Most of us do everything we can to take the best care possible of our pets. We provide the best food, regular veterinary care, dental checkups, and much more. Because of this, pets are living longer, healthier, happier lives. But, just like humans, pets have a higher risk of developing cancer than ever before. Cancer is just about the scariest word any loving pet owner can hear. The question is, are some types of cancer preventable in dogs? While there’s no way to guarantee that your dog will never get cancer, there are some things you can do that may lessen the odds.
Reduce Chemical Exposure
Reducing the number of chemicals your pets are exposed to is a great place to start. Dogs can be affected by second-hand smoke, just like humans can. Protect your dog by smoking outside, far away from your dog.
There are a lot of dangerous chemicals in cleaning products, too. Make the switch to green, organic cleaning products to protect the health of both you and your pet. When you do use chemicals in the house, remove your dog from the area and let it air out thoroughly before he comes back in.
Certain lawn chemicals have been linked to cancer as well. For example, insect growth regulators could cause lymphoma, and phenoxy herbicides have been shown to increase the risk of bladder cancer.
Asbestos can also be a problem for dogs. It has been linked to a type of chest cancer called mesothelioma. It can be found in old insulation and other materials in older homes. If you live in an older home, have it checked for asbestos for your health and your dog’s.
Don’t Let Your Dog Get Overweight
Studies show that obese dogs have an increased risk of some types of cancer, including bladder cancer and breast cancer. Another study indicates that restricting your dog’s calorie consumption could be the single best way to prevent cancer in your beloved pet.
Spay or Neuter Your Pet
You can go a long way toward preventing breast cancer in your dog simply by spaying her before her first heat cycle. Her risk of developing breast cancer increases with every cycle, so don’t put it off. Spaying your dog can also decrease her chances of developing ovarian or uterine cancer.
For males, testicular cancer is obviously completely avoided in a neutered dog. Also, if your dog has an undescended testicle, removal and neutering are especially crucial.
Some types of cancer can be detected early through blood work. Having yearly blood work done is a great way to catch things early, which improves the chances of successful treatment. For older dogs, some veterinarians will also recommend things like ultrasounds to detect tumors while they’re small.
So, yes, the risk of some cancers can be significantly reduced. And for others, early detection through preventive care is the best course of action. As your pet gets older, consider having a complete physical with bloodwork done twice each year.