Nutrition plays a key role in the ability of a pet to fight cancer. Many times dogs and cats suffer from something called cancer cachexia. This is caused by changes in the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and fat induced by the tumor. Over time these changes lead to anorexia (decreased food intake), fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.
If pets are undergoing treatment for cancer (chemotherapy and radiation) they can experience side effects such as nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Certain chemotherapies may alter smell and taste perceptions, resulting in decreased food intake or changes in food preferences.
All these factors can make it really difficult to provide adequate nutrition for an animal with cancer. The ideal diet to fight cancer should contain a high amount of calories/cup (energy dense) and the main sources of calories should come from fat (50 to 60%) and protein (30 to 50%) and only a small portion from soluble carbohydrates.
Cancer feeds of carbohydrates, so it is better to reduce the amount of them significantly in the diet. Fat makes the food more palatable increasing the chances of the pet liking it. A very good source of fat that has great anti inflammatory properties, and that has been proven beneficial in trials with human cancer, are omega 3 fatty acids.
If pets are reluctant to eat, there are some ways to encourage them to ingest food by offering several small meals throughout the day, or by hand-feeding. The food could also be warmed to body temperature, or warm water could be added to enhance aroma and texture. Many times it is necessary to offer different types of food.
We hope that this article is useful to you and that your four legged loved ones stay healthy! At Prevention Foods we care about your pets!