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Pet Cancer Prevention 101

Let’s talk about Pet Cancer Prevention!

With so many diagnoses every year, pet cancer prevention has never been so important. Over 6 million dogs and nearly 6 million cats will be diagnosed with pet cancer this year. Almost 47% of dogs and 32% of cats will die from cancer according to The Veterinary Cancer Society. Dogs over the age of 10 are especially vulnerable.

Currently, the veterinary community focuses on cancer research on over 100 types of cancer seen in our pets. The search continues to find out what causes cancer, and how we can best to treat it.

What makes pet cancer prevention challenging is we don’t know all we need to know about cancer’s causes. We know some information about the causes today, we don’t know what will absolutely stop or prevent cancer from developing.

In spite of this, there are many things we can do to help with pet cancer prevention. We want our pets to live long, healthy and happy lives and prevention begins before becoming a Guardian.

When choosing a dog or cat there are two options:

1.) Acquiring a purebred.

2.) Rescuing a pet (many rescues can be mixed breeds.)

After adopting your pet, genetics, environment, and diet all can play into a higher or lower risk of pet cancer.


can play a significant role in the incidence of cancer. Also, certain purebred breeds have a higher incidence of cancer. These breeds can include:

  • Rottweilers

  • Bernese Mountain Dogs

  • Bouvier des Flandres

  • Golden Retrievers

  • Scottish Terriers

  • German Shepherds

  • Great Danes

  • Labrador Retriever

  • Bichon Frise and more

For purebreds, proper breeding is where it all starts. Reliable and competent breeders should make every effort to record and be aware of the incidence of cancer in their bloodlines. This helps pet cancer prevention. Selective breeding helps breed away harmful genes, such as cancer or other hereditary conditions. It should be considered an important factor for any breeder.

Mixed breed dogs and cats (with the exception of Siamese) have a reduced risk of genetic predisposition to cancer.

Environmental Concerns …

can cause cancer, as there are many carcinogens found all over the environment. Besides that, many of these can difficult, if not impossible to avoid. These include:

  • Cigarette smoke, diesel fumes, and exhaust – known to cause lung cancer in humans.

  • Heavy metals (lead, arsenic, and mercury) found in foods, drinking water, and the air. Industrial contamination can tamper with these sources too – up to hundreds of miles from the source!

  • Herbicides and pesticides on lawns can also be carcinogenic.

  • Asbestos fibers, vinyl chloride found in plastics.

  • Benzene clothing dyes.

  • Stress can also be a factor. Providing a safe and stress-free environment can help to maintain a healthy immune system.

Dietary Concerns …

are one area where Guardians do have a great deal of control. Because Guardians are in control of their pet’s diets, they can benefit from learning about diet concerns.

Taking the time to check the ingredient list on the package is essential in not only providing optimum nutrition but also avoiding questionable ingredients that can, over time, have a negative effect on the health of a pet.

Nutritional toxins that are thought to have carcinogenic properties like carrageenan and BPA, found in some wet foods and container liners, chemical preservatives found in some dry kibbled foods like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), propyl gallate, and ethoxyquin. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are very controversial and many believe that they have the potential to cause an increased risk of cancer in pets.

Feeding a pet as natural a diet as possible and avoiding chemical and synthetic substances is always a good idea.

Pets that suffer from excessive weight are known to be at a greater risk of developing this, and many other diseases.

A lack of exercise can put pets at risk of many conditions including cancer.

Want to know more about prevention? Learn about how probiotics can help your pet.

The bottom line is that we need to do all we can to avoid the known risks of cancer by living in as natural an environment as we can and feeding our pets as natural a diet as possible, along with regular exercise and lots and lots of love!


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