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Pet Cancer Diets and Nutrition

Posted February 19, 2016

Just like humans, dogs and cats suffering from cancer or going through cancer treatment may suffer from a severe lack of appetite, which only contributes to a further deterioration in their health and well-being. In fact, adequate nutrition is particularly important for any pet being treated with chemotherapy drugs since a lack of nutrition predisposes our pets to the toxicity of the drugs and results in a poor therapeutic response.

Proper diet and supplementation is absolutely essential if you pet is to have a  fighting chance of overcoming this dreaded disease, and having a good quality of life.

Researchers are still studying what nutritional requirements pets with cancer need. However, there are some studies that have shown that a diet with increased protein and fat, decreased carbohydrates, and the addition of supplements and omega-3s may be beneficial for dogs and cats with cancer. The diet for dogs should be 35-40% protein; 30% fat; and 20% carbohydrates. Cats should have more protein, less fat, and minimal to no carbohydrates. Let’s explore some of the reasons why this type of diet may be beneficial for pets with cancer.

High in Protein:

  • A diet high in protein is thought to beneficial due to the decrease of certain amino acids such as arginine found in the plasma of cancer patients. Arginine can be found in animal sources like beef, poultry, and seafood. You may also find arginine supplements through your local holistic veterinarian.

High in Fat:

  • The reason pet parents want to feed their pets a diet high in fat is due to the way tumor cells, unlike healthy cells use fat. Basically tumor cells have difficulty utilizing lipids for energy. A diet high in fat will also help with cachexia (or wasting) experienced by cats and dogs with cancer.

Low in Carbohydrates:

  • A diet low in carbohydrates is thought to be helpful since pets with cancer have increased lactic acid in their blood. Since the metabolism of simple carbohydrates produces lactate, it’s thought that a diet low in carbohydrates may be beneficial.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Additional Vitamins and Supplements:

Feel free to contact your NHV Pet Expert. We have a vast array of holistic recipes in our library, which we can choose from to help you and your pet.

Now that we know what diet to give our pets with cancer, how do we actually get them to eat it? 

Feeding a sick pet can be tricky. Once our cats and dogs loose their appetite it can be difficult to convince them to eat. At NHV we really like the Caru stews as a topper to be put on top of the pet cancer recipe or dry food for dogs. Caru has that rich gravy and mouth-watering smell that will help stimulate your dog’s appetite and get them to want to eat. It’s also rich in nutrients and is human grade so you know you’re feeding them something healthy as well as tasty.


Another tip to getting your furry companion to eat is to simply sit with them. Sit down in their eating area, coax them over gently, give them a pet and a kind word. Your simple gesture of love will do wonders to get your pet to at least begin to eat.

Once again if you need a recipe or any advise please do contact your NHV Pet Experts, we are here to give you the support you and your fur baby need.


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*Product reviews are solely the experience and opinion of the reviewer. Actual results may vary.