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Sam Dobson Writes: 8 Steps To Reduce Your Dog's Risk Of Cancer

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

8 Steps To Reduce Your Dog's Risk Of Cancer

Today I got some crappy news. My second boxer has been diagnosed with cancerous tumor at the age for four years old. It sucks big time but it is what it is. Moving forward, Hades will be going in to get the tumor removed a week from today. We are acting fast and hopefully that is enough but it is still disappointing. My oldest boxer, Achilles, got his first cancerous tumor removed when he was about three and half years old. From then on, he has had one every three years or so. We have had every one removed and he appears to be healthy otherwise. What I'm worried about is Hades developing the same pattern.

My oldest boxer, Achilles, after his third cancerous tumor removal.
Fear not, he is a trooper. 

Not wanting to make this a tri-annual ordeal, I decided to do some research on what I can do to reduce my gentle boxer's chance of growing another cancerous tumor. I know there is no one thing I can do to prevent her from getting cancer in the future. In fact, boxers are genetically prone to it. But I can do my best to make sure she is as healthy as possible to decrease her risk.

My sweet boxer babe, Hades. 

8 Steps To Decrease Your Dog's Risk Of Cancer


1. Research Your Breed


While researching your dog's breed won't prevent your dog from developing cancer, it will give you a better idea of what kinds of ailments are a risk. Many pure bred dogs are susceptible to specific ailments due to their genetics. Just as boxers are prone to tumors, golden retrievers are genetically susceptible to developing cancer and german shepherds frequently suffer from hip dysplasia. It's important to know what ailments are common in your dog's breed so that you can diligently keep an eye out for those symptoms. I know my beloved boxers are susceptible to tumors so anytime I feel a bump or lump that shouldn't be there, it's straight to the vet. 

2. Spay & Neuter 


As if there aren't enough viable reasons to spay and neuter your dogs already, here is another one: CANCER! Some cancers are almost completely preventable by spay and neuter, like cancers of the reproductive organs. Early spay and neuter can significantly reduce the risk of other types of cancer. Just do it, okay?

3. Quality Dog Food


For the love of god, don't feed your dog crappy dog food! I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you just don't know any better. If you just aren't sure about the quality of your dog food, check out www.dogfoodadvisor.com for a better idea of what you should and shouldn't be feeding your furry children. Dog food with lots of preservatives and fillers is comparable to McDonald's. Would you feed your human kid McDonald's for every meal? If it's colored, ditch it. If the first ingredient isn't a source of protein (duck, chicken, lamb, etc.), toss it. If it's sold at Wal*Mart or the grocery store, skip it. When in doubt about the quality of your dog food and the affects on your pup, consult with your vet. 

4. Filtered Water


For the same reasons you should be drinking bottled or filtered water, so should your dog. If you wouldn't drink the tap, don't serve it your dog. Tap water contains many impurities and chemicals. Avoid supplying your pup with more toxins by using filtered water instead. 

5. Exercise


Don't let your dog get fat or overweight. Regular exercise is essential to your dog's health and happiness. Maintaining a healthy weight is just as important for your dog's health as it is for your own. The best habit for staying in shape is exercise. Take your dogs for daily walks, hikes, or runs. Too tired to run your dog? Take them to doggy daycare (I recommend Paws Pet Resorts) to get out any excess energy. 

6. Ditch the Chemicals


While it is important to prevent and treat fleas and ticks, the constant use of certain chemical treatments can be harmful to your dog's health. I know many vets recommend using a preventative on the regular, but I don't. I only use a flea treatment if I find a flea on one of my dogs. They get oatmeal baths regularly so it's very rare that I find a flea, but when I do, I only treat as needed. Bottom line, excessive use of chemicals such as these can run down your dog's immune system and hinder their ability to fight off any oncoming diseases. 

7. Don't Over Vaccinate


I know this a controversial one, for both people and canines, but it's something to think about. Dogs with diligent owners who follow every instruction the vet has given them may be extremely over vaccinated. Many vets require vaccinations be updated every six months or every year and this can be excessive. While some vaccinations are essential to your dogs health (especially puppy vaccinations), if they are administered too often it can have a negative effect on your dog's immune system. Many vets are adjusting their practice to avoid excessive vaccinations, giving three year vaccinations instead of one and administering titers in which the blood is tested to see if the vaccination is still present in the dog's system. Discuss with your vet which vaccinations are right for your dog and if at any time you feel like it's a bit excessive, get a second opinion!

8. Be Aware of Stress


Just as stress can cause ailments in humans, it can do the same in canines. Many people either are unaware or ignore the fact that their dog is an emotional creature. Our dogs are so in tune with our emotions, they feel what we feel. Heartbroken, sad, angry, happy, giddy, etc. De-stress with your dog by taking him on a walk or throwing the ball. The activity will take his and your  mind off the stress and focused on the fun. The happier you are, the happier your dog will be. 

If you fear your dog is suffering from some sort of ailment that may require medical attention, always consult with your vet. When in doubt, get a second opinion. 

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