What foods are good for dogs fighting cancer?

Updated April 17, 2017

Every dog owner dreads a diagnosis of canine cancer. According to The Best Years in Life website, 50 per cent of all tumours in canines are related to the skin (40 per cent are malignant), 20 per cent affect the mammary glands, and 30 per cent affect the alimentary system, lymph nodes and reproductive organs. If your vet determines a tumour is malignant, you can support cancer treatment by feeding your dog a specialised diet. The right foods can build your dog's defences, retard cancer growth and increase its chance of survival.


Tumour cells depend on carbohydrates for energy and deplete the body's amino acid reserve. According to the Dog Health Guide, your dog's anti-cancer diet should be low in carbohydrates, with fat and protein providing energy, as protein prevents muscle deterioration. Feed dogs digestible animal protein including chicken, turkey, lean red meats like beef, lamb and pork, fish, eggs and dairy products such as whole fat yoghurt and cottage cheese.


Although the rest of your dog's body is able to metabolise lipids (fats) for energy, cancer cells cannot take advantage of fats. Therefore a diet with a high fat content may slow tumour growth, and make the body resilient to fight tumour cells.

The Dog Health Guide states that, "Fats may provide more energy than carbohydrates or proteins." It also metabolises fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Include good food sources of fat, including those derived from salmon, mackerel, sardines, fish oil, yoghurt and flaxseed oil.

Fruits and Vegetables

Feed your dog antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to further strengthen its immune system. Choose orange, red, yellow, and other brightly coloured fruits such as apples, berries and watermelon. Chlorophyll derived from natural sources provides protection from carcinogens in animals. Dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and asparagus spears are good sources of chlorophyll, which should be added to your dog's food. Make sure to purée the fruits and vegetables, since dogs do not possess the enzymes that break the layer outer cellulose layers in fruits and vegetables.

Homemade Food

Consider feeding your dog homemade foods because they are unprocessed and free from preservatives, compared with commercial foods that have a high grain, starch and sugar density that encourages cancer cell growth. Veterinary nutritionist Susan B. Davis recommends holistic pet care through homemade diets that provide high-quality nutritional support.

Customise an anti-cancer diet for your dog based the cancer type--as it is not appropriate to feed dogs with liver and kidney cancer, a high protein diet.


Dogs suffering from cancer often lose their appetite. Homemade anti-cancer foods are flavourful, nutritious and easy to prepare. Use a combination of foods based on your dog's cancer type. The Dog Health Guide website offers this recipe for a medium-sized dog: two boiled chicken breasts, a half cup puréed broccoli and carrots and a tablespoon of flaxseed oil.

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