It's devastating when any member of your family is diagnosed with cancer. When it's your beloved dog that has received the diagnosis, treatment will begin immediately. Your veterinary clinic will have determined the most appropriate form of treatment, and this is comparable to cancer treatment for humans. Your dog may require surgery to remove the malignant growth, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Your veterinarian may use a combination of these treatments. There are several aspects of your dog's at-home care that you need to be aware of, in order to give your dog the best chance of recovery.
Your Dog's Immune System
Cancer can weaken the immune system, and the treatment itself, particularly chemotherapy or radiation therapy, can have a pronounced effect on your dog's overall physiology. Your dog's white blood cell count can be depleted (either by the cancer itself, or in the periods immediately following treatment), and this makes them more vulnerable to external pathogens, which they can be exposed to via contact with other dogs.
Minimizing Contact With Other Dogs
It can be necessary to isolate your dog from other animals, to minimize their chance of contact with potentially harmful pathogens. Dog parks, play dates, and dog daycare are all risks. This risk won't necessarily be ongoing, so you should talk to your vet about the specifics as to when these sites should be avoided.
Sudden Dietary Changes
Your dog's diet also plays a considerable role in their cancer battle. It's important that you don't attempt to overfeed your dog in an effort to offset any changes to their appetite caused by their illness or treatment. It might be tempting to feed your dog anything that they can safely consume, no matter how unsuitable these foods may be for a dog. While your intentions are pure, and you clearly want to make sure that your dog is well-nourished, any drastic changes to your dog's diet can create gastrointestinal distress, which can be far more pronounced (and serious) when your dog is affected by cancer.
The same goes for adding dietary supplements to your dog's food in an attempt to boost their immune system, and this should not happen unless advised by your vet. Talk to your vet about the best diet for your dog while they're being treated for cancer (including the benefits of any supplements). Your vet can make specific recommendations, and it's in your dog's best interest that their diet adheres to these recommendations.
You'll want to do everything you can to give your dog a fighting chance against cancer, which is why their at-home care is so important.
For more information, reach out to a veterinary clinic such as Johnstown Veterinary Associates.
Whether you have had a pet cat for years or you just bought a new fish tank filled with fish for your children, you likely enjoy learning more about your favorite animals and how you can help keep them in good health. We created this website to help pet owners like you learn more about their beloved pets healthcare needs. We plan to post the answers to many of your pet health-related questions on this website, such as how to choose the right food for your fish, how to encourage your indoor cat to exercise when they need to lose a pound or two, and how to know when your dog's strange behavior may signal an illness. If you cannot find the answers to your pet health questions here, we hope you can use our resources to find the answers elsewhere.