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A cancer diagnosis is terrifying, and we would give anything to help our dogs through it. These natural herbs, supplements, and oils have beneficial elements to support your pet through this tough journey and keep them fighting against cancer.
Ginger’s Cancer Story
When our Ginger girl developed a lump on her leg in April 2016, a couple weeks before our big move from Puerto Rico to Alaska, I was pretty terrified. We rushed her to our vet, and he did a biopsy, which came back with no cancerous cells.
We were thrilled at first, but it kept growing and growing. Months later, it was diagnosed as soft-tissue sarcoma. Chemotherapy and radiation weren’t options that were available due to where we are located in Alaska, so I began to look into alternative cancer treatment options.
I did TONS of searches on holistic herbs and supplements to help boost her quality of life, but information was scattered across so many different sites, it was frustrating and overwhelming.
In addition, scientific research on the effectiveness of herbal medicine is limited, but this veterinary hospital in Michigan is actively studying it, which is promising. We were fortunate to have extra time with our girl until she was ready to go in June 2017 at 15 years old. Here are some of the herbal supplements I used to help make her last year a wonderful, healthy one!
Best Supplements for Dogs with Cancer
Fish Oil – This has so many perks, including reducing inflammation and and soothing skin allergies. It also aids in helping to reduce weight loss caused by cancer and many traditional cancer treatments, and promote general wellness and immune system support.
Frankincense Oil – An anti-inflammatory that has been shown to aid in targeting cancer cell death, as well as help inhibit cell growth. It also improves general health and immune system function.
Coconut Oil – Using coconut oil is a great way to boost energy levels and help digestion, especially when upset tummies from prescription medicines can be common. It can also improve their skin and coat and reduce allergic reactions. Simply add a bit to their food and mix it up. You can also add a drop of peppermint oil and use it to brush their teeth!
Helpful Herbs for Cancer Prevention/Reduction
Artemisinin – This is a compound from the sweet wormwood plant. It is drawn to cancer cells because of the iron levels inside them, and works to kill those cells. Steer clear if your dog is undergoing radiation, though, as that causes iron levels to spread.
Olive leaf extract – Olive leaf extract has both antiviral and antibacterial effects; it may also be effective against various yeast infections. The antioxidant properties in olive leaf extract can be helpful for inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and allergic dermatitis, as well as for cancer prevention/reduction.
Astralagus root – Astralagus is an herb helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, and supports the endocrine system and thyroid. It’s also been shown to have a beneficial effect when fighting cancer.
Turkey Tail Mushroom – This has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. It has naturally occurring antioxidants that vastly improve the immune system, and has been shown to have a positive effect against cancer cells.
Turmeric/Curcumin – Turmeric, also called curcumin, is an anti-inflammatory that has shown the ability to target and kill cancer cells, as well as inhibit their growth and ability to spread. It can have a blood-thinning effect, so taper off before any surgeries.
Now, I know this looks like A LOT, and I certainly don’t recommend filling your pup with all of these at the same time. I suggest taking this list to your vet to determine which supplements would be best to start with, and to determine dosage levels for your pet.
Oils can be mixed into food, and capsule pills can be placed/hidden within their normal food for many dogs. They can be given wrapped in a treat such as cheese or meat for pickier dogs.