Raw Diet Dogs and Dog Cancer: What You Need to Know

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

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Raw Diet Dogs and Dog 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.

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

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM

Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the "dog cancer vet" and is author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity.

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