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

Raw Diet Dogs and Dog Cancer

Updated: January 10th, 2019


Do raw diet dogs have to change what they eat after a cancer diagnosis? Is a raw diet good for dogs with cancer?

Many raw diet dogs — those who are fed raw meats — ought to have their diets modified after a cancer diagnosis.

Much attention has been placed as of late on raw foods for dogs.  Many raw food diets are really excellent, balanced nutritional rations that can significantly improve health.

We should clarify whether we are discussing a diet for healthy, vigorous dogs, or whether we are talking about a dog afflicted with cancer.  These are two different states of body health, two different instances.

One main difference is that dogs, at least those dealing with aggressive, malignant, hard-to-cure cancers, usually are walking around in a state of immune compromise. This means their immune system is not as good as that is the body of an average dog without cancer.

If the dog has a cancer and is also on chemotherapy, or being treated with radiation, the immune compromise will be even more severe.  These dogs, in particular, have quite weakened systems due to the effects of the chemo or radiation on the white blood cells and other body parts.

What is the connection between the immune system and raw diets?

Well, when we are talking about raw food, we can sometimes be talking about certain bacteria found in the uncooked food, in particular meats.  One of the benefits of cooking is that you kill germs.  These microbes are most commonly found on the surface of the food, after it is stored for a while in the plastic and foam containers we buy at the store.

Get a copy of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide for more helpful tools and information to help your dog with cancer

A dog with cancer, in particular an overwhelming cancer, and most especially a  dog on  immune suppressing treatments, is susceptible to these microbes.  And they may get sick as a consequence.  Some examples of these disease causing bacteria are salmonella, e.coli, and campylobacteria.

These germs can cause food poisoning.

Old, ground, raw meat is the highest risk of containing disease-causing microbes like these.

Now, does this mean that every dog who eats raw meat will get sick? Of course not!! But guess what? If only 10 out of 100 does, and your dog is one of those ten, it will matter a lot to you!

In the next post we will look at more aspects of this area of health management.


Dr D

Leave a Comment

  1. Rahil Patil on June 20, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    My Dog Aslan has been detected with Inflammed Lymph Nodes. Doctor says it is most probably Cancer (Lymphoma). Aslan is just 3.5 years of age. Is it even possible?? Can’t understand How does a Raw Fed Dog get Cancer at such a young age. Has anyone successfully treated a dog here with Cancer?? I don’t want to give Chemo Therapy. Dr is suggesting the CHOP Protocol for Aslan. Can someone suggest a better way ????? Desperately Seeking a Solution , PLEASE HELP

  2. TERRY LAWHEAD on May 8, 2020 at 9:35 am

    my dog has cancer and is on chemo and doing the 6 protocols after trying the chemo pill form I gave him at home that didn’t work. Now he goes into the oncologist who administers it. he is been in remission for 2 months and has two more treatments. I have been following the cancer diet cooking chicken or turkey at home with the veg and some fruit. I was thinking of trying raw specifically SmallBatch for dog Chicken.

    Should I be worried with giving him raw with chemo and cancer? Thank you so much, the vet has really no advice on nutrition. I do believe the home cook food I have him on has helped him a lot and will never again feed kibble.

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