cozy couple on sofaYour pet relies on you for necessities like food, water, exercise, and affection, but he or she also needs your help when it comes to preventing disease, too. Certainly regular wellness exams, routine vaccinations and parasite preventatives are all on the list of keeping your pet happy and healthy, but but have you thought of other potential health problems that your pet may develop, like cancer?

Just as it does with us, pet cancer can develop in any part of the body where abnormal cells grow and divide at a rapid rate. Pet cancer is frighteningly prevalent – and while there are certain breeds that are genetically predisposed the disease, it can be found in any pet at any age.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce your pet’s cancer risk. Here’s what you need to know…

Environmental Exposure

There are a number of environmental toxins that may increase your pet’s risk of developing cancer. Household cleaners, pesticides and herbicides, and second-hand smoke are among the leading carcinogens that your pets may be exposed too, although any potentially toxic substance can increase the odds.

Be cautious when using bleach or ammonia and read the labels on products for the bathroom, kitchen, car, and yard. Purchase products that are plant-based (corn, palm kernel or coconut oil instead of petroleum) and fragrance-free (phthalates that make the fragrance have been linked to cancer in lab testing). Disinfectants certainly have their place in the home but you can buy plant-oil ones that use eucalyptus, rosemary, or sage instead of triclosan (a common ingredient in products ranging from toothpaste to toys, used to reduce bacterial contamination). White vinegar is a worthwhile cleaning alternative, as well.

Nutrition Guidelines

Did you know that the risk of developing cancer is increased if a pet is obese? Obesity can lead to inflammation which, in turn, can promote tumor growth.

Keep your pet healthy and trim by offering the right amount and type of food and engaging your pet in plenty of active play and exercise. Your pet’s food should help to maintain healthy cells and inhibit the abnormal ones. We are happy to discuss the optimal diet for your pet at his or her next  wellness visit.

Other Considerations

Your pet’s ability to fight off disease can be bolstered by a healthy immune system. One of the best things you can do to support your pet’s immune system is to make Fluffy or Fido’s dental health a priority.

Likewise, having your pet spayed or neutered can help to decrease the odds of pet cancer tremendously. Cats and dogs that are not spayed are at an increased risk for mammary and reproductive cancers, and unneutered male dogs often have an increased testicular cancer risk, as well.

Early Detection Is Your Best Bet

We cannot stress enough how critical it is to keep your pet’s regularly scheduled annual or bi-annual wellness visit. During our time with your pet, we are able to see or test for certain symptoms related to cancer. Early detection will increase the odds of a healthy prognosis if cancerous cells are present.

Between visits, if you notice any mysterious lumps or bumps, changes in your pet’s behavior or appetite, or any new and unusual foul odors coming from your pet, give us a call. Early detection is your pet’s best bet for treating and beating cancer.