Dog owners should be aware of the cancer risks to their dogs and take preventative measures early. According to the Morris Animal Foundation, one in two dogs will develop cancer and one in four dogs will die from it. Cancer is currently the No. 1 killer for dogs. These holistic health tips, offered by Dr. Greg Miller, can help prevent cancer in your dog as well as improve their overall health.


Health and Body


Do a quick exam of your dog’s body daily. Check for tender spots, lumps, red marks, hot spots or other changes. Annual check-ups for healthy dogs are important, with more frequent visits for younger, elderly or sick pets.


Watch What Goes into Your Dog’s Mouth


Feeding the right diet is an important factor. Read the label on purchased pet food. Choose a diet that is complete and balanced. Make sure it is appropriate for your dog’s life stage. If you make your own food, consult a veterinary nutritionist to formulate a diet specific to your dog’s nutritional needs.

Water makes up a large part of your dog’s diet as well. Consider giving your pet purified water. In some communities, tap water can contain harmful chemicals for your dog such as nitrates, lead, and arsenic. Avoid allowing your dog to drink standing water from outside, such as that found in puddles or in containers which can contain cancer-causing chemicals such as asbestos dust, hydrocarbons, or pesticides.


Reduce Toxins in Your Dog’s Life


The Whole Dog Journal reports that there are more than 150 household chemicals linked to canine cancer. They recommend reading the label. If it warns to keep away from children or pets, choose an alternative. Lawn and agricultural chemicals have also been linked to cancer in dogs. Your dog can be exposed through his paws, his nose, and his coat when he is outside. Avoid taking your dog on treated grass and select organic treatments for your own yard.


Make Sure Your Dog Gets Enough Exercise


Dogs that are active have lower risk of cancer than those who are overweight. Being overweight causes inflammation, which increases the risk of cancer. Ensuring your dog enjoys an active lifestyle can improve the immune system, blood circulation, digestion, and lower the toxins in the body. Photobiologist Dr. John Ott has studied the correlation between natural sunlight and the prevention of cancer in animals. His findings show that regular exposure to sunlight can help prevent development of cancer cells. Regular outdoor exercise can provide that exposure.


Stress Level


Stress has been proven to increase the risk of health problems, including cancer. Major life changes, such as moving or introducing new pets to the home, can cause stress. Be aware when your dog is experiencing stress and take advantage of activities that help reduce it. Some great stress-busters for your dog are maintaining a regular schedule including playtime and meal times, massage and/or brushing, and spending one-on-one time with each pet in a multi-pet home.


As a dog owner, you can also choose to take an online class in natural healthcare for pets, such as one of the veterinary care classes offered at Penn Foster. By working to develop skills such as the practice of animal massage, aromatherapy, and herbal treatments, you can provide the most holistic and loving care for your beloved dog.