In the last post I wrote about one of the issues in most commercial dog foods contributing to dog cancer: omega 6 fatty acid excess. This is a group of fats that are found in large quantities in corn products, vegetable oils, and meat products like tallow and lard, to name a few sources. Dogs in the wild eat lean meats (imagine an antelope’s body) and digested plant matter from the prey’s intestines. The diets we are feeding them currently are inappropriate, and in some ways harmful.
This omega 6 fat excess sets the stage for cancer development, stimulates cancer cell growth, and decreases the body’s natural cancer-fighting abilities.
Our dog’s bodies can better handle the omega 6 excess by providing them with another type of fatty acid that will decrease the harmful effects of too much omega 6. These are oils containing omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in high concentrations in fish oils. I outline this topic in detail in the upcoming book, but for the purposes of this discussion let’s focus on oil from sardines, menhaden, mackeral, salmon and so on. Cod liver oil is NOT a good source for omega 3 supplementation.
If your loved dog has a cancer at this time, you want to get as much omega 3 in him or her as possible. Start slowly and work your way up to large amounts over about 2 weeks to avoid an upset stomach. Give with food. For a dog about 60 lbs, you want about 18 grams of good quality fish oil containing omega 3’s. This usually means about 15-20 of the typical capsules daily, which is a large amount! For double strength caps, halve the dose. Adjust up or down for the size of your dog. The capsules can be popped and the oil mixed in food if your dog resists eating the capsules by themselves. Watch for digestive upset (vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite), and if so, stop and then later start with lower doses increased more slowly.
Krill oil is, in my opinion, the best option for supplementing fatty acids for a variety of reasons…
If your loved dog is not diagnosed with cancer and is on typical commercial food, I would have you begin an omega 3 fatty acid supplement at lower doses than those dogs with cancer. For a 60 lb dog, my opinion is a standard supplemental dose of roughly 4-6 grams of omega 3-containing capsules daily. Remember to start with low doses than work up over 2 weeks.
There is limited, theoretical evidence that you should stop these supplements 10 days before surgery as they may have mild blood-thinning effect. Do this as a precaution, to be on the safe side.
I will be giving many more practical tips to increase your dog’s health in upcoming posts!
Best to all,
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.