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

Detoxification in Dog Cancer

Updated: October 10th, 2018

One of the ways companies make money on cancer is by using words that sound great but mean little.

“Detoxification” is one of them.

Let’s take a closer look at this.  On the surface, getting rid of “toxins‘ is a good idea, right?  “Toxins” bad, “detox” good, correct?

Well, sure, except nobody really knows what this means.  Take the “toxic” effects of drugs.  We have drugs like medications, illegal drugs, drugs in food and drink (alcohol, caffeine, others) and “natural drugs” made in the body (don’t get me started on the word “natural”!)

“Toxicity”, when used in this vague sense, could be organ injury from the drug directly, or it could be a harmful effect produced by the body itself in response to the drug, or it could be an allergic reaction, or it could be a withdrawal effect from an addictive substance…just to name a few.

So “detox”, related to drugs, is pretty hard to wrap one’s brain around.  What does it mean? Does a “detox” supplement help with any or all of these?

Let’s look at another area that ups the confusion ante. The body makes a lot of “toxic” waste products during normal living.  Many of those made end up passing out in urine and feces, a product of busy organs like the kidney and liver.  The skin excretes some in sweat, and a wee bit are exhaled. Does a “detox” supplement insure that more of the body’s wastes will be excreted?

Normal metabolism creates a whole slew of “toxins” (bad, bad poisons made by Mother Nature). Free radicals and aldehydes are just two examples. Enzymes within the body handle these, with the help of substances found in the diet.  This cluster of mechanisms would be another way to look at “detoxification”.  Does a “detox” supplement increase these effects?

But wait!  What about all those nasties from diet, water, and air?  We have our usual slew to consider, including heavy metals (lead, mercury, and so on), aromatic hydrocarbons from fossil fuel combustion (car exhaust, factories, etc), nitrates and nitrites (preservatives that end up carcinogenic in the body), plastics and everything made out of them, pesticides, herbicides….an endless list.  These are all “toxins”.  So “detoxification” would point to reducing the harmful effects of some or all of these, am I correct?

Does a “detox” product actually address these things?   There are so many aspects of the picture.  We can decrease exposure.  We can decreasing absorption of them once on the skin, or in the lungs or GI tract.  We can boost the needed enzymes and other internal factors.  We can increase the excretion in the urine or feces.  Which is being addressed, and how?

What is the evidence?  How is the claim shown to be true?  Where is it shown that the promise of “detoxification” is fulfilled?

Here is my main problem with “detoxification”.  You, the concerned dog lover, are in the cross-hairs of unethical companies advertising “detox” products all over the place.  If you were to call the manufacturer for real data showing the product did what they claimed, and really analyze what you were sent, you would most often be disappointed.

Some of us are not trained in the finer points of critiquing information that is used to back up flimsy or false claims.  And thereby, some are vulnerable to grifters out to make a quick buck.

I do not like businesses that take advantage of people in a crisis.  The use of vague words that sound good, as if they contain measurable effects and definitions (but usually do not), is one of the ways innocent people experiencing pain get bamboozled.

So keep your eyes open, dog lovers.

Remember, the first step is always information gathering.  The way to gather information is by questioning.  Always question.  You will be happy you did!

Best to all,

Dr D

Discover the Full Spectrum Approach to Dog Cancer

Leave a Comment





  1. DogCancerBlog on October 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Sherry. Ugh, we totally understand. Please remember to breathe, and to do some of those emotional management exercises in Chapter 2. They’re so helpful, and sometimes especially at this stage. Remember, she is so grateful for everything you are doing, and loves you so much. In order to reduce lymphedema, you can very gently massage at her shoulders and flanks. Here’s a good video that shows a really simple technique. You want to be pretty gentle. Think of what you’re doing as not “pushing” fluid,” but instead as “draining fluid.” You’re opening up the shoulders and flanks so the fluid can drain, not trying to force it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGW_yGD1BgA

    • Sherry Roy on October 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you for explaining that I think I was trying to force it. Hopefully you can help me out with 1 more thing because I cant find nothing on this . I got 1000ml lactated rings I was gonna put the iv between her shoulders but stopped. I thought if she’s already has swollen limbs wouldn’t I be adding her to be more swollen? I didn’t want to do something that would harm her. Thank you for the prayers and cuddles we surely need them. Hope to hear from you soon

    • Sherry Roy on October 10, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      oh the lactaded rings for dehydration

      • DogCancerBlog on October 10, 2017 at 1:43 pm

        We’re sorry, we’re not familiar with those. We would ask your veterinarian and see what they think.

  2. Amber Drake on October 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Hello, Sherry. Please do not massage your dog’s tumor, because it’s possible that you could do more harm than good. If you have Dr. Dressler’s book and you’re working with KetoPet Sanctuary’s diet, you’ve already got a lot of resources at your fingertips that we trust. At this time, there is no one product that “detoxifies” in the way you’re hoping. We’re sending prayers and cuddles to you and Bella.

