The Best Cancer Diet For Dogs?
While there is a certain genetic factor in determining whether or not a dog will develop cancer, a more decisive factor may actually be diet
In holistic circles, many have started to address cancer development early through feeding dogs optimal, whole foods low in carbohydrates
There is evidence to suggest that a Ketogenic diet high in fat and low in carbs is one of the best ways to help dogs thrive long-term
Current Cancer Statistics
The sad, sad truth is that our dogs are broken. Our puppies are suffering from alarming rates from health issues like obesity & diabetes. But the most alarming illness that is plaguing dogs? Cancer.
It’s estimated that 1 in 3 dogs will currently get cancer (source)
There are around 6 million new cases of canine cancer each year (source)
50% of dogs over the age of 10 will get cancer (source)
Around 16,000 dogs are diagnosed every day with cancer (source)
Something is deeply, metabolically wrong with our dogs. And the way we feed them.
The Link Between Diet & Cancer
In the mainstream, we often talk about canine cancer as though it is a purely genetic issue—which isn’t true.
Cancer is a complex, multi-factorial disease that arises or becomes worse by a number of factors like environment, diet, pollution, carcinogens, exercise, stress, vaccines, and more. According to current research, diet is a huge factor in this multi-factorial equation:
“Researchers estimate that only 5% to 10% of all cancer cases originate from genetic predisposition, while 90% to 95% are the result of lifestyle and environmental factors, such as exposure to pollution and toxins, obesity, lack of physical activity, infection, stress and diet.” (source)
Of course, there is a genetic component to cancer. But to label cancer as a purely genetic disease negates the fact that what dogs eat, and what they do in general, also has a major impact on whether or not they will develop cancer.
There are two things at play here: epigenetics and genetics.
Genetics are the genes that are inherited
Epigenetics are the things we do on top of our genetics to make certain genes turn “on” and “off” (source)
Epigenetics show us that just because dogs have the ability to develop cancer doesn’t mean that they will develop cancer. What they eat, what they are exposed to, and their lifestyle will increase or decrease the chances that they will get cancer.
With all that said: cancer is not a 100% inherited disease. 90-95% of the reason dogs get cancer boils down to environmental factors—so it just makes sense that if we want to decrease the chance that a dog will get cancer, we will optimize their diet and environment to be stress-free and carcinogen-free.
Diet As A Holistic Approach To Cancer
In order to start understanding canine cancer better, we have to look deeper than a reactionary approach. We have to look to the root: lifestyle, diet, and environment.
According to recent studies, the food in a dog’s bowl is a huge factor that can determine whether or not a dog will get cancer:
“Astoundingly, scientists have concluded that 30% to 40% of all cancers can be prevented simply by implementing dietary changes.” (source)
If we are feeding dogs sub-optimal food like kibble of course they will have an increased chance of developing metabolic issues linked to cancer, diabetes, and obesity. That’s because kibble on the whole:
Is made from "poor-quality meats, byproducts and synthetic vitamins and minerals” (source)
Contains high amounts of biologically-inappropriate carbs that are inflammatory to canines. Carbs are necessary to hold kibble together.
Contains little-to-no natural “good bacteria” or probiotics
Contains little-to-no intracellular moisture. That’s why kibble-fed dogs are often dehydrated.
Is often often lacking truly bio-available nutrients after high-heat processing
The point is: dogs are suffering at alarmingly high rates from cancer. Clearly, something is wrong with the way we are mass-feeding our dogs highly processed, lifeless foods. It’s time we start taking a proactive, holistic approach to dog nutrition and health in order to adequately address complex issues like cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Proper nutrition is not a magic cure but a metabolic science.
If we start giving dogs what they biologically require in a natural, unprocessed form, our dogs’ bodies will take care of the rest.
Cancer Diet For Dogs
Given the fact that dogs are carnivores, 99% genetically the same as wolves, and classified taxonomically in the order Carnivora, the ideal diet for a dog is meat and animal flesh.
While dogs are able to use carbs for energy using the limited enzyme amylase, these carbs are processed as glucose/ sugar in a dog’s body. Since dogs have no biological requirement for carbs, they essentially have to “make room” for carbs by storing fat and burning the carbs as quickly as possible.
Over time, dogs who are forced to process less-than-ideal carbohydrates will have less-than-ideal metabolic functioning. Feeding inflammatory, sub-optimal foods filled with carbohydrates is directly linked with increased risk for metabolic disease.
