Cancer in Dogs: Natural Ways to Prevent and Treat It
Posted Jul 23 2008 5:18pm
46% of all dogs who die of disease now die of cancer.That’s an astonishing figure, isn’t it? Forty-six percent!
Imagine half of your own friends dying of cancer. You’d surely be doing everything possible to stay healthy and disease free, wouldn’t you? Well, cancer will kill half your dog’s friends. The time has come to shift your focus from general health maintenance to cancer prevention. And it’s time to learn about alternatives to conventional cancer treatment.
My good friend, holistic vet Dr. Paula Terafaj (practicing in Brea, CA) wrote me: “Even for us doctors, there are more questions than answers: Did so-and-so cause my dog’s cancer? Are there any natural treatments for cancer? How long do you think my dog will live if we don’t do chemo?”
When Dr. Paula’s beloved dog Woody was diagnosed with cancer of spleen and liver, she set out to help Woody battle his own cancer. No toxic chemo. No risky surgery. She wanted him to live out his days pain-free as a cancer warrior with a game plan! Here’s the first installment of her game plan. She has kindly permitted me to reprint it. Parts 2 to 5 will appear in the upcoming days. (Have you subscribed to my blog yet? Sign up at right.)
Everywhere you look these days, we hear news about this or that vitamin, mineral, vegetable, herb, plant from the rainforest, or exotic fruit reported to “cure” or protect us from cancer—but the fact of the matter is really just this:Our immune system (when working properly) has the natural ability to find and destroy cancer cells as well as the viruses and bacteria that make us sick.In fact, the most successful natural remedies simply amp up or help the immune system to fight its own deadly battles!
So, our health really depends on how well our immune system is functioning at all times—no silver bullets, no black magic. Our very ownbody intelligenceis our best weapon to defeat the growth of cancer cells and keep us free of disease. It is only when the immune system fails to detect and destroy malignant cancer cells or mount a targeted attack against bacterial and viral invasions that we get sick. Sometimes we become the unwilling host to a flu virus or strep throat; other times falling victim to life threatening diseases, like cancer.
Scientific studies have shown that we can and do influence the functioning of our immune system.Diets that lack essential nutrients, stress, and exposure to a growing onslaught of chemical pollutants have all been shown to weaken the function of the immune response and subsequently our health.
The same goes for your dog. Assuming your dog is not burdened by the stresses of financial worries, job dissatisfaction, a demanding work schedule, caretaker responsibilities, difficult personal relationships, etc—spending his days napping, playing and feeling loved—the single most important factor that will determine your dog’s state of health and longevity is what foods he finds in his food dish!
It’s the choices we make, not fate, that determine our health and the health of our animal dependents. Each day we make choices that will either weaken our army of immune soldiers—or optimize its fighting abilities to win and protect our health. I have long advocated the common sense approach of maintaining good health—a proactive state of living calleddisease prevention. A mindset yet to be embraced by a flawed health care system which looks more like this: Get sick then change your diet, get more exercise and reduce stress. And if that’s too much trouble, no doubt you will join the millions ofsickosin America and help to pump up drug company profits!
I have learned from my own personal health experiences and those of my furry patients that we can improve our own state of health and strongly influence the health of our pets by the choices we make. Stack the health odds in your favor!
Start a proactive health campaign with a few simple principles:
Get smart: plan your diet each day and don’t leave it up to chance. This will help you to avoid tempting junk foods and make better choices. You also need to rethink the misguided idea that feeding your dog the same commercial diet every day is healthy. Like us, they need and crave a variety of whole foods. Simple whole foods like baked chicken, ground turkey and scrambled eggs are easy to prepare. Add more of these wholesome foods to your shopping cart and skip the dog food aisle!
Go green: eat vegetables with meals and snack on fruits—both are high in protective antioxidants. Most dogs like to eat cooked vegetables. Favorites are: carrots, peas, green beans and broccoli. Also try canned pumpkin, yams and butternut squash. You can ensure an optimum intake of these hard working antioxidants by including a good quality vitamin/mineral supplement.
Adopt a “more rest and less stress” lifestyle that includes daily exercise. Start by leashing up your dog for walks around the neighborhood, visit local dog parks, or engage in play activity at home. Just get started and your dog will keep you motivated to continue this very good behavior!
There really is sage advice hidden in that phrase:“the good old days”. Like feasting on simple whole foods that were common place on kitchen tables when our grandmothers (younger readers may need to go back as far as great grandmother) were the gourmet chefs of our time! Remember, whole foods contain the best sources of essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids) and that has not changed! Don’t short-cut your health with fast food products that list ingredients known only to food chemists—just look at the pet food industry. Open a bag of kibble and ask yourself, where is the beef?
What you eat and what you feed your dog will surely determine the number of doctor visits in the days ahead. Although I am a big fan of dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, fatty acids) and Nutraceuticals (foods that aid in the prevention or treatment of disease) they arenotsubstitutes for a health-based diet. However, I must pause here to praise the efforts of science to provide us with substantial scientific studies and documentation on how certain key supplements and Nutraceuticals have proven to offer numerous health benefits, safe effective treatments, and sometimes even cures for almost any health challenge we may face—our pets included! (More on this in Part 2: How to fight cancer without drugs.)
You can boost your health IQ by readingSuper Foods Rx—Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life, by Steven Pratt, MD. (I got mine from Amazon.com.) This smart Doc shows how you can actually change your body’s biochemistry and stop the progression of diseases like type II diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, obesity and Alzheimer’s simply by eating more nutrient-dense foods.
Don’t worry, you can find these simple foods at your local supermarket. Some of the foods that made it to the top fourteen, like blueberries, broccoli, spinach, salmon, and walnuts did not surprise me. However, some did, like oranges, pumpkin, beans, and turkey. And if you don’t like some of the super fourteen, the author offers what he calls sidekicks: similar foods that can be substituted.
This wonderfully written book will surely help improve your eating habits simply by knowingwhythese foods are so good for your health. On a recent food shopping spree at Trader Joe’s, I found myself reaching for a variety of canned beans (marinated 3 bean salad, refried black beans with jalapeno peppers, organic black bean soup), dried wild blueberries and walnuts. Foods that can be easily added to salads and other dishes. Your dog is sure to enjoy eating some of the super fourteen too! Now, pass the blueberries please…
— A last note from Jan. Have you seen our videos? Click “Videos” under “Categories” at right. And hug your dog for me. And stay tuned for more fromDr. Paula.