When your pet has cancer, sometimes as a pet owner you will try to be helpful but accidentally do something that has negative consequences. Although our office does not treat cancer, our Long Island vets would like to discuss some of the things not to do when your cat or dog is battling cancer.
Don’t Start Feeding Your Pets Excessive Treats or Human Food
We know you want to give your pet treats to make them feel better when they are battling cancer. The problem is that when a pet is carrying extra weight it can cause other health issues. As long as your dog or cat is still fighting their cancer you need to keep your pet as healthy as possible which means a healthy diet.
There are also numerous gastrointestinal issues caused by feeding your pet treats that they aren’t supposed to be eating, like human food.
Sometimes cancer treatment can cause a lack of appetite which results in weight loss. If during your pet’s treatment, they are losing weight, talk to your vet about making adjustments to their diet. This will help balance healthy weight while considering how it will affect their treatment.
Talk to Your Vet Before Experimenting With Alternative Medicine During Your Pet’s Treatment
You want the best treatment for your pet but we will warn you that there are all sorts of suggested treatments online that are not always helpful. You might look up information about the type of cancer your pet has and it might recommend a diet full of X supplements or taking Y medication.
Please do not modify their diet without talking to your vet. We are not saying that the addition of a certain nutrient won't help your pet but it needs to be factored in with the current treatment. Your vet will be able to help review the information you have found and look at it with a critical eye to judge its merit.
If you see an alternative treatment for cancer in pets ask your vet about it. Your vet is a valuable resource on what is best practice in veterinary medicine and is better able to see if the treatment is proven safe for cats or dogs and more specifically if your pet's condition would be aided by it.
This is where we will add the warning that there are people who prey on the desperation of pet owners to help their pets and will advise false cures to make a profit. Your veterinarian can help weed out the profiteers from the actual helpful information to battle cancer.
We understand you want to help your pet so please take advantage of the years of medical knowledge your vet has.
Don’t Take Your Pet Out Socializing
While fighting cancer, especially while undergoing chemotherapy, your pet’s immune system is not at peak performance and a minor infection can become dangerous. This is why we recommend not taking your pet to places other four-legged friends congregate to avoid catching any illness from other dogs or cats. This means not taking them to the dog park, the groomer's, boarding facilities, or doggy daycare.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
You will have questions when your pet is diagnosed with cancer. Don't be afraid to ask any questions in your quest to help your four-legged companion. Seek out information and ask your vet any questions you have. Your vet wants to help you and will gladly impart as must knowledge as they can on the subject. Remember that there are no stupid questions when it comes to helping your pet.
Don’t be Alone
We know that finding out your pet has cancer hurts. This is going to be a hard time in your life, and you will need emotional support for this battle. There will be some people who will believe that euthanasia is the best option to avoid your pet feeling pain. Some people will tell you to fight no matter what because life is precious.
No one has the right to choose the best path for your pet’s healthcare other than you. Talk to your vet to develop treatment plans. Find people who will support your decision and help you through this difficult time.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please not that Atlantic Coast New York Veterinary Specialists does not provide care for pets with cancer.