Additionally, carbohydrates literally fuel cancer cells. It’s been known since the 1920’s that cancer cells feed primarily off of glucose. In order to cut off cancer’s source of fuel to begin with, we must stop feeding dogs chronically-inflammatory carbohydrates.
If carbohydrates are inflammatory and cancer-promoting for canines, then what should we fuel our dogs with? Ideally, fats.
Fats are a highly bio-available form of energy for canines. While fat is more complex that carbs or protein, dogs can still efficiently process them. In fact, 90-95% of the fat that a dog eats gets directly metabolized for energy and dogs get 2.5 times as much energy from fats as they do from carbs (source).
Fats are the most optimal form of energy for dogs due to the fact that dogs can efficiently process them. As opposed to carbs, fats are an anti-inflammatory source of fuel for dogs. More about fat.
feed: whole, raw, & fresh foods
Just like with humans, dogs need fresh, whole foods in order to truly thrive. When a dog is fed a biologically-appropriate raw diet, their system is naturally balanced and able to function properly. Without having to work overtime to process harsh chemicals, fillers, or carbs, dogs who eat real, fresh foods are in the best metabolic position to thrive.
Additionally, raw whole foods contain the most bio-available nutrients for dogs. In order to ensure that dogs actually have access to all the nutrients they eat, we have to feed them the best foods in their natural, raw state.
feed: Anti-inflammatory ingredients
For carnivorous canines, the most optimal, anti-inflammatory diet is going to be one high in healthy fats, adequate in protein, and low in carbs. This is a Ketogenic diet for dogs.
Other nutrients that are anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting include:
Turmeric: one of nature’s wonder drugs, turmeric is packed with curcuminoids, a natural and highly effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3’s “have been linked to tumor inhibition and strengthening the immune system.” (source)
Celery: an amazing anti-inflammatory ingredient, celery also contains the cancer busting flavonoid Luteolin.
Coconut Oil: this oil is a great source of medium chain fatty acids that can support skin and coat health.
Zucchini: zucchini is a packed superfood with a number of positive benefits. Zucchini contains Manganese, which increases levels of Superoxide dismutase, the enzyme responsible for protecting mitochondria against oxidative stress. The fiber in zucchini also promotes healthy stools and prevents carcinogenic toxins from settling in the colon.
cancer and a Ketogenic diet
Ketogenic food is high fat, adequate protein, and low carb that shifts metabolism away from using unhealthy carbs and toward burning healthy fats. Eating Ketogenic food, dogs can use their fat for fuel, which is optimal for carnivorous canines.
With cancer, diabetes, and obesity on the rise, pet parents need to be vigilant about what they are putting in their dog’s bowl. Long term, it is ideal to feed dogs foods that contain little to no carbs, healthy fats, and whole, raw foods. In other words, Ketosis-promoting food made from quality ingredients.
This is not just speculation: at Ketopet Sanctuary outside of Austin, TX, there has been clinical success in using a Ketogenic diet to help reverse and eradicate cancer in dogs’ bodies.
It just makes sense: as carnivorous canines, dogs are biologically meant to eat meat and use their fat for fuel. So, when dogs are fed a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carb diet (Keto), they are put in the best position to metabolically thrive and starve cancer cells.
by giving dogs optimal, fresh foods, they can thrive and POTENTIALLY fight the development of Health Issues.
There is hope for reducing rates of canine cancer: if we start taking a proactive approach, listening to our dogs’ bodies, and learning from the past, there is hope to fight for our dogs’ lives.
Feeding Dogs The Right Way With Optimal Food
At Bones & Co, we believe that raw Keto is the best diet to support your dog’s fight with cancer. We believe that if we start feeding our dogs the right way by providing them appropriate, quality foods, health issues currently plaguing our dogs can start to be addressed.
We need to stop focusing on addressing cancer once it’s already at our doorstep. We need to start taking a more proactive, holistic approach to these issues.
We are done being told that canine cancer is “normal.”
According to research, the key to helping our dogs fight cancer just might be in their bowls. Their livelihood may just depend on what we feed them. & it’s up to us to do right by them. That’s why we are starting a Keto Raw-volution, to put the power back in people’s hands to feed their dog optimal whole foods.
Together, when our stories, paws, and fighting spirits unite, we can make a change and help dogs thrive.
Have specific questions about your dog’s health? While B&C cannot give medical advice, we recommend seeking advice from a Holistic Veterinarian for your best furry friend (BFF). B&C is here to be a resource for you while you learn more about raw food, Keto, and dog nutrition!