Even though the type of cancer removed from Sheba, spindle cell sarcoma, is unlikely to metastasize, we still face the possibility that the tumor wasn’t completely removed. This type of cancer is messy (for lack of a better word), and it can’t be known if our vet was able to get it all. There is also the possibility that it could turn up on other parts of her body, or in her lungs. We are trying to stay optimistic, but I think it’s prudent to do what we can to fight that from happening.
I’ve read that there are certain diets that some people feed to dogs with cancer to help, and I wondered if that would be a good idea for her. Most of these diets are for dogs with active cancer, who also might be facing the weight loss that goes along with it. Sheba is now completely healed from the surgery…yay!, and she feels great. Her weight is right where it should be. So I don’t feel like drastic changes are needed for her, but there are still some things we can do. The only additional thing we could do for her, with traditional medicine, is to follow up her tumor removal with radiation. In light of how good she feels now, we have decided not to do that at this time.
I am interested in holistic medicine but I’m just not sure that I’m totally sold on every aspect of it. I toyed with the idea of taking her to a holistic vet, but decided against it for now. Instead I’ve done some research to see what we can do on our own. What I’ve read is that carbohydrates feed cancer cells so that a low carb diet is best, with quality fat and moderate protein. A raw diet would be optimal. I am very interested in raw diets, but again, I’m not completely sold on it yet. We feed a high quality grain free food, though many of the treats we get still have grains.
There are good and bad carbs though, so we are going to try to stick to the good carbs: fruit, veggies (broccoli, carrots, peas), honey, oatmeal, and brown rice. I am so happy that brown rice is on this list. Recently someone mentioned rice cakes as a treat for their dogs, and I remembered that years ago we used to give them to our dogs a lot, and Kobi especially loved them. I had picked some up again, and let me tell you, these guys went nuts for them! Seriously, I got plain brown rice cakes, with nothing else in them. Have you ever tried these? They are completely tasteless and dry. The dogs LOVE them! I will also try to buy or make more grain free treats as well though. I was actually motivated to dehydrate some sweet potatoes recently, and they all love those as well.
I also found two different supplements that can be beneficial in fighting cancer as well, in that they improve the immune system; Curcumin, which is found in the spice turmeric, and Omega 3 fatty acids – from fish oil in particular. Both of these have the added benefit of being beneficial for other conditions such as arthritis, which Sheba also has.
Curcumin also benefits digestion. The amount of curcumin in the spice turmeric may not be enough, or may not be absorbed efficiently, so I am purchasing curcumin from Mercola, where they have a product made specifically for dogs and cats. I also found that the joint supplement that Sheba takes also has curcumin in it, so we will adjust her dosage accordingly. I believe in all things in moderation, so we don’t want to overdo it.
I also want to note here that curcumin may not be beneficial to dogs undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, so please check with your vet before adding this to your dogs’ diet if they are undergoing cancer treatment. If you are interested in learning more about this supplement, I will include some articles at the end of this post where you can read more.
We have already been giving the dogs salmon oil. We used to give it daily, but then cut back and have been giving it once a week. The plan now is to increase that again. We have to be careful with fish oil since it is high in calories, but I like that it is also beneficial for their skin and coats.
Again, everything in moderation. I don’t want to make a lot of drastic changes to Sheba’s diet, since she is feeling well now. So we’ll add these two supplements, and leave everything else the same for now.
There are other things we can do to fight cancer as well; limiting vaccines and toxins in the environment, as well as consistent exercise and weight management. I am planning a whole post on vaccinations, so I won’t get into that subject here. Sheba is up to date on all of hers, so that is not a concern right now anyway. I already use as many all natural cleaning products as possible, and we don’t use any chemicals on our lawns or in our gardens. Reducing stress through exercise and play is also important. I’m happy to say we already do all of these things for all of our dogs; we try to exercise daily and we monitor their calorie intake and weight.
I know a lot of people have done “bucket lists” for their dogs, and I wonder what Sheba would put on hers. I’ve been thinking about whether or not to do this, and I’ll share my thoughts on that in another post.
Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian and the things we are trying here are our own choice to try, after doing my own research. You should consult your own vet when making any changes to your dogs’ diet.
For further information:
- Dr. Karen Becker on Curcumin for Pets
- Modern Dog Magazine: The Cancer Diet for Dogs
- Only Natural Pet: Holistic Cancer Prevention & Care
- PetCareRx: The Benefits of Omega 3 For Pets