Following on from my last post about what it’s like going through chemo with your dog, this post is about diet.
The right diet is an important part of fighting cancer.
Nutrition is not only important to keep your friend healthy while they do battle with the disease, but also to help fight the cancer itself. I’m not going to go into great detail about a suitable diet, but I will point you in the direction of some useful resources, or at least things that I found useful and/or interesting. Dr Gregory Ogilvie, Dr Demian Dressler and Dr. Shawn Messonnier (among others), are vets who have done a lot of research in this area, so I’ll leave the details up to the experts.
Cancer cells feed on the sugars in carbohydrates
Cancer cells feed on the sugars in carbohydrates, so a diet low in complex carbs (around 15%) is really important. Combine this with moderate amounts of high quality protein (around 25%) and the rest is good quality fats (around 60%).
Along with that there are specific foods you can include that are known to have cancer fighting properties, such as shiitake or reishi mushrooms, turmeric (can interfere with some chemo drugs), ginger, garlic, omega 3 fatty acids, parsley and red berries.
There are also specific foods you should not be feeding your friend.
The BARF diet is absolutely not a good idea for dogs with cancer. Preferably they should not be eating anything raw especially meat and bones. With their compromised immune system exposing them to the risk of things like e-coli or salmonella is just too high.
Most grains are to be eliminated, with the exception of brown rice and rolled oats. Also vegetables such as carrots, corn, potatoes and peas are on the ‘no’ list. Vegetables you should be including are things like shiitake mushrooms, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, (cooked) mung beans, sweet potato and red or yellow capsicum.
You can download a free copy of The Dog Cancer Diet by Dr Dressler from his website.
A healthy dog with a strong immune system is key to fighting cancer, so supplements to help boost the immune system are important too. The list of available supplements is huge. I can tell you the ones we tried.
Primalix Immune (we also got their C-Care but it contains turmeric so we didn’t give that during treatment).
After consulting with a holistic vet at Robert McDowell’s Herbal Treatments, we got some Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Lymphoma Cancer Support and Chemotherapy Support drops.
For general health we got Augustine Approved Super Boost and Faith. We also got a protein and super greens powder and some dulse (seaweed).
Another Immunity product I’ve just started is K9 Immunity Plus, which came highly recommended.
Whatever your opinion on natural remedies, and by no means do I buy into every natural remedy that’s touted, my stance is if it doesn’t seem too ridiculous and can’t actually hurt, then it’s worth a shot.