Study provides evidence that supplements may help prevent cancer in your dog

Life is not all about humans and therefore it is great to see progress in research in health supporting supplementation for mankind’s best friend, dogs!

The researchers noted that similarly to humans also dogs suffer from cancer. In fact it appears that more than half of dogs over 10 years of age are likely to develop cancer. Complicating matters, while human therapies are often highly subsidized, the cost of treating animals and pets generally falls wholly on the owners and runs quickly into the thousands of USDs. The researchers hypothesized that a possible alternative may be to use nontoxic, low cost, natural and synthetic substances or their mixtures to intervene during the relatively early stages of carcinogenesis. Since carcinogenesis is regarded as a multistep process (e.g., initiation, promotion, progression), in principle, blocking or inhibiting any of these stages could help to prevent or delay tumorigenesis. This hypotheses is supported by research indicating that reduced risk of cancer is associated with consumption of vegetables and fruits, and that many agents with possible cancer chemopreventive potential are naturally occurring phytochemicals. The cause of cancer, as well as most age-related diseases, is complex, but it is generally agreed that one factor is oxidative stress. The aim of this study was to assess whether intake of some common dietary chemopreventive agents could affect DNA damage and the expression of genes related to oxidative stress.

The researchers used lymphocyte canine DNA as a surrogate target to evaluate oxidative stress ex vivo (before and after analyses comparison). As described in the literature, this procedure has been used for assessing both the carcinogenic and anti-carcinogenic potential of test substances and, although lymphocytes are used for the observation, it is expected that other cell-types susceptible to carcinogenic developments may react similarly.

The researchers prepared biscuit containing five known natural product chemopreventive agents: resveratrol, ellagic acid, curcumin, genistein and quercetin. They choose these based on literature indicating potential positive benefits. Over a period of three weeks, the diets of the dogs were supplemented with two biscuits treats containing the supplements, one biscuit by mouth twice daily approximately 12 hours apart each day.

They found that as a result of the supplementation H2O2-inducible DNA damage was significantly decreased. The expression of 11 of 84 genes related to oxidative stress was altered. Hematological parameters remained in the reference range. This indicates that the concept of chemoprevention for the explicit benefit of dogs may be feasible and may improve the health and well-being of “man’s best friend”.

For those considering this treatment for aging dogs the paper describes well how the biscuits were prepared:
“For the formulation of dog biscuits, the base mix contained wheat flour (0.62 kg), corn meal (0.17 kg), eight beef bouillon cubes (4.136 g each), and water (225 ml). Dry ingredients were weighed out and added to a planetary mixer and mixed for three minutes. Water was added dropwise over 75 seconds. The mixture was then baked for 60 min at 60 °C yielding a total batch weight of 0.716 kg………..As a result, the following cancer preventive agents were included in the mixture (mg per one biscuit): resveratrol, 250; ellagic acid, 63; genistein, 125; curcumin, 250; quercetin, 250”

With dogs being big and small you may want to fine tune those amounts. Feel free to post in the comments section your calculations for different dog sizes. I will be happy to try to help. This also suggests that other supplements found to be good for humans (and some discussed in this site) may in fact help dogs too e.g. Honokiol and Fisetin.

Finally my own take, what works for dogs likely works for humans so overall this research work adds to evidence that supplementation is a possible avenue to maintain and improve health for both animals and humans.

You can find the study here.

13 thoughts on “Study provides evidence that supplements may help prevent cancer in your dog

  • Pingback: Good article.

  • June 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    I just lost my golden retreiver to Hemagiosarcoma – do you have any research on this cancer, supplements, genetics etc?

    • June 27, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Hello, I am very sorry for your loss, cancer is a really unfair disease.

      This seems to be a difficult form of cancer. However it does appear that there are similarities between human form of hemangiosarcoma (HSA) and canine form as well as hemangiomas (HA) in humans. So while this is all somewhat a stretch it suggest research done for human HSA & HA and may apply to canine HSA.

      This study for example found that:
      In vivo, honokiol was highly effective against angiosarcoma in nude mice.

