Boost Your Dog’s Immunity With These Cancer-Fighting Food Ingredients

Dog with tongue out

Nobody likes to hear that their furry friend is on the wrong side of health. In fact, as pet moms and dads, you will probably do whatever it takes to ensure that your dog is fighting fit.


Cancer in dogs doesn’t discriminate and there is no magic trick or spell to improve their immunity. However, ensuring that your dog has a healthy diet and lifestyle are two major areas that are within your control. If your pet isn’t already suffering from cancer, act now by incorporating cancer preventative foods to your dog’s diet and implementing a few positive changes to their routine to give them the best possible chance of fending off the disease.


Best Foods for Preventing Cancer in Dogs

We look at some fresh foods that contain natural anti-cancer agents that are safe for dogs and can help to minimise free radical damage, improve the body’s immune response, and reduce inflammation. With most items being readily accessible, consider how you can incorporate them into your dog’s daily diet.


1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have quite a reputation for boosting immune systems and fighting cancer in dogs. One of the most critical reasons for adding Omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s food is its anti-inflammatory properties. Many cancers are a direct cause of inflammation as well as infection and chronic irritation. By including sufficient Omega-3 fatty acids in your dog’s diet, you are reducing the risk of inflammation and the chance of mutated cancer cells multiplying exponentially.


In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in boosting your furry friend’s heart and kidney health, enhancing brain development, and improving skin and coat. Many dogs suffering from an illness are also prone to anxiety and depression, which is something that Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce.


Don’t simply glance at your pet’s food packaging and assume that a mention of “fat” in the ingredients is good enough. Yes, fat is an essential part of a dog’s nutrition, but it’s important to note that not all fat is equal. Specifically, keep an eye out for Omega-3 in the ingredients, which consists of ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid).


When it comes to what type of Omega 3 supplements/oils to give your dog, look out for those with high levels of EPA and DHA which are most commonly from fish and other seafood. There is a wide variety that includes fish oil from salmon, tuna or mackerel, cod liver oil, algal oils (from sea plants), calamari oil, krill oil. These oils can easily be mixed into your dog’s daily meals.


Only add the oils right before feeding your dog and to food that has been cooled down to preserve its nutritional properties as oxygen and heat will cause the oils to oxidise more quickly. Avoid buying a human Omega 3 supplement as sometimes these are packed with extra Vitamin A and D, which can be harmful to your pet when over-supplemented.


2. Immune Modulating Mushrooms

Much like fats, not all mushrooms are equally beneficial. Some are toxic and should never be fed to your four-legged companion Make sure to feed only species appropriate mushrooms to your dog. Traditionally used in East Asia, medicinal mushrooms, which have beta-glucans, polysaccharides, and glycoproteins as their active ingredients, are well-known for their anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and cancer-fighting effects.


Turkey tail and reishi are two safe, cancer preventative mushrooms that you can offer your dog. Both of these mushrooms are considered immune-modulating, which is a fancy way of saying that they have an antioxidant and immune-balancing effect, making them formidable warriors against cancer-causing free radicals in a dog’s body.


As far as mushrooms go, they are some of the best ingredients for preventing cancer in dog food. There is something almost “magical” about the effects of medicinal mushrooms because they don’t just boost your furry friend’s immune system; they do so much more. Immune-modulating mushrooms help to inhibit cancer cells, regenerate cells, and reduce cell damage caused by cancer.


Turkey tail mushrooms are known to extend the lifespan of dogs that are already fighting cancer, and Reishi mushrooms are known for their anti-tumor effects. There are several ways to incorporate these mushrooms into your dog’s diet. You can buy them as a powdered supplement for mixing into the food or in tea bag form to make a tea. Alternatively, you can purchase them as dry mushrooms and make a broth to pour over your dog’s food.


3. Curcumin From Turmeric

Curcumin is an active ingredient found in the turmeric root with a growing rate of usage in the field of oncology. It has been observed that when dogs had curcumin introduced into their diet, there was an increase in the activity of antioxidant enzymes in their bodies.


Additional evidence of its anti-inflammatory properties and antitumor effects makes curcumin one of the most sought-after cancer-fighting foods for dogs. Curcumin has shown the ability to diminish mammary cancer cell, reduce the size of mass cell tumours and inhibit the growth of new cancer cells. Apart from using it as a preventative food, other potential health benefits from including curcumin in your dog’s diet include:


    • Relief of joint pain from arthritis
    • Improvement in gastrointestinal conditions
    • Reduction of liver damage from certain medications


While turmeric is completely safe to give to your dog, the general rule of thumb is to dose around 15mg of turmeric per 450g of your dog’s weight. Most pet guardians make a “golden” paste by mixing turmeric powder, coconut oil or MCT oil, and a small pinch of black pepper. Add it directly into the meal for your dog. This concoction allows the curcuminoids in the turmeric paste to be better absorbed by your dog’s body. You can keep this paste in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


4. Vitamin D3

Lower levels of vitamin D3 in dogs has been shown to place them at a higher risk of developing cancer and other diseases, so ensuring that your dog receives enough vitamin D3 in their diet is important. One of the ways that vitamin D may help prevent cancer in dogs is by supporting immune system function. Vitamin D has been shown to activate immune cells, including T cells and natural killer cells, which can help to identify and destroy cancer cells before they have a chance to grow and spread.


However, supplementing your dog’s diet with a vitamin D supplement is not recommended. This is because any overdoses of vitamin D can cause high blood calcium levels, damaging the kidneys and heart. So that’s a no-no.


The best thing you can do for your dog is to make sure that their diet contains naturally vitamin D3-rich foods from salmon or anchovy oil, beef liver, cod liver oil and egg yolks to name a few. Having sufficient amounts of these fresh ingredients in the diet is the best way for your pet to get a cancer-fighting vitamin D3 boost.


Other natural foods you can feed which contain cancer prevention properties include:


    • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale
    • Berries such as blueberries and blackberries
    • Beta-carotene rich carrots, pumpkin, mango, papaya, spinach


cancer fighting food ingredient list for dogs.


Additional Ways to Reduce Cancer Risk In Dogs


We have already touched on the fact that a healthy diet and lifestyle to match are essential to prevent dog cancer. You can do several things to support your buddy’s updated diet and ensure that they are in the best possible condition, come what may.


1. Reduce Carbohydrate Intake

Carbohydrate restriction has shown some success in reducing the rate of cancer growth. As carbohydrates break down into sugars in the body, and sugar is cancer’s favourite fuel, a diet that is low in carbohydrates, yet moderate in good quality protein and fats with the right amount of vitamins and minerals is preferrable.


2. Treat Them To Gentle Massages

Massage is known to increase oxygen levels, reduce pain and stiffness, spur healing and recovery, lower blood pressure, ease digestion, and improve regularity. All of these are excellent benefits for any pet.


3. Regular Fresh Air and Exercise

Just like humans, dogs derive a lot of pleasure from leisure activities with the ones they love. Regular exercise with a range of intensity allows your dog to maintain a healthy weight which further reduces their risk of getting cancer.


Going for a fun hike in nature, playing ball, running together, or engaging in a game of ‘tag’ with your dog can promote a better mindset and overall wellbeing for your best friend. This is known to boost the immune system.


4. Reduce Exposure to Toxins

Exposure to environmental toxins can increase the risk of cancer in dogs. Try to avoid exposing your dog to chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins.