In many ways, your dog is a lot like you. You both need the basics of proper nutrition and exercise to stay active and healthy. The bad news: Dogs can develop cancer, just like humans. The good news: Dogs have cancer treatments, just like humans. To help prevent cancer, be aware of your dog's risks so you can be proactive in keeping her healthy. Here are the risk factors for cancer:
- Age - Dogs are living longer, which increases the likelihood of cancer
- Breed - Certain kinds of cancer are more common in specific breeds. Talk to your veterinarian to learn if your dog is more susceptible to certain illnesses
- Gender - Some cancers are more common in one sex compared to another
- Environment - Exposure to chemicals, such as pesticides or herbicides, may contribute to cancer
If your dog is at risk, check for these symptoms:
- Abnormal swelling that grows or persists
- Rapid or extreme weight loss
- Ongoing and persistent sores
- Significant change in appetite
- Bleeding or discharge from the mouth, nose, ears or anus
- Offensive odor
- Difficulty swallowing or eating
Other common symptoms include no interest in exercise, loss of stamina, persistent lameness or stiffness, breathing difficulties and difficulty going to the bathroom.
Nutrition has been found to be a significant factor in improving both quality of life and extending life for dogs undergoing cancer treatment. Feeding your dog a food with increased fatty acids, protein and fat is beneficial because it helps meet a dog's additional energy requirements during recovery.
For an accurate diagnosis and treatment options, always consult your veterinarian.