Here are 5 ways to help prevent cancer in your pet

#1 – Choose your puppy/kitten wisely

There is nothing cuter than a puppy. Unfortunately, underneath all that cuteness lurks the potential for your bundle of joy to develop any number of diseases, including cancer, especially if your puppy/kitten is a purebred.

Breeding practices used by many purebred dog breeders in North America can be attributed, in part, to a number of serious health issues in pedigree dogs. And backyard breeders and puppy mills just add to the problem of unhealthy dogs.

With respect to cancer, these breeding practices have contributed to the number of breeds with a predisposition to different types of cancer. If you are searching for a purebred dog or cat, make sure you do some homework to find a reputable breeder and understand the potential health issues of your chosen breed.

If you are adopting a mixed breed dog or cat and know which breeds are in their DNA, then you can read up on the potential health issues for those breeds. This will help you take the best care possible of your puppy/kitten and address any potential health problems early.

#2 – Keep your pet’s weight under control

Obesity in dogs and cats, as in humans, has become epidemic. Obesity leads to a number of serious health issues including diabetes and heart disease and is one of the big reasons for the increase in cancer rates in dogs and cats.

Feeding low-quality pet food and treats and overfeeding are two of the biggest contributors to pet obesity. There are a number of healthy dry pet food choices on the market. Choose those that are grain-free, list named protein sources as the first ingredient(s) and contain no animal by-products, food additives or preservatives.

Another healthy option is feeding your pet a raw diet that includes quality protein sources such as chicken, beef and turkey as well as organ meats and bones. Choose raw food from a reputable manufacturer that pays attention to where the ingredients are sourced and has food safety protocols in place.

Don’t overfeed your pet! Lifestyle, activity level and age affect how much food your pet should receive. Remember that feeding recommendations on a bag of pet food are for the average pet. If your pet is overweight, feed less than the recommended amount and adjust from there. Also, offset the treats they receive during the day by reducing their daily recommended amount of food. It’s also a good idea to actually measure out the pet food to ensure your dog or cat is getting the proper portion.

#3 – Make sure your pet gets enough exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to combat obesity — a major contributor to cancer in our pets. Making sure your pets get enough exercise will help with everything from muscle tone to digestive health and behaviour problems.

Experts say your dog needs a minimum of 20 minutes of sustained, heart-pumping exercise, three times a week. Going for a walk is not enough. Some suggestions include power walking, running, hiking, playing fetch or Frisbee, swimming, getting out to the off-leash park or organized sports such as agility, flyball or dock diving.

It’s advised to check with your vet before you start a rigorous exercise routine to make sure your dog has no health issues that may be aggravated by exercise.

Cats need exercise too! Make a routine exercise with your cat everyday for 15 to 20 minutes. This can include playing with a laser pointer, a feathered wand toy, or even a ball.

#4 – Attend to your pet’s emotional well-being

Dogs and cats are supposed to have fun and stay active for life. While exercise provides an outlet for your pet’s energy and plays a huge roll in keeping them slim and trim, don’t forget about their emotional well-being. As pet Guardian it’s our responsibility to provide our pets with a safe, stress-free and loving environment and lots of mental stimulation.

Your pet needs to use their brain on a regular basis for optimum health. Just some of the ways in which you can provide them with adequate mental stimulation include using food puzzles or toys when feeding or giving treats; socializing your pet early and often; asking your dog to respond to commands before doing any activity; attend training classes; and taking your dog to daycare instead of leaving him alone.

#5 – Provide an eco-friendly home for your pet

Dogs and cats are very much like infants and young children — they have small bodies, are closer to the ground, tend to put things in their mouths and are usually more sensitive to toxins in the environment than adults. And, with their faster development and shorter lifespans, our pets can develop health problems much more rapidly from exposure to environmental toxins.

There are several ways you can help create an eco-friendly home for your pets and help lower their risk of developing cancer from toxins in the environment.

Choose household cleaning products that do not contain harmful chemicals that are known carcinogens, which cause cancer and/or promote the growth of cancer. Better yet make your own cleaning products from simple, non-toxic ingredients such as cider vinegar, baking soda and castile soap.

Use grooming products free of harmful ingredients and natural flea and tick protection. Keep your pet away from pesticides and herbicides outdoors. Choose safe toys for your pet, provide fresh, clean drinking water and don’t smoke around your pet whether that’s in your car or at home.