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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

“Alternative” Strategies That May Help Dogs with Cancer

Updated: October 3rd, 2018

alternative-dog-cancerSome conventional vets find Chapter Fifteen in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide one of the most controversial sections of the book. It’s where Dr. Demian Dressler talks about his fifth step in Full Spectrum cancer care: brain chemistry modification.

Dr. Dressler has found that it’s really important to boost your dog’s mood in order to fully treat cancer. A happier dog is a dog that heals faster – and elevated mood states have been shown to help cancer outcomes. There are all sorts of ideas in this chapter about things you can do help your dog feel happier.

First, Do No Harm

Most conventional vets agree that a happier dog feels better than an unhappy dog, and that makes all of us dog lovers feel better, too.

But Dr. Dressler also pulls together the peer-reviewed literature on subjects like Ayurvedic medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and herbs), meditation, massage, energy healing, and even prayer – and that can push some reviewers a little too far.

But Dr. Dressler’s point is that anything that could help and doesn’t hurt should be considered. That goes for surgery, and the other conventional tools – but it should also go for things often considered “alternative.”

The included complementary therapies have been shown to offer support in published studies. As Dr. Dressler likes to say “I’m outside the box, but I’m not woo woo. I only recommend trying things that could help, and don’t hurt.”

In other words, he lives up to his Hippocratic Oath. It’s the oath all medical professionals take, and it starts “First, do no harm.”

So if you’re already giving your dog a little massage, or saying a prayer (or asking others to pray), or hiring a Reiki practitioner, not only are you not alone, but you’re already doing some of the things Dr. Dressler says are worth considering if they appeal to you.

And when we’re facing cancer, we need all the help we can get.

These Strategies are Probably Good for You, Too

Many dog lovers dealing with this awful disease add in as many strategies from Step Five: Brain Chemistry Modification as possible. Not only might they help our dogs – they definitely make us feel closer, and that we’re doing something concrete.

It’s a really interesting chapter, and we hope you draw strength from it. Because if anything is clear after all this time, it’s that while there is no magical cure for systemic cancer, there are many things that may help.

True Tails

Make sure you read some of the “True Tails” scattered throughout the book, too. They are written for you — the reader of the current edition — by previous readers of the first edition of the book. They contributed their “tails” in order to help you. They describe firsthand their own experiences about what worked, what didn’t work, and how to think about dog cancer. They are incredibly supportive, and one of the reasons that so many readers feel like there is a “whole team” of people who are on their side.

The editor of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide thought long and hard before including so many of these tails in the book. In the end, she decided that the positive “chorus of support” from other dog lovers dealing with dog cancer was in itself a little brain chemistry modification for you – the reader.

The Dog Cancer Kit has several other resources that can help. In addition to the book, (and the eBook edition, which you can read while the paperback is shipped to you), you get The Dog Cancer Coping Guide, which can help you to calm down and think clearly about which strategies and treatments to include (and which to rule out). There is also the Ask Dr. Dressler webinar, a monthly series going back to April of 2009, which is amazing to listen to.

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We could not recommend Dr. Dressler’s book more highly!

Best Wishes & Doggy Kisses from Our Homes to Yours,

Dog Cancer Vet Team

(The Team of Dog Lovers Who Understand What It Means to Have a Dog with Cancer)

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