Cancer isn't just an issue for people. Pets can get cancer too, and one in three dogs are affected by cancer at some point in their lives. It is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10. Cancer in dogs is on the rise. But why?
From Race for the Cure to breaking news stories about cancer research, most of what we hear about cancer focuses on finding a cure for the disease. What about cancer prevention? What if we could determine what causes cancer in dogs, avoid these causes, and prevent cancer altogether?
Based on the rise of cancer in domesticated dogs, leading holistic veterinarians theorize that many of our modern conveniences and medicines are contributing to cancer in dogs. "In years past, many dogs died from common illnesses or were hit by a car. But now, we have vaccines and we keep our dogs indoors," says Elizabeth A. Martinez, DVM.
How can you prevent cancer in your dog?
Start with food as medicine. High-quality dog food is the cornerstone of your pet's overall health.
Our house pets evolved from wild cats and dogs who could forage for food and hunt highly diverse fish, reptiles, mammals, birds, and eggs. Cats and dogs are meant to live on a single-source protein diet that comes from animals, not plants. Grain-free, low-carbohydrate dog food is best, since filler grains like corn and wheat are hard for dogs to digest and most pet food companies use carbohydrates like potatoes as filler (to keep dog kibble cheap) and glue (to bind together other ingredients).
Because most dog food today is hard to digest, dogs aren't getting the nutrients they need, which further contributes to cancer in dogs. Dogs have much shorter intestines than humans, which means most of their digestion takes place in the stomach, whereas human digestion takes place in the intestine. Nutrients are only absorbed from food during digestion. Essentially, dogs need to quickly absorb their food's nutrients since they have short intestines, but the low quality of most modern dog kibble makes it too hard for a dog's stomach to digest.
Many of the chemicals your dog encounters in your home, outdoor areas, and at the vet can cause cancer in dogs, regardless of what type of food a dog eats. Most conventional pesticides are carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). If you treat your pet, home or lawn with conventional pesticides, you're exposing yourself and your pet to poisons that have been known to cause skin issues, seizures, kidney failure, and even premature death, in addition to cancer.
In the end, making these changes will help your dog live longer and reduce your vet bills. By feeding your dog higher-quality food and reducing their chemical exposure, you can reduce cancer in dogs!
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