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Which Dog Breeds are More Prone to Cancer?
Interestingly, mixed dogs are at a higher than average risk of developing cancer. Cancer is also a leading cause of death in dog breeds such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Poodles, and Rottweilers. It is good to know that genetics play a role in cancer development, meaning they affect the answer to the question of how to prevent cancer in dogs.
According to the Pet Cancer Foundation, an organization that aims to improve the quality of life of pets diagnosed with cancer, “12 million dogs and cats are developing cancer every year, roughly six times the number of humans getting cancer yearly within North America.”
However, not all dogs are equally prone to cancer. Embrace Pet Insurance revealed statistics and research from the National Veterinary Cancer Registry, which gathers information on pet owners of AKC registered dog breeds confirmed with cancer.
According to their thorough analysis, there is an increased risk of cancer in the following dog breeds:
- Mixed breeds
- German Shepherd Dogs
- Shetland Sheep Dogs
- Cocker Spaniels
- Doberman Pinschers
How can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Cancer?
From avoiding secondhand smoke and pesticides to adding veggies and natural supplements to the menu – there are several things you can do to prevent cancer in dogs.
However, these things do not guarantee your dog’s body will not start forming cancer cells at some point. Also, not all risk factors for cancer can be prevented or eliminated. For example, some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to developing cancer.
The good news is that you can take specific steps to minimize the risk of cancer. So, want to know how to prevent cancer in dogs? Well, take a good look at these tips.
Choose Responsible Dog Breeders
Since genetics play an important role in canine cancer, start by finding a responsible breeder. There are specific things you should look for when choosing a breeder.
For example, reputable breeders almost always have waiting lists of customers, and existing clients are given priority over newcomers. Also, when you visit the breeder, pay attention to the environment and the dogs.
Get Regular Vet Checkups for Your Dog
Wellness exams are a must, even for dogs that appear in perfect health. Obviously, puppies, seniors, dogs with compromised immune systems, and chronic diseases need more frequent exams than healthy adults.
The annual exam is the perfect time to evaluate the dog health. If there is something wrong with the dog, early detection may be critical for a better prognosis. On the other hand, if your dog is healthy, it may receive its annual booster vaccines.
We understand that veterinary exams result in hefty vet bills. Therefore, it is a good idea to find good pet insurance. The OneVet insurance plan is our favorite – it gives 24/7 access to licensed veterinarians and up to $3.000 in emergency funds.
Spay and Neuter Your Dog
Spaying and neutering your dog may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. For example, in female dogs, spaying decreases the risk of ovarian, uterine, and mammary tumors.
Therefore, the decision to spay/neuter and its timing is something you need to discuss with the veterinarian at length. The vet will explain what is best based on your dog’s breed and lifestyle.
Avoid Toxins and Chemicals that are Harmful to Your Dog
Forever Dog‘s experts and authors confirm that environmental factors may contribute to cancer when explaining the connection between canine lymphoma and lawn chemicals.
Here are some toxins and chemicals that need to be avoided if dealing with how to prevent cancer in dogs.
Herbicides. Weed killers are dangerous too. Don’t spray your lawn if you live with dogs, as it is guaranteed to increase the risk of various cancers. Plus, herbicides are toxic.
Insecticides. According to ScienceDirect.com, “Fipronil is widely used as a veterinary drug, although studies suggest it could be harmful to mammals.” Therefore, it is advisable to
Carcinogens. Other carcinogens not included in this list are air pollution and smog, which may indirectly contribute to various cancers.
Asbestos. Asbestos exposure may cause cancer in canines. Always remove your dog from building a home if this is a factor. Asbestos is unhealthy for owners as well.
Provide Your Dog With a Healthy Lifestyle
Dogs need to move their bodies every day. They also need vitamin D, but leaving your dog exposed to sunlight can be risky as ultraviolet light is damaging.
Limit Sun Exposure for Your Dog. Your dog can get skin cancer. Sun damage to the skin can cause cancer, and certain hairless parts of the body and parts with no pigment like the nose and ears are susceptible.
Properly Exercise Your Dog. The Forever Dog authors share that walking, hiking, and running with your dog lowers the risk of many different types of cancers. Physical activity may reduce inflammation, which is a risk factor for cancer.
Ensure Your Dog is Getting Proper Nutrition
Nutrition is vital for boosting health and preventing issues. It would be best if you were mindful of what your dogs eat as well the amount of food and feeding schedule.
Feed Your Dog Healthy Dog Food. Dogs need high-quality pet food rich in health-boosting nutrients. Also, certain human foods (carrots and turkey tail mushrooms) may help lower cancer risk as they contain cancer-fighting nutrients.
Establish a daily eating window. Experts recommend identifying a set window of time for meals. Basically, you need to create a feeding schedule for your dog and stick to it.
Avoid Obesity in Dogs. Veterinary Practice News states that “obesity and physical inactivity may account for 25 to 30 percent of major cancers.” Obesity affects the overall well-being.
Give Your Dog Fatty Acids. Essential fatty acids are recommended for every diet. Fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties, thus lowering cancer risk.
Ensure Your Dog Gets Antioxidants. Antioxidants protect dogs from the damaging effects of free radicals. Antioxidant-rich foods include bell peppers, berries (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries), cantaloupe, and cherry tomatoes.
Herbs May Help. Herbs have anti-cancer powers too. For example, rosemary and dill are not only safe but also health-boosting to dogs. Plus, most dogs accept them well.
What is the Main Cause of Cancer in Dogs?
According to PetMD, “most cancers arise from mutations that occur to genes during a dog’s or cat’s lifetime that were not present at birth.” The mutations can result from internal factors (hormones) or external factors (smoke and chemicals).
Different common cancers (bone cancer, mammary cancer, sarcomas, testicular cancer, mast cell tumors) have various etiologies, but the risk factors are similar. Also, early detection is imperative for treating cancer in dogs in all cancer cases.
If your dog has enlarged lymph nodes or showing warning signs of cancer, call your trusted DVM. Cancer prevention is not always possible, but healthcare is part of your responsibilities as a pet parent.
Work alongside an oncologist to determine the best cancer treatment for your dog’s needs and ensure maximum quality of life. Cancer dogs are prone to various health problems, but they can be managed with suitable treatment options.