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

Is There a Link Between Overfeeding and Cancer?

Updated: October 5th, 2018

As humans, we know that overeating is not healthy for us and by the same logic, we must realize that overfeeding our dogs is not healthy for them. While overfeeding can lead to obesity and shorten life expectancy, it may also lead to obesity and cancer. And since dog cancer is difficult to deal with emotionally, we may feel the desire to comfort our companions with extra food or treats. We may try to overcompensate with food for the guilt or indecision we face. And we may be so eager to deny that our dog has cancer that we use the logic of “but he’s got a great appetite”. Finally, many of us use food as an expression of love.

These reactions aren’t healthy, and may put your dog at further risk. For healthier emotional alternatives to overfeeding, Chapter 2 in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide has some techniques for dealing with our emotions. For guidelines as to what is right to feed your dog, check out the Dog Cancer Diet in Chapter 14 and work with your attending veterinarian for a individual plan specific to your dog’s needs.

Please note that in vivo and clinical use citations were included whenever possible. We have also include links to the papers, where available. Most of the papers are found on the National Institute of Health’s online library, PubMed.

Effects of home-based diet and exercise on functional outcomes among older, overweight long-term cancer survivors: RENEW: a randomized controlled trial. Morey MC, et al. JAMA. 2009 May 13;301(18):1883-91.

Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs. Kealy RD, et al. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2002 May 1;220(9):1315-20.

Adiponectin and cancer: a systematic review. Kelesidis I, Kelesidis T, Mantzoros CS. Br J Cancer. 2006 May 8;94(9):1221-5.

Adiponectin in relation to malignancies: a review of existing basic research and clinical evidence. Barb D, Williams CJ, Neuwirth AK, Mantzoros CS. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep;86(3):s858-66. Review.

Diet and cancer. Divisi D, et al. Acta Biomed. 2006 Aug;77(2):118-23. Review.

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