Your fur kid has been with you every step of the way, greeting you when you come home every day and nuzzling close to cheer you up when you are down. Is there anything dog owners can do to reduce the risk of canine cancer? Is there such a thing as a diet for dogs with cancer?
Just as healthy food choices can reduce our risk of getting cancer, giving cancer-fighting foods to your dog may prove life-saving in the long run. Here’s a list of superfoods for dogs that you can include in their diet to boost health and help to prevent cancer or minimize its effects.
We’ve all heard of the benefits of detoxing and this veggie helps with this process in dogs and humans alike. So what’s so special about it?
Nutrients In Broccoli Important For Dogs
With a wide array of beneficial nutrients for your dogs diet and particular concentrations of vitamins and minerals, it’s no wonder it’s a favored superfood in a dog’s diet. Here are some of the key nutrients broccoli provides:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Biochemical nutrients
Why does broccoli help fight cancer in dogs?
Broccoli is referred to as a superfood because it’s chock full of fiber and important nutrients including calcium, potassium, protein, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, as well as vitamins A and D. This makes it a powerful ally in the fight against inflammation and it supports the health of organs like skin, eyes, and heart. It also has anti-allergy and anti-microbial properties.
Beyond promoting good overall health, broccoli also contains antioxidants. It is rich in glucosinates, which break down into biologically active compounds that have anticancer properties. These compounds make carcinogens inactive, protect cells from DNA damage, prompt cell death in tumors, and prevent the formation of tumor blood vessels.
As if that’s not enough, broccoli contains at least three biochemicals that help to protect against cancer and support the immune system.
How to Incorporate Broccoli Into Your Dog’s Diet
First, please note that the florets on top may give your pup gas as a result of irritating their stomach. Give them only the stems. Dogs love them and broccoli is a powerhouse superfood for dogs as as well as some other vegetables in the cruciferous family. They include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, turnips, and rutabagas. Lightly steaming these crucifers releases the cancer-fighting enzyme indole and makes them easier for your dog to digest.
Nutrients In Sweet Potatoes Important For Dogs
Sweet potatoes provide a unique blend of vitamins and minerals that can help prevent and actively fight cancer in dogs. This mixture of nutrients includes:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B9
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D
Why do sweet potatoes help fight cancer in dogs?
Rich in vitamins B6, C, E, and D, sweet potatoes are more powerful than we might think. They contain carotenoids and beta-carotene, which support vitamin A and this may be a key factor in reducing the risk of certain cancers.
Sweet potatoes are also packed with essential minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, folate, copper, and thiamine. They release their sugars slowly which means they provide energy for long periods and don’t lead to a spike in your pet’s blood sugar.
How To Incorporate Sweet Potatoes Into Your Dog’s Diet
Cook or bake sweet potatoes until they are tender enough to eat. You can then cut them into small cubes or mash them for easier consumption before adding them to your dog’s bowl.
The popularity of coconut oil in recent years is undeniable and its health benefits are widely touted. Here are some of the ways that coconut oil will super-power your dog’s diet:
- Increase absorption of fat-soluble nutrients (ie vitamin A, D, E and K)
- May block absorption of cholesterol
- Can lower cardiac risks related to cancer in dogs
- Reduces inflammation
- High in antioxidants
Why does coconut oil help fight cancer in dogs?
Coconut Oil contains fatty acids and plant sterols that mimic blood cholesterol and may help to block the absorption of cholesterol in the body. In addition to its anti-tumor properties, coconut oil is known to be beneficial for the skin and may clear up precancerous lesions and protect against cancerous growths. It is also fascinating to note that coconut oil has the ability to kill some bacteria that are associated with higher rates of certain types of cancer.
How To Incorporate Coconut Oil Into Your Dog’s Diet
Because of coconut oil’s high-fat content, considering the size of the dog (both width and height) is extremely important. If your dog is already a bit on the chunky-side, you should probably give a smaller amount or administer it less often. Small dogs can typically handle taking a 1/4 teaspoon while larger dogs can have as much as 1 teaspoon a day.
To be absolutely clear: we are talking about real, pure pumpkin without extra sugar, spices or preservatives you might find in cans of pumpkin pie filling. Actual pumpkin is pumped full of good stuff for dog’s intestinal health and the fight to prevent or treat cancer. Some of these nutrients include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Carotenoids (beta-carotene, etc.)
- High water content
- Soluble fiber
Why does pumpkin help fight cancer in dogs?
Pumpkin’s bright orange color is the visible signal that it is rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A within the body. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that is critical in cancer prevention because it prevents damage caused by free radicals. Beta-carotene is important in its own right as it can slow cancer growth and support enzymes that help cleanse the body of cancer-causing substances.
In fact, pumpkin helps to keep the intestinal tract of both dogs and humans healthy and it is an excellent source of vitamins B and C, carotenoids, and potassium. Pumpkin can also be helpful for maintaining overall dog health as it has a high water and fiber content, which can hydrate the intestines when dogs are suffering from constipation and surprisingly enough, the soluble fiber in pumpkins can also help to calm diarrhea.
