by Katherine Khoo May 20, 2024 5 min read

A cancer diagnosis in your beloved pup can be a daunting and emotionally taxing experience. Amidst the challenges of treatment and care, providing proper nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting his overall well-being. Here are some important considerations and practical tips for feeding a dog undergoing cancer treatment, helping you nourish your pet with love and compassion.

Feeding Your Dog During Cancer Treatment

Understanding the Role of Nutrition

Nutrition plays a vital role in supporting your dog's immune system, maintaining muscle mass, and combating the side effects of cancer treatment. A well-balanced diet can help optimize your dog's overall health and quality of life during this challenging time. Cancer and its treatments, such as chemotherapy, can take a toll on a dog's body, leading to weight loss, muscle wasting, and decreased energy levels. Good nutrition is essential for optimal healing and recovery, both during and after cancer treatment. Adequate protein intake, for example, is necessary for tissue repair and regeneration, while vitamins and antioxidants support cellular health and reduce oxidative stress. By providing the necessary nutrients, you can help support the dog's body as it undergoes treatment and works to heal itself. Adequate nutrition helps maintain muscle mass and energy levels, enabling the dog to better tolerate treatment and maintain their quality of life.

Proper nutrition can help strengthen the immune response and improve the dog's ability to cope with the disease and its treatment. A well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals will also help support the dog's immune system, which is crucial for fighting off infections and combating the cancer itself.

Consulting with Your Veterinarian

Before making any changes to your dog's diet, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide personalized guidance based on your dog's specific health needs, cancer diagnosis, and treatment plan. Your veterinarian may recommend dietary modifications or supplements to support your dog's nutritional requirements during cancer treatment.

Feeding Your Dog During Cancer Treatment

Choosing the Right Diet

When selecting a diet for your dog with cancer, opt for high-quality, easily digestible foods that provide essential nutrients without unnecessary additives or fillers. Fresh dog food, gently cooked, is a good dietary option for dogs with cancer but depending on the dog’s condition, your veterinarian may suggest a prescription diet specially formulated for dogs undergoing cancer treatment.

Here are some of the best commercial fresh dog food for your consideration:

  • The Grateful Pet Cooked Dog Food. This dog food is made with 100% fresh, all natural ingredients, and it includes anti-cancer ingredients like Reishi mushroom, Dandelion root & Milk thistle.
  • Big Dog Barf Raw Dog Food. This is a good choice for raw feeders. It’s a low carbohydrate diet that is nutrient-dense and contains plenty of phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables.
  • The Honest Kitchen Marvel Dehydrated Dog Food. This dehydrated dog food is made with minimally processed, wholefood ingredients. It’s grain-free, made with only six, carefully chosen ingredients including cage-free turkey and novel navy beans. This minimalist recipe is easy on your pup’s digestive tract. To rehydrate before feeding, add some water or bone broth.

You may consider cooking homemade meals for your dog during cancer treatment. It can be a beneficial option, provided that it is done carefully and with guidance from your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist. Homemade meals should provide a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Depending on your dog's specific nutritional needs and any deficiencies identified by your veterinarian, you may need to supplement homemade meals with additional vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients. The Australian pet organics Certified Organic Supplements for Dogs is a great supplement brand for dogs with cancer. This range of supplements are made with all-natural, organic ingredients. No synthetic food chemicals are added.

As with all diet changes, introduce the change gradually to allow your dog's digestive system to adjust. Start by mixing small amounts of homemade food with their regular diet and gradually increase the proportion over time. Dogs undergoing cancer treatment may experience fluctuations in appetite and dietary preferences. Be patient and flexible, and adjust their meals as needed to accommodate their changing needs and preferences.

Addressing Appetite Changes

Cancer treatment, medications, and the disease itself can often lead to changes in your dog's appetite. Some dogs may suffer from digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If your dog experiences a decreased appetite or difficulty eating, consider offering smaller, more frequent meals. Adding a high value meal topper like The Barkery Beef Muttballs Meal Toppers Frozen Dog Food may help to entice the dog to eat. This particular topper is also great as a healthy, high protein snack all on its own. Some botanicals like ginger, may help to decrease nausea and improve appetite during cancer treatment. Not all botanicals are suitable during cancer treatment. Please consult with a qualified professional before adding botanicals to your dog’s food. Be patient and flexible, and consult with your veterinarian if appetite changes persist.

Feeding Your Dog During Cancer Treatment

Providing Adequate Hydration

Proper hydration is essential for dogs undergoing cancer treatment, as it supports overall health and helps flush toxins from the body. Ensure that your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times, and consider offering wet or moistened food to help increase their fluid intake if needed.

Monitoring Weight and Body Condition

Regularly monitor your dog's weight and body condition throughout their cancer treatment. Sudden or significant changes in weight, appetite, or energy levels may indicate underlying health issues that require attention. Work closely with your veterinarian to adjust your dog's diet and treatment plan as needed to support their nutritional needs and overall well-being.

Providing Comfort and Support

Above all, focus on providing comfort, love, and support to your dog during their cancer journey. Offer gentle encouragement, cuddles, and positive reinforcement during meal times, creating a calm and nurturing environment that helps reduce stress and anxiety. Your presence and care are invaluable sources of comfort and strength for your pet during this challenging time.

Feeding Your Dog During Cancer Treatment

Nutrition is a critical component of cancer treatment for dogs, as it supports their physical health, strengthens their immune system, minimizes treatment side effects. Good nutrition can improve their overall quality of life. However, feeding a dog undergoing cancer treatment requires patience, compassion, and flexibility. Working closely with your veterinarian to develop a tailored nutrition plan ensures that the dog receives the specific nutrients and support they need to navigate their cancer journey with strength and resilience. Apart from nutrition, nourish their body and soul with the warmth of your love, and cherish each moment spent together as you navigate this challenging but meaningful journey side by side.








Katherine Khoo
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Academy

Understanding Urinary Incontinence in Dogs - Good Dog People™
Understanding Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

by Good Dog People June 21, 2024 3 min read

As our dogs grow older and transition into the senior stage of their life, they may experience bodily and...
Hearing Loss in Older Dogs
Hearing Loss in Older Dogs

by Katherine Khoo June 14, 2024 5 min read

Many senior dogs suffer from hearing impairment as they age and become less responsive to you and the world around...
Green Tripe: Superfood or Fad? - Good Dog People™
Green Tripe: Superfood or Fad?

by Good Dog People June 07, 2024 5 min read

Over the past few years, green tripe has been becoming more popular in raw dog food, but what is it...