I’m happy to report a news article highlighting one of the subjects, carcinogenic heterocyclic amines, discussed in the Guide.
The Mercola article discussed a publication about finding this substance, PhIP, in dog fur (as an aside, not all dogs have fur, as some have hair, but that is a different story!). PhIP is in a class of carcinogens that got a quick splash of media attention in the seventies, and then…disappeared.
This class of carcinogens, the heterocyclic amines (HCA’s), is formed upon heating protein, like that found in red meat and fish, to temperatures around 398 F. The heterocyclic amines as a group are known carcinogens to lab animals as well as to people.
So the question becomes what to do with this information? Do we stop cooking food?
There are several steps that can be taken. First, for dogs with cancer, we want to cook the food at lower temperatures than one might normally. Instructions for this are in the Dog Cancer Diet pdf at the top of this page. Common ways of doing this are by steaming or braising food. We don’t want to feed raw meats, in general, to dogs with cancer. The reason for this is that they usually have weakened immune function, particularly if the cancer is large or has metastasized. Malignant cancers suppress the immune system. And the meats that are normally available do have some microbes in them which can occasionally be problematic for a weakened immune system.
The second step is to combine the food with cancer-fighting additions. Some include brassica (cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts), garlic, mung beans, shitake mushrooms, fresh green herbs, and so on. These should also be cooked at low heat or in some cases can be blended into a puree which is combined with the meat and usually is taken well by the dog.
Third, try to avoid vegetable or corn oil. This is rich in inflammation-producing omega-6 fatty acids, which contribute to cancer-promoting effects in the body. Olive oil and coconut oil are good alternatives.
Finally, what if home cooking is not an option? Many guardians find that they can cook some of their dog’s food, but the entire amount is too costly or time consuming. In these cases, we can pick the second best option, which is to use some commercial dog food that is more friendly to the canine cancer patient. Some examples are Honest Kitchen, Orijen, Solid Gold, Evo, Halo, and the like.
So remember, try to keep those food temperatures down and reduce carcinogen exposure for your loved pet!
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.