By Honor Tarpenning, NextDayPets.com Staff
As we learn more and more about how to take the best possible care of our dogs, they are living longer and longer lives. We are being rewarded for advances in veterinary science and knowledge with extra years of snuggly, fur-covered love and affection. However, with an increase in dogs living into advanced years, there is also an increase in the incidence of the sort of diseases that tend to strike in the winter of our beloved companions’ lives, one of which is the ever-dreaded cancer. Although there is no way to guarantee that your dog won’t ever get cancer, there are many measures one can take to help avoid the pain, sadness, and expense that inevitably come along with The Big C.
Chemical herbicides and pesticides are both linked to cancer in dogs. In fact, some pesticides are believed to double the incidence of lymphoma in dogs. Do your best to keep your dog out of chemically treated lawns and flowerbeds. Render your yard Fido-safe by sticking to natural formulations. There are several natural herbicides on the market, including those made with black walnut extract, sunflower extract, and corn gluten meal. Neem, pyrethrin, rotenone, and sabadilla are all popular, effective, botanical pesticides. These measures are not only better for your dog, but they are also significantly more environmentally friendly, and safer for you and your family.
Do not give your dog water straight from the tap. In some tap water one can find traces of nitrates, arsenic, led, and fluoride, all of which are dangerous for dogs and are believed to have carcinogenic properties. Give your dog bottled water, or save money in the long run and install a water filter on your kitchen faucet. You can also purchase an HduO water dispenser. The HduO looks like a regular, home water cooler, but it includes a motion sensor that provides fresh, clean water to your dog on demand in a bowl located at the bottom of the device. It also includes standard taps for hot and cold water for you and your family.
Also, never let your dog drink from puddles, especially near the road. These puddles can contain hydrocarbons, asbestos dust, and other carcinogenic compounds.
Antioxidants protect your dog from free radicals, which means they offer your dog protection from ageing, cancer, and various ailments. Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as beta carotene, lycopene, and mineral selenium are all examples of antioxidants that are great for your dog.
Many vets suggest that you provide your dog with coconut products. Coconut oil contains fatty acids with anti-tumor properties, and shaved coconut is choc-full of cancer-fighting fiber.
Garlic is widely believed to have anti-cancer properties. It is thought to inhibit the cancer process by slowing or preventing the growth of cancer cells.
Many believe that you should not feed your dog grain-based foods. These carb-heavy diets are blamed for digestive issues and diabetes, among other health problems. Furthermore, on many occasions, atlatoxin and acrylamide have been found in grain-based dog foods, both of which are potent carcinogens. Also, a low-carbohydrate diet denies cancers the glucose they need to grow and make your dog sick.
Nearly half of our nation’s dogs are obese. Overweight dogs are prone to diabetes, heart problems, orthopedic issues, sleep apnea, and scores of other health problems. Obesity is also linked with a host of different types of cancer, especially mammary and bladder cancer. The appearance of a dog at a healthy weight varies among different breeds. Generally, dogs should have a discernable waist from above, and their stomach should tuck up behind their rib cage. If you think your dog is overweight, pay a visit to your vet and talk about the healthy weight range for your particular breed of dog. Then you just have to feed him less and exercise him more and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier dog. Don’t worry, there are lots of fun ways to get out and exercise with your dog.
Indoor Air Pollution
According to the EPA, there are many dangerous pollutants in the air in our homes, some of which contribute to a higher rate of cancer in dogs as well as humans. These pollutants include asbestos, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, lead, nitrogen dioxide, and radon. Dangerous chemicals are released by stoves, heaters, fireplaces; maintenance, personal care, and hobby products; pressed wood products, and biological pollutants. Make your home safer for your dog and the rest of the family by ventilating your house regularly. Turning off the AC and opening the windows, installing a screen door and leaving your door open can drastically reduce the pollutants in your home. House plants also help scrub the air in your home so everybody can breathe easier. According to a NASA study, some of the plants that are especially helpful when it comes to cleaning your air are English ivy, peace lilies, bamboo, aloe, and spider plants.
If you choose to smoke and have an indoor dog, do not smoke in your home. According to the American Lung Association, there are 43 different carcinogens in cigarette smoke. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that dogs in smoking households had a 60 percent higher risk of lung cancer. Dogs in smoking homes also have a much greater incidence of nasal and sinus cancer.
Spay and Neuter
With the scores of benefits associated with having your dog spayed or neutered, there’s just no reason not to. For you and your dog, though, the best reason of all is that it might just help them live longer. Having your female dog spayed before her first heat drastically reduces her chances of getting mammary cancer. Having your dog neutered at an early age completely obliterates the chances of him developing testicular cancer.
Never let your dog ride in the back of a pickup. There are many dangers to your dog associated with riding in the back of a truck. They are likely to develop eye and ear injuries from bugs and various debris as you ride down the road. Dogs are also completely at the mercy of mangled steel and flying car parts in the event of an accident, even if your truck isn’t involved. As far as cancer prevention goes, when your dog is in the back of your pickup, he is forced to inhale all the dangerous and carcinogenic fumes being emitted from every other car on the road. Rover is much safer in the cab with you.
The full spectrum light provided by our very own shining sun activates the hypothalamus and balances the endocrine system, leading to scores of health benefits. Your dog does not have to sit in direct sunlight to experience these benefits. It is sufficient to sit in the shade, or even hang out inside with the window open on a sunny day.
Easy Immune Boosters
A healthy immune system is absolutely paramount when it comes to avoiding and fighting cancer. Your dog’s lymphatic system does most of the work when it comes to fighting off disease, and there are all sorts of fun ways to help your dog’s lymphatic system work to the best of its ability.
Stress has a huge effect on your dog’s overall health, especially his immune response. Reduce your dog’s stress by spending lots of time with him. Give him snuggles and play with him as much as possible and you are actually helping him avoid cancer and other diseases. A good massage and nice brush-down are other ways to not only relieve stress, but also directly stimulate your dog’s lymphatic system.
Exercise strengthens the lymphatic system too, and it is as easy as a trip to the beach! Take your dog for a frolic in the sand, head out back for a game of Frisbee, or just go for a nice long walk; all these enjoyable activities are outstanding ways to extend your dog’s life expectancy.
Know your dog and pay attention. Often, early detection of cancer can save your dog’s life. Using a grooming glove is a great way to keep Rover’s coat healthy as well as keep an eye on changes in your dog. Look for unusual bumps or abnormal swelling, especially in the lymph nodes, as well as sores that don’t heal, lumps in the mammary area, or any abnormality or difference in size in the testicles.
Also take note of decreases or increases in appetite and thirst, changes in energy level, listlessness, stiffness, and abnormal bleeding or discharge. Any of these issues indicate that it is time for a trip to the vet.