Cancer is a very serious diagnosis, and one that nobody wants to hear. For our pets, just like in people, there are a number of factors that can influence the likelihood of getting cancer. Many of those factors are outside our control (i.e., genetics), but there are many others that can be avoided. And while following the practices below is not fool-proof anti-cancer treatment, these prevention methods may decrease the odds of getting cancer, and make your pet healthier on the whole.
A few good tips for reducing your pet's risk of cancer are:
1. Avoid known carcinogens
There are many environmental factors that have been linked to cancer, and the less exposure your pet has to these factors, the better. A few hazards to be on the lookout for include:
The point here is not to scare you from taking your pet outside, but to avoid unnecessary risks where you can. Pet-safe sunscreens and natural pesticides are great options.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Preservatives that have been called into question as carcinogens, like acrylamide and ethoxyquin, can be worth avoiding. It's a good idea to make sure the pet food you are giving your pet has all the essential nutrients and minerals they require, with a minimum of additives.
If you are so inclined, a raw diet, while preparation intensive, can be a good alternative, as it removes the risk of your pets ingesting any preservatives, artificial coloring, or other by-products that might be carcinogenic. Just make sure that the food you are preparing for them has everything they need -- nutritional deficiencies are a common hazard of home-prepared diets. Be sure to consult your vet.
3. Get Lots of Exercise
A good idea for anybody, a healthy workout regimen is going to make your body a less hospitable place for diseases to take root. By bolstering the lymph system (which plays a large part in a functional immune system), exercise can help by releasing endorphins, eliminating toxins, and just making the body stronger.
4. Neuter Your Pets
For female pets, being spayed before they go into heat for the first time reduces their risk of developing mammary tumors. For male pets, being neutered completely removes the risk of testicular cancer (for obvious reasons). Yet another reason to have your pets “fixed.”
5. Don't Forget to Take Your Vitamins
There are dozens of different supplements, vitamins, and herbs that are thought to be effective in warding off cancer in people, and many of them are being looked to for pets. Some of the most widely used remedies are:
Vitamins A, C, D, E, and Selenium (antioxidants that improve immune response)
Green Tea (stimulates the immune system)
Various Mushrooms (that have anti-tumor properties)
Turmeric and Cumin (thought to inhibit tumor growth)
- Fish Oil (may slow cancer growth and bolsters the immune system)
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