Perhaps that means consulting a veterinary nutritionist you trust.

How to pick a good dog food

2 Vitamins and Supplements

We went to one of the top sources for holistic care of pets in this country, Dr. Patrick Mahaney. Mahaney is a veterinarian and President at California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW). I have known Mahaney for years and consider him to be an excellent resource who keeps pace with current trends and is an industry expert.  Mahaney’s terrier, Cardiff, is living (and thriving) despite his diagnoses of Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia and more recently, cancer. Here’s the scoop on vitamins and supplements for dogs:

The Reality of Dog Vitamins and Supplements

I am a fan of organic coconut oil, and have been adding it to my dog’s food for well over a year now. According to Whole Dog Journal, “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. That’s 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) for a 30-pound dog and 2 tablespoons for a 60-pound dog.”

dog vitamins

1 Weight Control

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, and pets are no exception. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reveals that 57.9% of cats and 52.7% of dogs are overweight or obese.

There is no shame in admitting you need help to learn how to help your dog shed pounds. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) released a study of dogs and the direct connection between obesity dogs and cancer. The results? Heavier dogs had more cancer diagnoses.

It’s actually pretty simple to help a dog lose weight IF you and anyone involved with the dog stick to it. There is no rush to get it done, and you should work with your dog’s veterinarian to determine your dog’s daily caloric needs.

Click This: How to Tell if Your Dog is Overweight and Help Him Lose Weight

Yearly visits, at a minimum, to the vet are crucial for blood draws and a physical hands-on feel and look at your dog outside with a complete vitals check. Always seek veterinary care if you suspect anything is amiss with your dog. His or her life depends on you. Remember, dogs are adept at hiding pain and illness, so knowing the “norm” is important.


What Does an Experienced Vet Tech Think?

medicine versus momOnce a month, Rachel Sheppard of My Kid Has Paws shares her former vet tech perspective on the same issue. Please check out the vet tech side of things on canine cancer prevention and head over to My Kid Has Paws for more information on this topic.

Note: We cannot guarantee results for your dog, but Fidose of Reality believes in sharing what works for us and then allow you to make your own informed decisions in conjunction with your dog’s healthcare providers.

In what ways are you involved in helping your dog prevent getting cancer? Have you ever had a pet with cancer? Weigh in below in the comments.


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  1. This is such important information! No one wants our beloved dogs to get that awful disease.

  2. It’s funny I did ALL THOSE TIPS…and my Maine Coon just died of a rare cancer (that only effects dogs) and he just missed his 10th birthday. Way too young to go ….. really I don’t think it matters anymore!!

    1. Hi Gloria, I am so sorry to read this and the loss of your coon dog. It seems like in all these comments, no one replies to anyone. And many of the comments seem a bit, I don’t know, “created”… I am wondering your thoughts now and how much of prevention did you do? So many things could be labeled as prevention, so I don’t know… I just felt like you had an honest real comment here. And I am struggling with the topic myself… especially when generalizing considering certain breeds seem to get it more and worst.

  3. Great info. I had to unfortunately experience liver cancer with my Benny boy a few years ago
    Lily & Edward

  4. This is timely for me because we had my dog’s annual exam today! And I couldn’t believe it but she’s a pound overweight. She’s so active! I like that chart.
    And we did spread out the vaccines because I didn’t want to do too many at once.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing the link to my post! ♥ I have been fortunate that I’ve never dealt with cancer in any of my pets. I am happy to report that I am following the recommendations that you shared here today.

  6. I did not know second-hand smoke was so horrible for pets. Controlling my pet’s weight is one of my top priorities.

  7. Cancer is a sad thing in people and pets. We can only hope we are preventing them in any way we can.

  8. Cancer is never a good thing. It’s hard because there’s so little you can do if it happens. I’m all for preventative measures.

  9. Great post Carol. Cancer scares the hell out of me, both for my human and canine family members. I make sure my dogs get lots of exercise & maintain healthy weight, that’s probably the best thing I do for them. I have found a couple of foods that I like that contain healthy ingredients but I’m always on the lookout for something better. I have yet to completely abandon certain chemical preventions and I vaccinate yearly. I will however, try to go the titer route next year.

  10. We are vaccinating our pups because we will be boarding them. I hate vaccines and really try to limit them as well on dogs. For humans, I am all for it, but our dogs are home and rarely travel so we avoid

  11. Great tips. My sister is in the process of watching their family dog die of cancer. It’s heartbreaking for everyone. Once they are ready for another puppy, I’ll be passing this post along to them. – Katy

  12. Great read. It’s so simple how to keep your dog healthy and (hopefully) cancer free but with our busy lives we sometimes neglect the ones who need us the most!

    I think more people need to be aware of how to make sure that they’re dogs live a healthy, energetic and natural lifestyle. It’s really what’s the best for them!


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