Dietary Recommendations for Cancer Recovery in Dogs & Cats

Diet can be a powerful tool in the fight against pet cancer.

We all fear that awful “C” word. It’s a feeling of helplessness when a beloved pet has the unfortunate diagnosis of cancer. When pet guardians come to me for advice on how they can help their pet recover from cancer, the first thing I address is diet. An individual’s diet is the basis for all health and the building block for recovery from any illness.

Cancer results due to a failure of the body’s immune system to respond to abnormal dividing cells and an inability to stop their growth. There are many theories as to why cells begin to grow in a cancerous manner. Some causes may include stress, inappropriate diet, radiation, genetic mutations, toxins, chemicals and other substances that disrupt healthy function of the body.

Diet Changes For Cancer Recovery

  1. Eliminate highly processed foods, including the traditional kibble
  2. Avoid preservatives, artificial colorings and additives
  3. Choose freshly prepared foods that are naturally rich in anti-oxidants
  4. Choose diets low in simple carbohydrates
  5. Supplement high doses of quality omega 3 fatty acids
  6. Provide moderate levels of quality protein and fat

Limit Carbohydrates

Cancer cells are immature cells that are rapidly growing and require readily accessible energy sources such as that in simple sugars and carbohydrates. For this reason, lowering carbohydrate sources is an important step to improving protection against cancer. Foods rich in carbohydrates include: traditional kibble, pasta, bread, biscuit treats and crackers, cereal, and desert.

Try Antioxidants

Anti-oxidants, such as Vitamin E, C, and Selenium, can slow down the growth of cancer cells and protect against the effects of chemotherapy. Foods naturally rich in anti-oxidants include: leafy green vegetables (such as spinach and kale), berries (such as blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries) and many other fruits and vegetables including apples and red beans.

Add Anti-Cancer Food Sources

Other anti-cancer food sources include foods rich in Vitamin A (sweet potato, carrots, kale, parsley, liver, eggs), foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids (salmon, sardines, flax seeds), foods rich in Vitamin D (herring, salmon, mackerel, egg yolks, beef liver, tofu). In addition, there are a multitude of supplements with known anti-cancer properties including: curcumin (found in turmeric), medicinal mushrooms, garlic, milk thistle, green tea, glutamine, ginseng and many others.

There is no known “miracle cure” for cancer, however, a fresh diet rich in natural cancer protective ingredients is a great way to improve the body’s ability to combat against the big “C”.

Meet the Author: Dr. Leilani Alvarez

Leilani Alvarez, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVCHM is an integrative veterinarian, utilizing both conventional and holistic modalities and is employed at the renowned Animal Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Alvarez is the director of The Tina Santi Flaherty Rehabilitation & Fitness Service at NYC’s Animal Medical Center. She practices Integrative Medicine, which includes therapies such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy and physical rehabilitation, which help to increase the overall health of a patient and can often increase the success of conventional treatments.

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