    • Sherry Roy on October 10, 2017 at 8:27 am

      No I wasn’t going to massage the tumor that is under her jaw. Her right side legs have become swollen due to a blockage in her lymphatic system so now she has secondary lymphedema its not curable but by me massaging her swollen limbs and putting compressed bandages on her legs I can help push the fluids. Its pretty much all I left its my last bit of hope I have because she isn’t doing well at all. The thought of loosing is already killing me inside

  3. Sherry Roy on September 26, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    Dr D I was wonder since this blog started 8 yrs ago I was hoping that there is a proven natural remedy that can detox a dog. My Bella had a biopsy but it came back inconclusive but vet said he believed it to be sarcoma. Its under her jaw very large about 4” wide now her right front leg has grow 2” sz & back right leg is becoming swollen do to lymphatic fluids hardening up? So I’m praying time has change and I can help her .. I seen a green juice recipe in a cancer group and massaging technics on you tube. Do you know of anything that can help her?, She is on a raw diet that Ketopetsanctuary gave me since July of this yr

  4. Sherry Roy on September 26, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    There are people in this world that will take advantage when 1 is in a crisis, quick fix for your cash, false promise’s.. I had a good paying job til a parents worst nightmare came to life being she was my 1nOnly I just couldn’t handle the pain I walked away from my job then lost my house. So by 09/2012 it was me and my 2 dogs 1 of the dogs was my daughters. I stay with a family member & still cant put my foot in front of the other. I have to say my fur babes is the only thing that brings me comfort. Now I’m faced with my daughters dog having cancer don’t know what way to turn or go me not being strong enough to deal with my loss & leaving my job is now hurting the 1s that bring me comfort. No money no hope for my baby to beat cancer. When I seen Dr. D cancer book I broke down emailed his team told them I didn’t have a job and I needed to help my cancer dog because she helped me & she was my baby. Dr.D book editor paid for my book. Having a book published isn’t free but yet this lady who doesn’t know me and I could of been just trying to get a freebie they didn’t know, Thank you cancer team Thank you Molly for believing in me Keep doing what your all are doing!!

  5. Ed on December 31, 2012 at 3:35 am

    I give my dog chlorella, as it has proven to have detox effects in humans, and take it myself everyday.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on January 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Ed, yes, algae has benefits. I like spirulina pacifica (included in Everpup formulation- http://www.everpup.com for more info).
      Dr D

  6. Jess on May 3, 2010 at 7:41 am

    We have a lovely dog called Todi whose mother died of cancer last month (a different owner). Todi is my best friend; naturally we are very cautious as my husband is a cancer survivor too. As Karen pointed out earlier, I do not want businesses making money because I fear that my dog can develop cancer some day. Today I came across your wonderful blog and it will certainly answer a lot of questions that I have. I agree companies advertising detox products might be fooling us in buying their products.

    • Dr. Dressler on May 16, 2010 at 11:59 am

      Thank you Jess. Yes, it is strange…there are many things that can be done that are “outside the box” but the problem is that sometimes they really are not assessed. Thanks for your input.
      All my best,
      Dr D

  7. Lisbeth Gjetnes on December 28, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Dear Dr D. I wanted to tell you that my Standard Poodle Connor was diagnosed with agressive giant cell sarcoma back in November 2009. They removed the growth on his forleg and adviced me he would require chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I decided against this method as I knew the stress would kill him and I did not wish to put further toxins through his body. So, I commenced on K9 Immunity and K9 transferre factor. I then saw my homeopathic vet Mark Elliott who prescribed “carcinosis and thuja” alternet weeks. Connor commenced his fifth week of this Saturday gone and his recurring tumour has vanished. Miracle or what, could it have been the combination of K9 Immunity and K9 Transferre with the homeopathic treatment who knows? But to me I am so grateful for his progress and he is 10 years old but behaves like a 2 year old. I have also put him onto a raw organic diet with meats and seasonal vegetables plus some aloe vera.
    I for one will never buy conventional “dog Food” again, full of pure rubbish, and as I understand there is no governing body stating what pet food manufacturers can label their products so you could be bying freeze dried shit and it could state PREMIUM DOG FOOD no thanks. Wake up ALL DOG LOVERS and research the evidence. The proof is in the pudding!!! Reagards Lisbeth Gjetnes

  8. Karen on December 28, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Just as you do not like businesses that take advantage of people in a crisis, I am not fond of those that exploit my dog’s cancer making a quick buck, profiting from her condition. It has been a long and rough journey. I have found it has become easier to desertain those with a genuine concern for my pet’s health from those that only have a desire to profit off those who are in need of help.

    Dr. Demian Dressler your “free” kokua is very vague. I am reminded of the dangling carrot effect. It saddens me that others like myself are asked to pay for information that may help our furry family member.

    Rationalize it all you want. Bachi my kind Sir, bachi.

    • Dr. Dressler on December 30, 2009 at 11:41 am

      Dear Karen,
      I am sorry you feel like I am taking advantage of people. I have written, I think, about 150 blog posts. If you were to read each one (which I encourage you to do), you would find a large amount of useful information. I am sorry you are unhappy. One of the aspects of information delivery to a large number of people is that one has to speak in generalities. Every pet is unique, being on certain medications and having different things that need to be weighed when making decisions. Yes, general information by it’s nature is more vague than a specific recommendation for a given patient, which has to take into account more than you know.
      It seems that charging for a book about something that has emotional aspects for people who need it is unacceptable, based on what you wrote. Following that, one make the same statement about charging for a surgery or a counseling session for those who need it, or even charging for the books on the shelves at Border’s.
      I am sorry you feel like I am taking advantage of you, but huge numbers of others out there who appreciate what I do and motivates me to continue, so I will continue as I have been.
      Perhaps the root of this comment has more to do with the rough journey you have been on, and less to do with the comment itself. I hope things get less rough for you.
      Take care Karen,
      Dr D