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10 Cancer-Fighting Foods for Dogs

10 Cancer-Fighting Foods for Dogs


Dogs can suffer from the same cancers humans do.  But there are many cancer-fighting foods for dogs and they are all readily available in your supermarket.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs. Dogs are 35 times more likely to suffer from skin cancer than humans, 8 times more likely to suffer from bone cancer and 2 times more likely to suffer from leukaemia.

Research predicts that 1 in 4 dogs will eventually develop cancer and that nearly 50% of dogs older than 10 years will do so.

Most Common Types of Cancer in Dogs 

Lymphoma – can affect any breed at any age. More common in dogs than in humans.  Lymphoma makes up 24% of all new canine cancer cases. 
Oral Melanoma – most commonly occurs in the mouth or on the skin. Malignant melanoma is aggressive and commonly spreads to other parts of the body.
Osteosarcoma – the most prevalent type of bone cancer in dogs. It accounts for 85% of all skeletal tumours. 
Hemangiosarcoma – a type of cancer that most frequently affects the spleen but can also affect the liver, heart, and skin.  
Mast cell tumours – Immune cells known as mast cells are associated with skin allergies. 
Transitional cell carcinoma – the most typical urinary system tumour for dogs

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What are the Signs of Cancer in Dogs?

A cancer diagnosis is terrifying for anyone.  To hear your best friend has it is heartbreaking.  Early detection can save your dog’s life.  So, it’s important to be in tune with your dog so you can notice any changes in them.  And when you do, take them to the Vet immediately.

Here are some signs you should look out for;

  • Abnormal or rapidly growing lumps
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Bleeding or discharge from body openings
  • Difficulty eating, swallowing, or breathing
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating 

How Important is Food in Cancer Prevention?  

anti-cancer-foods-Cancer-Fighting Foods for Dogs by PetWell

Your dog’s diet plays a very important part in its health and well-being.  There are some foods that have been proven to be effective in strengthening the immune system and reducing inflammation in the body.

Although food can’t stop cancer altogether, some foods may reduce the risk of cancer. In fact, research shows that up to 35% of cancers in humans can be caused by poor diet. The same goes for dogs.  As we always say, prevention is better than cure.  

How Phytochemicals Can Help?

According to research, using phytochemicals to supplement a healthy diet can help stop cells from mutating into cancerous growths.

Phytochemicals are organic substances found in plants. Many of these plants have been used as remedies for thousands of years to both prevent and treat disease.

Compared to vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients have a significantly longer duration of action in the body. However, in conjunction with certain vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients are like a superfood to help reduce the risk of cancer in your dog.

Foods that contain phytochemicals are:

  • kale
  • broccoli
  • cruciferous vegetables such as brussel sprouts and cabbage.
  • berries
  • cantaloupe
  • pears
  • spinach
  • apples
  • green tea

Here are 10 easy-to-access cancer-fighting foods that may help the prevention of cancer in your dog. 

1. Apples

Apples for petwell blog - foods to help prevent cancer

Dietary fibre and polyphenol compounds from apples work with gut microbes to foster a setting that may help lower the risk of cancer.

They contain antiangiogenic properties that prevent the formation of new blood vessels from the walls of pre-existing blood vessels, which is a frequent mechanism for cancer to progress into tumours. 

Read more about the benefits of Apples.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to remove the seeds and core. The seeds contain small amounts of toxins, not suitable for their digestion.

2. Blueberries

Berries are packed with plenty of phytochemicals and antioxidants, especially blueberries., The antioxidants work to protect cells against free radicals and inflammation, helping to prevent cancer. Also, they contain ellagic acid which helps block the metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer. As well as anthocyanins which reduce cell proliferation and inhibit tumour formation.

Read more about the benefits of Blueberries.

Have 6 monthly wellness checks with your Veterinarian.  Early detection saves lives!


3. Broccoli

Rich in phytochemicals, vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that fight cancer-causing free radicals. Also loaded with vitamins A, C, and D as well as a natural anti-inflammatory that collectively works to support immune health.

Glucosinates, abundant in broccoli are converted into biologically active substances with anti-cancer effects. They render carcinogens inactive, prevent DNA damage, and cause tumour cell death.

4. Carrots

Carrots contain pro-vitamin A, also known as beta-carotene. They are rich in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals that support the immune system, aid digestion and fight cancer-causing free radicals.

