There is nothing more frightening than a cancer diagnosis, for people or for pets. Cancer refers to an uncontrolled cell growth on or in the body. This serious disease can affect any household pet and their susceptibility increases with age. In fact, cancer accounts for close to half of all pet deaths who are over 10 years old. Unfortunately, the causes of most canine cancers are still unknown, making prevention difficult. There are some factors that can lead to an increased risk for cancer that are largely preventable. To help prevent your dog from developing cancer, try these 5 tips.
1. Oral hygiene
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean by brushing them regularly can greatly reduce his risk for oral cancers. We know brushing your dog’s teeth doesn’t seem like the most practical thing to do, but veterinarians normally have the correct tools and tips to help you achieve this task. If your dog is a purebred, check his family line to see if there is any kind of cancer that is hereditary in his family tree. With a clean mouth your dog’s risk for dental disease also decreases, which can have major impacts on your pet’s organs including the liver, kidneys, and heart.
2. Avoid pollutants
Cancer is not something your dog can catch, it actually grows inside the body. A good way to avoid this is to steer clear of pollutants such as secondhand smoke, smog, fumes, chemicals, and dangerous household cleaners. Also be careful of the bodies of water your dog enters or drinks from. If the color is unusual, it has foam or algae, or smells weird, don’t let your dog jump in or take a drink.
3. Healthy, appropriate diet
Just as in humans, diet has a lot to do with cancer risk. Some believe with the increase of the commercial dog food industry came a more prevalent rate of cancer in dogs. The medical link between these two may see evidential support soon. To ensure your dog is following a healthy, species appropriate diet, you’ll want to give him a premium, high quality food that is made locally where ingredients are monitored and quality control plus regulations are required to be met. You could also make your own homemade dog food from scratch, as long as you include all the correct ingredients and vitamins.
4. Spaying or neutering
Getting this surgery for your pet can immensely decrease their risk for reproductive organ related cancers. Having your female dog operated on as late as possible in her puppy days, but before her first heat cycle, can reduce the probability of her developing mammary cancer eight-fold, simply because of the hormonal influence. Having your male dog neutered will eliminate his risk for testicular cancer. Besides a lower risk of cancer, these operations help control overpopulation of pets, avoid the possibility of a dog in heat roaming the streets looking for a mate, and get rid of the chance of having to be emotionally and financially responsible for a litter of puppies.
5. Early diagnosis and treatment
Cancer prevention can be difficult since we aren’t sure what causes the disease. Therefore, it’s imperative for you as a dog owner to be aware when it comes to spotting the symptoms early and treating them quickly so that the severity of the disease can be avoided. Annual veterinary check-ups and blood work are critical in early cancer detection and should be done on schedule. Generally, if the symptoms are obvious, the cancer may be at an advanced stage and too hard to treat. Blood work can pick up on cell changes that can’t be seen physically.
Even if your dog develops cancer, this is not necessarily a death sentence. Many canine cancers can be successfully dealt with surgically. Either way, to ensure your dog’s quality of life it is best to partake in these simple ways to prevent cancer development. As your dog reaches his golden years, you may notice other changes. To learn more about helping your dog age gracefully, download our free eBook by clicking the image below.