Fundamentals of Caring for Cancer in Dogs

By Tess Thompson

Given that your dog has lived with you and provided you with comfort as a companion, it is your duty to take care of your pet if he is found to be afflicted with a specific disease. The amount of care and companionship that your dog needs may increase, and becomes more important if the disease is terminal in nature. Cancer in dogs is one such disease where detection unfortunately happens in the later stages, rendering treatment almost immaterial and useless. In such cases, love, care and comfort are the three things that you can provide for your dying dog.

Even though there are numerous kinds of cancer and each can affect different parts of the dog’s body, the basic fundamentals of care for cancer in dogs remains the same. The basic idea is to make the dog’s life as comfortable as possible. It is now your time to pay him back for his services. Some of the basic principles of taking care of a dog with cancer are mentioned below.

Pain Management

Cancer causes pain, and some types of cancer cause extreme pain. The target of pain management should be to try and prevent pain from occurring, rather than treating it with strong painkillers once the pain has started. This is mainly because the response to pain tends to magnify once the pain starts. Conventional medications like narcotic analgesic patches and oral pain relievers provide instant relief, but are addictive. In cases of localized pain, a local anesthesia can be used. You may also want to decrease the risk of skin ulcers (bed sores) by providing an orthopedic bed.

Avoid Dehydration

Certain types of cancers produce nausea and vomiting. Although not commonly seen in dogs, chemotherapeutic drugs can also cause nausea and vomiting as side effects. Your main goal should be to reduce vomiting and the consequent risk of dehydration. You may also consult your veterinarian and learn about homeopathic cancer treatment for dogs, with an aim to find a better alternative for avoiding nausea and vomiting.

Quality Diet

Diet is the most important aspect of cancer care. A quality diet based on individual needs will also help. It is a good idea to monitor diet closely if you have chosen chemotherapy as the treatment for your pet, because a good diet improves the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs.

Nauseated dogs are liable to refuse to eat. Try some appetite-enhancing remedies and feed him warm food in a stress-free environment. Ask your veterinarian about Omega 3 fatty acids, digestible proteins and supplemental amino acids.

There may be instances where a dog refuses to eat despite of a completely functioning digestive system. In such cases you may have to resort to enteral therapy, a system of nutrient delivery where fluids are given through a stomach tube directly into the gastrointestinal tract. Dog cancer is common in old dogs since their immune system weakens to a great extent over time. Your extra care will not only make his life comfortable, but also provide satisfaction to you for having done the best for your pet.


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