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

Help overcome dog food dangers: which oils for cancer??

Updated: December 12th, 2018

Rochelle Lesser, who created and manages a great site for Golden Retrievers (and dogs in general), asked about krill oil on a recent post.  Here’s the skinny on why I like its cancer-fighting benefits (krill are those tiny shrimp that whales eat).

First,  krill oil helps offset the omega 6 fatty acid excess I wrote about in the post before last, by supplying needed omega 3 fatty acids.  This helps block the inflammation and suppression of cancer-fighting white blood cells caused by excess omega 6’s. Too much omega 6 fatty acids are found in many commercial dog foods in corn products, vegetable oils, meat fats and more.

Other good sources of omega 3’s are fish oils of various kinds, with Chinook salmon, mackerel, menhaden, and sardine also being up there. So giving these oils stimulates cancer-fighting white blood cells, and decreases inflammation (inflammation is a central part of cancer development). Omega 3’s can also help fight cancer weight loss (cachexia), slow tumor growth, and lessen spread in many cases. So krill and fish oil both are good in these regards.

However, with our understanding of the link between depression in people and cancer, it becomes obvious that this is a massively overlooked problem in dogs.  To my knowledge, this is an area that has not been addressed in any formal way and will be viewed at as “out there” by many conventional vets.  I firmly believe that this line of thought is on the leading edge of a whole new way of looking at dog cancer.

With this in mind, back to krill oil.  Krill do not accumulate heavy metals, so this is not a concern in their oil.  Additionally, they are rich in EPA, the omega 3 fatty acid that has been shown to fight depression and inflammation.  Krill has more EPA than fish oil.  Here is more info. Since depression in people increases cancer, addressing this in dogs is very logical. On top of this, Krill has the capacity to actually restore the size of brain parts that have literally shrunk in depression. This may be due to its phospholipid content, of which krill has more than fish oil. Amazing!

Yes, krill oil costs more than fish oil.  However, you can get away with less, probably about 1/4 less than fish oil. I would recommend about 4-6 of the 500 mg krill oil capsules daily for a 40 lb dog, costing roughly $3 daily.  Not cheap, but good!

To be safe, stop fish oil or krill oil about 10 days before your dog has any surgery.

Thanks to Rochelle of The Land of Pure Gold for the great question!


Best to all,

Dr Dressler


Leave a Comment

  1. carolyn dickinson on October 3, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Hello Dr. Dressler,

    My boy, Ditka was diagnosed yesterday with pulmonary carcinomas yesterday. One is very large 11-13 cm. I have chosen to not put him thru chemo or surgeries as he is much too old (12). He is Golden Retriever/German Shepard mix and as such a pretty big boy. Approx 70 lbs. So this is going to hurt my pocket book for sure. I have just a few questions about dosages and brands.

    The health food store warned me about xylitol. It is used in many fish oils & krill oils. I left without buying either because I wanted to do more research. Do you have a brand you recommend that you know is safe for our dogs?

    Is my dosage calculation of 4000 – 6000 mgs a day correct for my 70 lbs boy? If I am adding this to the base recipe x 4 day’s, thats 16,000 – 24,000. Looking at the bottles at the health food store, that seems way way more than $3 a day. So is there a brand that is the best bang for the buck? I hope so. I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

    • Dog Cancer Vet Team on October 4, 2019 at 8:56 am

      Hey Carolyn,

      Thanks for writing. As we’re not vets here, we can’t offer you medical advice. However, we can point you in the right direction 😉

      In Chapter 14 of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, Dr. D writes that the recommended dose for a dog over 60.1 pounds is 10,000-12,000 mg daily. He does write that you mix it into the food before serving.Or you can pop open the capsule and pour the oil into the food, mixing thoroughly.

      The sudden introduction of fatty acids can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, so work up to a full dosage over about 14 days. As this is a general recommendation, you should consult with your vet to find out what to include, exclude, or minimize in your dog’s diet as there are some precautions with regards to fish/krill oil and surgery, blood-thinning, and dogs with liver issues. Your vet will be able to help you tailor a diet to suit your dog’s particular health needs 🙂

      The Dog Cancer Shop has some great Krill and Fish oil options. If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link:

      We hope this helps! 🙂

  2. Scott Croydon on January 3, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Having finished the Survival Guide, I am confused over the amount of omega-3s suggested for care.

    The base mixture prepared for several days meals calls for 16,000 to 18,000 mg fatty acids, e.g., krill or fish oil depending on patient weight and under daily supplements10,000 to 12,000 mg for a pup 60lbs or heavier.

    The above suggests 18 caps per base lasting 2 days or so and another 12 caps daily or approximately another 24 during those two days. That suggests 42 caps or so at – 1000 mgs.

    Please advise on these dosages.

  3. d man on August 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    you are saying, 3000mg of krill daily for a dog, 40 lb dog may I add. I don’t think so.

    • Susan Kazara Harper on August 29, 2014 at 11:43 am

      Hello d man!
      I truly realize the dosage sounds crazy-big, but believe me, Dr Dressler thoroughly reviewed literature on EPA, DHA and omega 3 fatty acids which supports the need for this level of dosing. A cancer situation is really a wild fire, and when something works we want to make sure we get the full amount which has been proven to be beneficial. You can’t fight a forest fire with a squirt gun and expect to get results. So please consider this, as all your protocol choices, carefully, but trust that the recommended amounts are valid.

Scroll To Top