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

Herbs in a Dog Cancer Diet?

Updated: May 15th, 2024

You would be amazed at what are in herbs.

For all readers with a “conventional only” medicine approach (anti “alternative), read on.  You may be surprised.  For you “alternative only” people (anti “conventional”),  this will be right up your alley.

For those of you with a rational, discerning, anti-bias viewpoint, congratulations.  You are a full-spectrum approach supporter. You will be able to use more tools, to greater effect,  to help your dog’s health than either of the previous two groups.

So, back to herbs.  It is peculiar to think of food herbs as being beneficial to dogs.  Yet, I included them in the dog cancer diet for good reason.

When doing the research for the Apocaps preparation (for those who don’t know, this is the apoptogen supplement I designed for my patients), I evaluated hundreds and hundreds of compounds.

Many interesting and novel molecules are out there, and a whole slew of them can be found in herbs.   Now, did I include all of them in Apocaps?  Nope.  The reason is because we need to insure high safety, desired effects, and insure compounds get into the bloodstream from the pill.

A lot of very active molecules are found in herbs.  However, we have not adequately tested for safety if we were to extract very high doses of these actives to give for dogs with cancer.

But, I feel we can take advantage of the raw herbs and include them in the Dog Cancer Diet recipe found in The Guide.

Take eugenol, for example.  This is a little known compound that has quite potent effects in the body and is found in a bunch of herbs, notably basil and cloves.

When high doses of eugenol were injected into mice with experimental solid carcinomas in their abdomen,   a reduction in the tumor of almost 25% resulted.

In melanoma, eugenol treatment stopped metastasis of the cancer in lab animals.  Everyone got excited and then tested six compounds related to eugenol, and some helped induce apoptosis.

What is apoptosis? Programmed cell death of deranged cells.  This is the strategy used to create Apocaps, and the goal of this product, and how dogs benefit.

Eugenol had nice affects against colon cancer cells in test tubes as well.

Another interesting thing about eugenol is that has some neat antimicrobrial properties.  It is used in a wash for throat infections in people, and has some neat affects against mites too.

But shouldn’t we then take a bunch of eugenol and give it to our dogs??

Not so fast.  Safety still needs to be established.  This is not a mickey-mouse molecule.

But basil?  Go for it!

Lots of dogs seem to love herbs in their food, and with some added affects possible against cancer, why not?  So that’s why I included herbs like basil in the Dog Cancer Diet and in The Guide.


Dr D

Leave a Comment

  1. Paula on March 17, 2013 at 3:27 am

    Good Morning Dr. Dressler, I was given the name of your wonderful book yesterday and downloaded it on my Nook. I want to start the diet today, with the slow introduction to my sweet girl Sambuca, who has been diagnosed with HSA. My question to you is, I have another westie, can I feed her this diet too? They eat together. Thank you so much!

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on March 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Dear Paula,
      I am sorry to hear about your Sambuca.
      no, that diet is not appropriate for dogs that do not have cancer. Of course, you can give your other westie some of it, so she can enjoy too!
      Don’t forget to stat slooowwwwly.
      Dr D

  2. Anthea Reilly on January 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    On the 16th January I listened in to your webinar program and was grateful that you answered my question first. Unfortunately, the part where I told you that my 9 year old chow mix, who had the malignant melanoma removed from her anal sac on the 2nd December 2010, has been examined recently and the mass is growing back already. I have ordered two bottles of Apocaps and am taking a lot of care with her diet. As the cancer is obviously moving fast, do you reckon that the Apocaps will help at this late stage?
    The reason I am not going with the vaccine is that the radiologist/oncologist specialist held out little hope for the vaccine alone. He wanted to put Bea through both radiation, plus the vaccine. I am choosing not to do that.
    Her quality of life is good, at present, but the danger is that she will develop another abscess and then her bowel will become blocked.

  3. Marcia Gorrell on January 17, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I purchased The book Dog Cancer Survival Guide and am thrilled at the wealth of information that i now have at my disposal without doing so many time consuming searches to get answers! Thank you Dr Dressler for such a remarkable source of information.
    My question relates to the index of the book. When doing a quick lookup for info, the page numbers do not match the book pages of information. Has there been a correction to this and if so how do I obtain it for my book. Thanks and again God Bless this wonderful Doctor who has such a sincere love of one of our most precious pocessions, our pets. Sincerely Marcia Gorrell

    • DemianDressler on March 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      Dear Marcia,
      you are absolutely correct. This is being remedied in the second edition, out soon. Keep in contact in about 2-3 months and we will send you a second edition, courtesy!
      Dr D

  4. Maria Neal on January 17, 2011 at 6:02 am

    I currently am stapped for cash, I am waiting till I get paid on Friday to try and purchase your book. I love my dog Hydro he was diagnosed with lympoma cancer. He is having difficulty walking, I started him on Reishi mushrooms for his health and I am currenly giving him raw meat for his diet. I am struggling financially because I have to support my son Jake and his family in Juarez, Mexico and Hydro belongs to Jake however he has always lived with me. He is my best friend and I love him like my son. How much do the herbs cost for Hydro. Thank you for your concern

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