Cancer doesn’t just develop in humans; it is estimated that one in four dogs will develop cancer at some point in their life. As with humans, certain precautions can be taken to lower your dog’s cancer risk.
Make Sure Your Dog Stays Fit: Being significantly overweight or obese is a major risk factor for cancer in humans. While such a link has yet to be conclusively proven in dogs, it is generally assumed that the same holds true for our canine companions.
Obese dogs have too much glucose in their bloodstreams, and must likewise contend with abnormally high levels of inflammation and oxidative stress. All of these issues make cancer more likely to develop.
Avoid Toxins: It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but toxins harmful to dogs can be found pretty much everywhere. Specifically, they are known to reside in everything from lawn chemicals to tobacco smoke to household cleaners. Prolonged exposure to these substances has been shown to put dogs at much greater risk of cancer; for example, one study found that lawn pesticides increased the risk of malignant lymphoma in dogs by up to 70 percent.
So what are dog owners to do? Consider consulting with a veterinarian to develop a regular detoxification program for your dog. Of course, the details of this program will depend on how often your dog is exposed to harmful chemicals.
Stop Smoking: Second-hand smoke doesn’t just affect humans; according to researchers from Colorado State University, it also can put dogs at much greater risk of cancer. Dogs with long noses, such as Labrador Retrievers, Collies, and Dachshunds, were found to be especially vulnerable to developing cancerous nasal tumors. In contrast, second-hand smoke puts Pugs, Bulldogs, Shih Tzus and short-nosed dogs at greater risk of lung cancer.
Make Sure Not To Skip Veterinary Checkups: Unfortunately, many dogs do not get a yearly checkup from their veterinarian. As a result, many treatable growths on dogs fail to be caught at an early stage, allowing them to become malignant and spread. Having your dog undergo an annual physical can help ensure that such growths are spotted in time and properly addressed.