Preventing Canine Cancer


While there is no way to guarantee that your dog won’t develop cancer at some point in their life, there are ways to reduce your dog’s risk. 

  • Good nutrition and regular exercise are key to a healthy immune system.  Feed your dog a high-quality diet that uses human-grade ingredients and little to no preservatives or additives.
  • Keep your dog at a healthy weight.  As with humans, pets who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing many diseases, including cancer. 
  • Reduce your dog’s exposure to lawn chemicals and fertilizers, which have been linked to certain types of cancer.  Use natural alternatives whenever possible.  Learn more about lawn chemicals and your dog's health.
  • Limit the use of chemical-based flea and tick products, which are often just pesticides that you apply directly to your dog’s skin and which can rub off on you and your family as well.  Select natural alternatives as often as possible.
  • Spay and neuter early.*  Some types of cancer, including mammary cancer, are almost 100% preventable when your dog is spayed or neutered when they are young.
  • Talk with your vet about your dog’s vaccination schedule and eliminate those that aren’t absolutely necessary.  Recent studies show that over-vaccinating can actually damage your dog’s immune system and is thought to be a major factor in the development of many chronic diseases, including cancer.
  • ALWAYS wipe your dog’s paws off after being outside to prevent them from spreading or licking off any chemical residue from sidewalks, streets and grassy areas.
  • Check your dog regularly for any lumps, bumps, or other abnormalities.  You know your dog best, and you are the first line of defense in catching cancer early.  Doing a full body check-up every month is important -- weekly checks are even better.  Don't forget to look inside the mouth too!  Monitor anything that seems suspicious and have it checked out by your vet if you have concerns.  Don't be afraid to insist on a fine needle aspirate of a lump, or other test to rule out cancer.  Early detection is critical, so trust your instincts if you think something is abnormal.
  • INVEST IN PET HEALTH INSURANCE!  Okay, so this may not prevent cancer, but it may make wellness exams and preventative care more affordable, and if your dog is among those who are diagnosed with cancer during the course of their life, it will help you to afford lifesaving cancer treatments to help your dog battle this disease.  No one should have to choose between saving their family member's life, or paying the monthly bills.  Pet insurance is an excellent way to protect yourself and your pet.  There are several good pet health insurance companies out there, so research which one is right for you.  Two companies that Georgia's Legacy recommends are Veterinary Pet Insurance and Pet's Best Insurance.

*There has been some research that spaying and neutering TOO young can actually increase your dog's risk of cancer in some cases.  This may be especially true with osteosarcoma.  While Georgia's Legacy advocates spaying and neutering due to the pet overpopulation crisis, if your dog's breed has a higher risk of developing osteosarcoma, or other risk factors that concern you, please talk with your vet about this issue.  For more information about this research topic, read an article entitled "The Long-Term Health Effects of Spay / Neuter in Dogs" by Laura J. Sanborn.

 This website is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinary professional, and is for informational purposes only. Please seek the advice of your veterinarian or a veterinary specialist before giving your dog any supplements or pursuing any alternative cancer therapies. 

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