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Only 5-10% of Canine Cancers are attributed to genes

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

I keep reading about how cancer cases increase annually not only in humans but also in our pets. Being personally very familiar with this topic I know that we humans have a choice to change our lifestyle consciously to make sure we keep as healthy as possible but our four legged friends have to rely on our smarts to help them stay healthy.



Are there ways we can actively prevent cancer from happening especially if we have pure breeds, considering their genetic predisposition?


It has been estimated that 1 in 4 dogs get cancer at some point in their life and every 1 in 6 cats will develop cancer.




Here are some dog breeds most likely to suffer from cancer:


  • Boxer

  • Golden Retriever

  • Labrador Retriever

  • Beagle

  • Poodle

  • Bichon Friese

  • Chihuahua

  • Maltese

  • Papillon dog

  • Sheltie

  • Rottweiler

  • German Shepard



How to understand cancer?


Cancer is inflammation gone wrong, anything that reduces inflammation can help slow the progression of the cancer. (Dr. Dressler, DVM renowned cancer vet)


Only 5–10% of cancers are attributable to genes says Dr. Dressler. Consequently, the main factors affecting the rate of cancer in both humans and their pets are diet and lifestyle related.


Dressler says that there are 3 dietary factors leading to an increased risk of cancer and those are:

  • excessive consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs),

  • inefficient consumption of omega-3 PUFAs,

  • and excessive calories in food.


How does cancer get started?


Cancer begins when carcinogens damage the DNA, then eventually create cancerous cells.


Your pet’s body has a built-in mechanism to kill cancer cells, a gene called p53.


However, exposure to various toxins accumulated and viruses can damage that gene and limit its ability to protect the body from the spread of cancerous cells.


Treatment options for cancer are limited and not always effective. They will also weaken your dog’s immune system. Therefore, prevention is key.



Exposure to toxic environments:


Pestizides and insecticides have been linked to cancer development in pets, ask your compound for when they spray your lawns and bushes. They usually do this during spring and autumn time. Dogs and cats are low to the ground and are much more susceptible to these toxins.



Studies show a link between lawn chemicals and cancer in dogs. Scientists found that dogs with malignant lymphoma were 70% more likely to live in a home where professionally applied lawn pesticides had been used.


Dogs with serious malignancy were also 170% more likely to come from homes where owners used chemical insecticides.

The food you feed


What we eat is one of the major factors contributing to cancer according to Dr. Dressler.


Here’s why:


1. Carcinogens developed during food processing


Carcinogens refers to cancer causing agents. Over the recent years those have also been linked to kidney and liver and heart diseases. There are many around such as chemical preservatives and additives but also carcinogens that develop during the actual food processing.


Chemicals and preservatives used in processed foods, such as aspartame, msg, or high temperature processing over extended periods of time (220º – 270º F for example that’s around 120 degrees and above) all have been linked to cancer.


Most of the highly processed pet foods on the market get cooked multiple times. They’re processed first to produce meat meal, and then they go through a second cooking process.


Imagine you’re overcooking your own meal, you cook away the water and then later bake the residue.


“There is almost no research on potential carcinogens in processed pet food” Dr. Karen Becker.


Dr. Becker found one study called “Mutagenic Activity and Heterocyclic Amine Carcinogens in Commercial Pet Foods,” which was published in July 2003 in the journal Mutation Research. The study showed, that out of 25 commercial pet foods analyzed for mutagenic activity (the ability to induce mutations in cells), all but one had a positive response.

Most research has been done for humans. Based on findings available it can be hypothesized that there is a connection between dietary heterocyclic amines and cancer in animals consuming highly processed foods.


The fact remains, very few pets are fed fresh food. Most dogs and cats are fed extruded foods.


Therefore the less processed your pet’s food is, the better, it’s not just preservatives you need to worry about but processing of the actual ingredients.


Have you tried our fresh dog meals yet? Click the link to try.



Recently during 2020 many pet food scandals in the US shed a light on the following toxin that has been suspected to be the culprit for many years but was only investigated into, after more then 70 pets died.


2. Aflatoxin


Aflatoxins are poisonous carcinogens and mutagens that are produced by certain molds which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, grains, and corn and have been found in pet foods.


Aflatoxin may enter the general food supply where they have been found in both pet and human foods, as well as in feedstocks for agricultural animals.

If your pet food for example contains either grains, corn, or legume ingredients (such as peas, soybeans) better ask the manufacturer if they perform mycotoxin testing on incoming ingredients, and finished pet foods. Also ask how often these tests are performed.


3. Pet safe detergents and cleaners and grooming shampoos


Even cleaning agents labeled 'safe' and 'non-toxic' can contain hazardous ingredients for your pet.


Most companies who produce household cleaning and laundry detergents don’t really keep pets in mind. However many times our pets are more sensitive to hazards than we may are. It’s good to check the ingredients list for parabene or other hidden ingredients that simply sound suspect or highly chemical to us, even if it’s just for our own personal safety. Essential oils should also be treated with caution, not all are suitable for pets and many of them can cause great damage as they are highly concentrated.


Personally I use cleaners and detergents made of soap nut. No perfume or anything that could cause my pets any issues. For my dog’s grooming shampoo I use a shampoo that contains no parabene, and no perfumes.


4. Spay & neuter at the right age


Research has shown that spaying or neutering too young could lead to cancer development such as bone sarcoma. The recommended age according to the literature seems to be 18+ month.


5. Detox your dog after vaccination


We have no choice but to annually vaccinate our dogs but you should only do the necessary vaccinations don’t over-vaccinate, if you’re unsure if the vaccination worked you can perform an antibody test 2-3 weeks after the vaccination occurred.


Most importantly, make sure to detox your dog. Many vaccinations have an impact on your dogs immune system by weakening it, so you want to help boost their immunity.



Detoxing through supplementation, for example a therapeutic one month treatment after vaccinations that you could do by using the following:

  • Probiotics

  • Inulin (prebiotic fiber)

  • Chlorella or spirulina (make sure it’s organic, it’s known to help detox fast and efficiently)

  • Dandelion (dried version, helps with inflammation reduction)

  • Krill oil or any other high quality omega 3 oil, best would be green lipped mussel oil

  • MSM - boosting the immune system and joint health


For purchasing supplements please check iherb.com I use the site myself to source supplements I want to share with my animals and to guarantee safety.




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