How To Incorporate Pumpkin Into Your Dog’s Diet
You can feed your cooked pumpkin, canned pumpkin (again, NOT pumpkin pie filling) or pumpkin powder. Regardless of the preparation, introduce small amounts to your dogs diet such as a 1 tablespoon mixed into their regular food.
Root vegetables are packed full of nutrients they gather through the rich soil. Much like sweet potatoes, beets take all that healthy goodness from the rich loam it’s grown in to provide dogs with excellent nutrition. Some nutrients that beets are rich in include:
- Vitamin A
- Folic Acid
- Insoluble fiber
Why do beets help fight cancer in dogs?
If you want a superfood treat with a gentle sweetness your dog will instantly love, try giving them beets. Full of nutrients, these vegetables are as healthy as they are tasty. They are rich in folic acid, potassium, and beta-carotene. They have a high, insoluble fiber content, which boosts the body’s detoxifying process and can help support healthy liver function. The fiber in beets can also improve stool quality.
How To Incorporate Beets Into Your Dog’s Diet
Similar to sweet potatoes, steaming or roasting them until soft and then integrating them into your dog’s diet is the preferred method. Be sure to not add any salt or spices as they can upset your dogs stomach more than help it.
Fish and fish oil
Whether your pet is in pain or not, oily fish should be included in their diet because of the nutrients it contains and those nutrients can be difficult to find in other foods. Most notably these include:
- Omega 3 essential fatty acids
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin D3
- Eicosapentaenoic acid
- docosahexaenoic acid
Why do fish and fish oil help fight cancer in dogs?
Many dog owners are already aware of the benefits of fish oil and can confirm it is a supplement worth adding to your pup’s food. It prevents dryness of the skin and helps to keep your pal’s coat looking shiny. It also contains vitamin D3, an essential ingredient in cancer prevention.
Fish like sardines, salmon, herring, cod, and mackerel, and shellfish such as shrimp, are packed with high quality protein, essential vitamins like B2 and D, minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium, plus eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 supports muscle, heart, gut, and brain health and has anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce pain.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid that shrinks tumors and reduces inflammation. Fish oil has tons of other benefits for your dog, and many owners add it to their pups’ food to help keep coats shiny and fight skin dryness. For dogs already diagnosed with cancer, fish oil can slow the growth of the disease and is often recommended as part of their treatment.
How To Incorporate Fish and Fish Oil Into Your Dog’s Diet
Generally speaking, wild-caught fish is a better choice than farmed as it tends to contain more nutrients, especially Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and is less likely to be contaminated with harmful pollutants. Also, ensure you only give your dog cooked fresh fish or canned fish because raw fish may contain parasites and never season the fish.
Dark Berries – Blueberries & Blackberries
Not all berries are the same when it comes to their benefit to your dog’s diet. Darker berries such as blueberries and blackberries have specific nutritional compounds that make the a great option for fighting cancer in dogs. These nutrients include:
- Ellagic acid
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Why do blueberries and blackberries help fight cancer in dogs?
The dark pigments or anthocyanins that give blueberries and blackberries their rich color have anti-inflammatory properties that are critical in cancer prevention and treatment. They are both not only a great source of antioxidants, which prevent cell damage, but they also contain ellagic acid, which blocks metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer.
When you give your pet these berries, they will also get fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and E. Both blueberries and blackberries will boost your pup’s defenses against free radicals making them great superfoods for dogs.
How To Incorporate Blueberries and Blackberries Into Your Dog’s Diet
You can buy them fresh or frozen and they can be mixed in with other foods. Regardless, it’s best to introduce these berries gradually to avoid stomach upset that can result from an overabundance of fructose.
Pitted Fruits – Peaches and Plums
One of the yummiest foods that can help prevent and treat cancer are pitted fruits such as peaches and plums. They may not be as packed with obscure nutritional needs, but these pitted fruits are loved by your furry pal and do have a good amount of important nutrients like:
- Vitamin C
Why do peaches and plums help fight cancer in dogs?
Peaches are high in antioxidants and work well to remove toxins from the body. Of course, the link between toxins and cancer is well established so the more toxins we get rid of the better off our pup will be. What’s more, peaches promote healthy skin because they are a powerful force in fighting skin infections. Plums are equally rich in antioxidants and also contain vitamin C and iron.
How To Incorporate Peaches and Plums Into Your Dog’s Diet
Never serve your dog fruit with the pit still in it. It can damage their teeth and is harmful if swallowed. Peaches and plums can be bought fresh or frozen and given to your dog in small quantities as a super special treat.
Wholesome, cancer-fighting food for dogs can be just as important in your pet’s health as they are for humans. Since cancer is one of the leading causes of death in older dogs, it makes sense to do everything in your power to prevent it and keep our best friends as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
These superfoods for dogs are well worth incorporating into their life whether they are currently healthy or fighting cancer.
If your pet has cancer, be sure to discuss the superfoods in our list with your vet to see whether they can be incorporated into your dog’s treatment plan.