Cancer Diets: When to Go Organic

As most of us with dogs who have been diagnosed with cancer know, diet plays a very important role in maintaining well-being during the journey with this disease.  Not only can a healthy diet improve how the immune system functions, it can also help to reduce cancer cachexia, which is a common complication of this disease, and minimize the side effects of traditional cancer treatments.  The standard recommendation for dogs with cancer is a diet low in carbohydrates/sugars, high in quality protein, and high in Essential Fatty Acids such as fish oil.  Additionally, fresh or lightly steamed vegetables are recommended because they contain so many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help the body defend itself against the cancer.

It is also important to reduce exposure to toxins after a cancer diagnosis, as these foreign chemicals put extra stress on the body and must be filtered out by the kidneys and liver, which are often already stressed out by chemotherapy drugs.  So, given this, the ideal cancer diet includes only organic products, right? 

Well, unfortunately, the cost of going completely organic can be extremely high.  When Georgia was sick, we did our best to go organic with all of her meats and veggies, and found that even by shopping at the local co-op, we were spending an additional $100 or more per month on her organic foods.  Added to the cost of medicines, supplements and cancer treatments, this can really add up!

So, what is a concerned pet parent to do?  Focus on those vegetables that are most likely to contain high concentrations of pesticides and ALWAYS go organic with these items.  For the rest, just concentrate on finding the best deal at the grocery store, and don’t worry if they aren’t organic. 

Below is a list from the September 2008 issue of ShopSmart, published by Consumer Reports, of the top eight vegetables to always buy organic:

– Green Beans
– Sweet Bell Peppers
– Celery
– Cucumbers
– Potatoes
– Tomatoes
– Peas
– Lettuce

For more information about canine cancer and cancer diets, visit

About Kerry Malak

I am a Bulldog mom, Reiki Master/Teacher, pet loss counselor and canine cancer advocate who loves working with people and animals to help them live longer, happier and healthier lives.
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