Treating dog cancer. It’s a conundrum that unfortunately far too often most dog owners have to face at some point of their dog’s life. We, for once, have had to experience the heartache not once, but twice so far. And we have had to make the very difficult decision of whether to treat Indy with more conventional clinical interventions.
But chemo or radiotherapy are not the only answer, in this time and age, to tackle cancer in your dog. Treating dog cancer naturally has become an increasingly popular approach, which has seen the introduction of more natural canine cancer treatments and of canine holistic cancer treatment.
Natural is better
Yes, that’s no surprise. I happen to believe in humans too the natural approach to any type of ailment is far better than the introduction of chemicals in our bodies. As mentioned in my previous article on how to treat cancer in dogs, we only agreed to give Indy tablets of metronomic chemotherapy as they do not affect his quality of life. Remember that Indy was found to have had cancer before, and we felt that we should not leave anything to chance this second time. But we have always strongly felt that we should not interfere with the cheeky, happy, inquisitive sweet hearted nature Indy has been gifted with. Who are we to play with nature?
However, I believe the natural approach is very good, particularly when introduced in your dog’s eating habits as a preventative measure, as well as at the early stages of any illness, including cancer.
The holistic approach does not aim to kill or shrink the cancer of our dogs, but to make your hound’s body super healthy, so that the body and its immune system fights off the cancer naturally, or stops its growth.
And the natural approach does so using ingredients, whose aim is to release anti-oxidants in your body which will contribute to make the immune system stronger.
There are many ingredients and supplements that can be used to this purpose. Today I am going to introduce my top four recommendations.
#1 – Benefits of Omega-3 in Phytoplankton
I still remember, when I was a kid, my mother was obsessed with wanting to feed me fish at least once a week as it was deemed to be ‘good for your brain’. What she meant was that fish is renowned for containing omega-3, which not only promotes a healthy brain but it has also very good anti-inflammatory properties.
For these reasons, and for the fact that fish oil is good at producing anti-oxidants, we have probably fed fish oil tablets to our dogs for many years. However, I have recently read in Dogs Naturally Magazine that, when exposed to air, fish oil tends to oxidate very quickly, building up a layer of metals which our dog’s body cannot break down. As a result, fish oil becomes its own worst enemy, as it ends up causing inflammation instead of getting rid of it.
New researches have shown that Phytoplankton is effective where fish oil is failing. Phytoplankton is a mixture of algae and bacteria which is found in sea water and is eaten by fish. Phytoplankton is what gives fish omega-3. By feeding our dogs phytoplankton, therefore, we feed them omega-3 at its source.
The only question I kept asking myself is where on earth we could find shops selling such an exotic product. Well, once again Amazon did not let me down, as it has two phytoplankton products recommended for dogs.
Click the above pictures to find out for yourselves prices and customers’ reviews.
#2 – Multi Vitamins As Source of Antioxidants
My recommendation on multi vitamins may sound like an obvious one. Of course multi vitamins are good for our dogs, as much as they are good for us, especially when used for preventative measures.
But it has been found that especially vitamins A, C and E contain high levels of antioxidant, hence slowing down the aging process in our dogs.
Most multi vitamin tables also contain selenium, which is equally found to be a natural source of antioxidant. But it is also safe to add that as a general rule of thumb, the purpose of multi vitamins is to boost the immune system, hence to achieve an overall wellness of your dog’s body, making him or her strong enough to sustain cancer and to naturally fight it off.
But tablets are not the only way to feed your dog antioxidants. As weird as it may sound, these can be given to your dog by feeding him or her green vegetables – such as broccoli. Yes, of course not in great quantities as we serve on our dinner plate. And of course only if your dog takes to the acquainted taste.
Or, you could try diluting some green tea in your dog’s water. Again, only if your dog likes the taste.
Caution: Antioxidants are the only supplements that interfere with chemo or radiotherapy, as they attack the free radicals, whose activity such medical treatments aim to increase. Therefore they should NOT be fed to dogs undertaking these two types of cancer treatments.
#3 – Curcuma or Turmeric
Turmeric is that beautiful spice that most of us know for the lovely flavour it gives our curry – and for its lovely gold yellow natural colouring property.
But turmeric should be also known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. In the last decade, Dogs Naturally Magazine claims, turmeric has been found to reduce pain derived from inflamed joints and arthritis in dogs.
The ground breaking discovery, however, was made in 2012 when it was observed how turmeric reduced cancer size and killed cancerous cells of dogs in metastasis from brain, breast of bladder cancer.
It is advisable to feed your dog untreated turmeric or curcuma powder (in essence they are the same thing) bought from a health store. But if your dog struggles with the taste, again there are tablets available which you can feed your dog with his or her meal.
#4 – Hemp Oil
This is possibly the most controversial of my recommendations. I’ll tell you why. Hemp seeds are the same seeds from which cannabis is born.
Now, we all know how cannabis has been used for many decades for medicinal purposes. But we also know the psychotic effects it can have on our brain and on our nervous system. Sometimes with permanent damaging effects.
Hemp seed, and its derivative oil, do NOT have such effects. Because, unlike the actual drug, hemp seeds contain high levels of cannabinoids, but extremely low levels of THC, which is the chemical responsible to affect our neuro-system.
Hemp seed can be used ground as powder or as an oil. And if purchased as oil drops can seem overpriced, you have to remember that in dogs you only need a few drops every day.
Its medicinal effects once again have proven to reduce chronic inflammation, as well as to reduce metastatic cancers in dogs.
We have not been advised in these terms yet, as thankfully at the moment Indy is still deemed cancer free. But yes, we have been explained that, should cancer come back in such a form to be inoperable, then we would have no choice but to let him live his course ensuring he is as pain free as possible.
The advice we were given goes in line with what we have in mind for our Indy anyway. So, palliative care to make his remaining days as comfortable as possible.
As mentioned, luckily we are not there yet.
But my worry is that, when that time comes, we may have to feed our Indy yet more chemicals, which might make him extremely lethargic. I am aware that the lethargy is part and parcel of being terminally ill; a painful chapter of most people and pets at the end stage of their life.
But I would want to this to happen in the most natural of ways.
In answer to quite a few comments I received about pain relief, particularly curcuma and hemp seeds or oil are deemed to be particularly indicated as painkillers. The relief of pain comes from the fact that both elements naturally reduce inflammation, and the nervous signal the inflamed areas send to you in the form of pain.
Let Me Know
Whilst Indy is taking metronomic chemo tablets, I am going to have to be extremely careful in feeding him any other ingredient or supplement that may impair the potential retarding effects of the free radicals.
But I am curious to learn from fellow dog owners, as to whether you have used any of these natural remedies on your dogs, both for preventative measure, or for their healing properties or as painkillers.
It would be lovely to share experiences. It would be grand if I could hear from you, and to learn from your direct experiences. Feel free to leave your comment below to contribute to the discussion!