Most of us have experienced cancer in our lives, whether in ourselves, a friend, a family member, or a pet. I’ve lost two dogs to cancer during the past 20 years. The disease came on suddenly in both dogs, and one of them, Sage (our blind springer spaniel) died less than two weeks of the diagnosis.
Experts estimate nearly 12 million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer every year. Nearly 50 percent of pet disease-related deaths are due to cancer. According to PetPlan’s Guide to Pet Cancer website, one in four dogs will develop a tumor at some point in their lives,
Cats don’t seem to get cancer as often as dogs, but cats also mask pain and disease well, so it’s often more difficult to detect feline cancer by cat owners. Lumps and bumps are ways to notice potential cancer as well as vomiting and diarrhea. One of the most common cat cancers is lymphoma, which oftentimes shows few symptoms.
A seven-part docu-series is set to begin this week to help pet parents learn and understand more about this deadly disease. Starting Wednesday, April 4, you can watch the free series, which features 30 pet health experts. Ty Bollinger, the founder of The Truth About Cancer, has created this program, The Truth About Pet Cancer. Learn more and watch the documentary trailer here; you can also sign up to receive emails with links to the free seven-part series at this same website: https://thetruthaboutpetcancer.com/.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), nearly half of dogs over 10 years of age will develop cancer. Many different breeds are susceptible to cancer, including Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, basset hounds, boxers, and Boston terriers. Dogs suffer from many of the same cancers as humans, including prostrate, bladder, mouth, lymph nodes, and brain tumors. Some cancers develop in the nose, causing nose bleeds. A cocker spaniel I adopted in 1989 died ten years later, at age 12 ½ from cancer that began in his nasal cavity.
Although there is no sure-way to prevent cancer claiming our pets, there are some things we as pet parents can do to help off-set the chances of the disease. Here are a few ideas:
Cancer is a terrible disease, and though cures still allude scientists, doctors, and veterinarians, we can all do something to lessen this deadly pestilence in ourselves and our pets, that includes greater knowledge through the upcoming docu-series. Sign up here: https://thetruthaboutpetcancer.com/.
For many people, January brings thoughts of better health – new year, new you. We can also resolve to get (or keep) our pets healthier, even if we haven’t started yet. One of the easiest ways for people, and pets, to become (or stay) healthier is by walking.
January is Walk Your Pet Month. Here are five good reasons to walk your pet:
If your dog is one of those that doesn’t walk well on a leash, and therefore, you avoid walks with your canine friend, there are many avenues you can take to train him/her. One includes visiting PetCo or PetSmart and enrolling in a training program offered at the store or enrolling in a class offered by your local Kennel Club chapter. Another is to hire a trainer. Or, you can do it yourself by reviewing instructions on sites like YouTube. There are also many great articles online about training your dog, including ones by Cesar Milan and the American Kennel Club, which you’ll find below:
Dogs aren’t the only pets that can be trained to walk on a leash – ferrets can as well and so can cats. Both my mother and I have had cats that were leash-trained, and when I visited and volunteered at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah, I took one cat for a walk on a leash and took another for a stroll in a baby buggy. Walking on a harness and leash allows kitties to explore the outdoors and breath fresh air safely. Learn how to train your cat to walk well on a leash by visiting this Best Friends’ site: https://bestfriends.org/resources/walking-cat.
Even though winter is upon us, walking with your pet outdoors can still be done. See the infographic below, created by NorthStar VETS of New Jersey, on how to walk safely outdoors with your pet during the cold and snowy months.
Keep your New Year’s resolution to get and stay healthy – and resolve to keep your pet healthy, too, – by sharing quality walks with your furry friend.
My dog Mary turned 11 recently, and during the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a bit of a “hitch in her get-along.” She’s missed the bed at least twice when she’s attempted to jump up on it, and after a night of sleep, she’s appeared a bit stiff. What do dog owners do when their canine companions begin to experience stiffness, soreness, and arthritis?
I wrote a similar article regarding cats and arthritis last year. Unlike with cats, pet parents can usually tell when their dogs are experiencing trouble with joints. Cats can tolerate a great deal of pain without showing signs; that’s been the case with my two cats, who will be 12 years old in August. However, with my current dog, Mary, and dogs I’ve previously owned that turned 11, 12, or 13 years old, the stiffness and pain they experienced was evident: when they rose from sleeping on a dog bed (or in my bed), when they attempted to jump on furniture and either seemed hesitant or when they missed the mark, and as the temperature went down during winter months.
So, what can we as dog owners do to help our furry friends? There are many products on the market; here’s a short list:
A list of helpful products is available on the Drs. Foster & Smith website:
and also at PetCareRX:
DogsNaturally provided information on holistic treatment; read that article here:
Management of arthritis in dogs comes down to three primary things: slowing the progression of the dog's joint condition; improving your dog's comfort; and encouraging your dog to move with moderate activity like walks or swimming. Experts also recommend keeping your dog at a healthy weight, which includes feeding proper food and low-calorie treats as well as providing exercise.
Keeping our senior dogs comfortable and healthy is a significant part of our job as pet guardians. Help your dog age more gracefully and more healthy by alleviating its joint discomfort using some of the tips given – by doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy life together longer and with less pain.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.