Hello again everyone.
I would like to continue an examination of the use of raw diets for dogs with cancer, started in the last post.
As concerned, anxious, and sometimes devastated human beings dealing with dog cancer, it is only natural to try to do everything you can to get an edge. And of course, what your loved dog eats can get pretty concerning.
A natural response to the dog food question is to go all natural, staying away from artificial ingredients and processed foods. I would like to give some information on this topic.
I think sometimes we want to fix a situation, set a target, and act, all in response to a desperate need. Occasionally, having done this at certain points in my own life, I realized that we can make errors if we act too quickly to fulfill our needs.
Often this is more of a reaction then it is a choice.
Taking a bit of time to arm ourselves with information that can fortify our decision-making process before we act produces better outcomes. In the end, it yields major gains in our successes.
Diet can fit into this category. So let’s look at a few things related to raw nutrition for dogs with cancer.
Like I said in the last post, dogs with systemic (or presently incurable) cancers exist in a different metabolic state than normal dogs. They are not the same. One of the features of this shift is immune compromise, making them susceptible to germs found in older, packaged meats, especially ground meats.
Another item that should be noted is that the digestion of dogs is different from that of other animals. They lack certain enzymes that are useful in digesting vegetables, such as cellulases. They also have pretty short intestines.
This means that the vast majority of fresh veggies that are consumed by dogs pass through without being digested at all. If you don’t believe me, feed your dog a small amount of uncooked veggies and, if you dare, inspect the stool over the course of the next several days.
These uncooked vegetables will pass right through without being digested.
However, it turns out that vegetables contain certain flavonoids that are essential for turning on a process called apoptosis, which is healthy, normal, cell death. This process is absent in cancer cells.
Cancer cells lack the normal process of apoptosis and attempt to live forever at the expense of your dog’s body. Inducing this process is a goal of new anticancer drugs.
In nature, dogs get vegetable matter from the lining of the stomach and intestine of prey that normally eat plants. This is the first thing they go for after bringing down a prey animal in the hunt.
Veggies should be steamed, sprouted, or fermented to make them digestible for dogs. They need to be broken down a little, so they become like the pre-digested foods found in the digestive tract of dogs’ natural prey.
If you are interested in making food for your dog in your own kitchen, in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, I discuss recipes for you to prepare natural, healthful home-cooked meals appropriate for dogs with cancer.
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.