5. Cruciferous Vegetables

vegtables-s-Cancer-Fighting Foods for Dogs by PetWell

The cruciferous family include brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, rutabagas, kohlrabi, bok choy and turnips. They contain glucosinolates which are associated with decreased inflammation, lowering the risk of cancer. 

According to recent studies, the chemicals in cruciferous vegetables “switch on” genes that suppress tumours, halt tumour growth and encourage cancer cells to self-destruct.

6. Kale

Research shows the carotenoids present in dark-green leafy vegetables like kale can work as antioxidants and strengthen the body’s natural defences against free radicals. 

These safeguards aid in preventing free radicals from damaging DNA, which can result in cancer. Kale contains antioxidants that work to prevent the synthesis of carcinogens in cells, which can lead to cancer. 

7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

Omega-3-fatty-acids-s-Cancer-Fighting Foods for Dogs by PetWell

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oil are well known for reducing inflammation and slowing down the growth of cancerous tumours. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D3 in fish and fish oil is an essential ingredient in cancer prevention. 

High-quality proteins such as sardines, salmon, herring, cod, mackerel and shellfish are the best sources of Omega-3. These fish are also high in useful vitamins and minerals. Including calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium. As well as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  Alternatively, you can use all-natural supplements that can be easily added to your dog’s bowl. 

Omega-3 fatty acids have other benefits for your dog. It helps keep their coat shiny and prevents dry flaky skin. Plus it supports good gut health and joint health due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. 

NOTE: If you chose to give your dog fish, make sure it’s cooked or freeze-dried.

Some raw fish contain dangerous parasites. For example, raw salmon poisoning is caused by rickettsia which uses a parasite fluke on the salmon as a host. This can be fatal for your dog. For more on fish safety, visit

8. Pumpkin

The pumpkin’s vivid orange colour serves as a visible indicator of its high beta-carotene content which the body converts into vitamin A.

A powerful antioxidant that is essential for preventing cancer because it shields cells from the harm that free radicals can do. Beta-carotene can inhibit the progression of cancer and boost the enzymes that work to remove cancer-causing substances in the body.

9. Sweet Potatoes (Cooked)

Sweet-potatoes-Cancer-Fighting Foods for Dogs by PetWell

A special combination of vitamins and minerals found in sweet potatoes can help slow and prevent canine cancer. These include vitamins A, B6, C, E, and D. Plus the minerals iron, magnesium, potassium, folate, copper, and thiamine. And don’t forget the all-important carotenoids and beta-carotene,

IMPORTANT: Raw or dried sweet potatoes can cause digestive issues. Do not give your dog raw potatoes of any kind. 

10. Turmeric

Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. It works as a cancer preventative by neutralising free radicals in the body. Curcumin interferes with cancer development.  Combining coconut oil with turmeric can help the absorption of curcumin. 

Read more about the benefits of Turmeric.

In Summary

As mentioned earlier, cancer is the leading cause of death in older dogs, it makes sense to take every precaution to prevent cancer and keep our beloved pets as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Whether your dog is healthy or battling cancer, these cancer-fighting foods are worth including in their diet. Alternatively, you can include high-quality, human-grade supplements that contain everything they need. 

Important: If your dog has cancer, we do not recommend replacing their medication with food only.  Please speak with your Veterinarian for their guidance on how you can include the foods listed here in conjunction with their medication to ensure a holistic approach to treatment. 

The Science Behind It

Don’t just take our word for it, here are some evidence-based studies for you to review.
Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet
Phytochemicals in Cancer Treatment
Apples: Linked with Lower Risk of (ER-) Breast Cancer
Blueberries reducing cancer risk 
Protective Role of Dietary Berries in Cancer
antioxidant power in sled dogs supplemented with blueberries 
Blueberries: Increase Antioxidant
Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention
Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis
Carrots: Rich Supply of Carotenoids
Kale: Rich in Antioxidants
The National Canine Cancer Foundation
lymphoma, and T‐zone‐like cells of undetermined significance: A case‐control study of aged Golden Retrievers
Anti-inflammatory activity of a lipid fraction (lyprinol) from the NZ green-lipped mussel
Protective Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Cancer
Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. The team at Pet Squad Pty Ltd trading as PetWell encourages you to make your own pet healthcare decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified pet healthcare professional.

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