Obviously, there’s no one proven way to be sure your pet won’t ever get cancer. If there was, we’d all be doing it, and veterinary oncologists would all be out of business. However, it may be possible to lower your pet’s risk of cancer with a few simple preventive measures. The best part is, none of these things are likely to do any harm to your pet, and they are likely to improve overall health in addition to possibly helping to prevent cancer.
Spay and Neuter
It’s true that there’s some evidence suggesting spaying or neutering a pet too early can increase its risk of sustaining an athletic injury. It’s also true that, in some breeds, desexing actually increases the likelihood of certain cancers. But that said, the benefits of spaying and neutering vastly outweigh any possible risks.
Think about it: A dog with no testicles can’t get testicular cancer. A dog with no uterus or ovaries can’t get uterine or ovarian cancer. Plus, when you remove a dog’s sex hormones, you cut the likelihood of certain other cancers significantly. For example, mammary tumors are much less common in spayed dogs than unaltered ones. Unless your dog has a family history of osteosarcoma or cardiac hemangiosarcoma, desexing surgery is among the best possible tools to prevent cancer.
I’m not going to say you shouldn’t vaccinate your pet at all. That’s a big risk to take, and it also endangers other pets. However, I think we can all agree that you shouldn’t revaccinate a pet that’s already immune to the condition for which he’d be vaccinated. Use blood titers to determine whether or not a pet still has immunity to a particular disease before revaccinating.
By limiting vaccination to when it’s really necessary to bolster immunity, you’ll cut your pet’s chance of vaccine-induced sarcoma significantly. This is especially important for cats. Most indoor cats do not need many vaccinations, if any at all, after kittenhood. Cats are also more prone to vaccine-induced sarcoma than dogs. Some other cancers may also be associated with over-vaccination, so using blood titers is not just a common-sense method of maintaining a pet’s immunity, it’s also a necessary step to help prevent cancer.
Which do you think has more carcinogens: A raw, free range, organic chicken quarter, or a scoop of dry pet food made with free range chicken? The dry food may be a great brand and among the best choices in its category, but to preserve meat in a kibble form, additives are necessary. There’s no way to make a 100% meat kibble.
The fewer ingredients, particularly artificial additives and preservatives, are in a pet’s diet, the less likely she is to ingest carcinogens. Feeding a whole prey model raw diet gives you sole control of the ingredients in your pet’s diet. Remember, “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” With a whole prey model raw diet, you know your pet isn’t taking any garbage (preservatives, grains, glutens…) in, so you have a better chance of getting no garbage out (tumors, cancer, heart disease, etc.).