      There are more references to Honokiol being active in this area. It is also reported that Honokiol potentiates some cancer treatments, so adding honokiol to dog nutrition would make sense.

      If I run into more relevant research I will add that later here.

      • July 13, 2016 at 10:21 pm

        Hello and thank you for the reply. Who did the study that stated evidence shows supplements may help prevent cancer in dogs I would like to find out further information on the study and the authors. I have a huge interest in this subject and doing a masters degree on this and a related topic. It is fascinating to me. Please send contact information to Thank you for any help you can provide or people/research/programs on this topic. Mary

  • July 3, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    My poodle has melanoma! First time they removed it, now he is doing chemo. It has returned what do u think about giving him ginger and calcium, garlic mixture. Will this help him!

    • July 3, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Hello, I am sorry to hear that it has returned. I did some searches:

      – Garlic, there are some studies indicating that garlic-derived allyl sulfides possess an anticancer effect in several organs, including the skin. I didnt find any in vivo studies, at least not recent ones. So it looks that it may do some good but very hard to judge.

      – Ginger, here I did find an in-vivo study in mice that demonstrated Ginger slows tumor growth. In the study the ginger was injected so cannot calculate dose. But feeding ginger or ginger supplements is likely positive

      – Calcium, I did not find a relation to melanoma development. Why do you think it may help?


      – Honokiol has demonstrated in several in vitro studies effectiveness against melanoma cell lines. Here a more recent one:
      As it is showing effect against various cancers in vivo I would certainly give that. In this study it showed effectiveness in mice that were fed with 100mg/kg twice a week. That translates into 15mg/kg of bodyweight for a dog. If your poodle weighs 20kg then the dose is 20 x 15 = 300mg. Honokiol appears safe so you could consider giving it daily. Of course it is always wise to talk with the vet

      – Curcumin has also been reported to inhibit melanoma cell growth via dietary consumption.In the study above they used 0.5gram / day for a dog. I have seen however much higher dosing used for effects so probably you would need to feed 1g/day or so. It has been advised to pair curcumin with black pepper to increase bioavialbility. But I can see that that is not realistic for feeding a dog. So you possibly go for a couple grams of curcumin.

      – Fisetin, several in vitro studies showing effectiveness in slowing melanoma. In this study mice were fed with two dose levels. The most effective was 50mg / kg which means about 150mg for a 20kg dog.

      – Caffeic Acid is also mentioned as potentially effective.

      Hope some of this helps. If it does it would be great to share it so other dog owners can help their dogs. If there are any readers out there with experience kindly share too.

  • September 25, 2016 at 7:22 am

    As a long time dog owner, I have unfortunately run across cancer in a number of mine over the years. Initially I used conventional methods, but chemotherapy was a;ways very hard on them, as it is for humans, so I worked out an excellent proticol that has really worked on my last 2 dogs, which by the way are still with me. In addition to conventional surgery and radiation when needed, I have replaced conventional chemo with my own natural “chemo”. The dosing depends on size, but the ingredients are artesunate, sodium selenite, vitamin K3 and Vitamin E succinate. If you run a search on each of these compounds you will find they have excellent anti cancer benefits and can induce apoptosis in most every cancer line in vivo. Together they pack quite a punch without making the dog sick, other than some minor GI issues which are easily handled. I would be more than happy to help out anyone that is interested in using this protocol. So far I have used it in breast cancer, osteosarcoma and oral squamous cell. Hope this helps someone.

    • September 26, 2016 at 10:15 am

      Hello Liz, thank you for sharing and great that your dogs are managing. Doing a quick read up I understand that Artesunate activates mitochondrial apoptosis by iron catalyzed lysosomal reactive oxygen species production. In other words, this drug will use the iron within the cancer cells against them. Compared to normal cells it seems that cancer cells absorb iron at high levels I am guessing that is the reason Artesunate acts on cancer cells and not normal cells. I could imagine it works the same way humans. Also a good reminder that Selenium is important.

    • April 27, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Liz,

      My dog has recurrent B cell lymphoma after having receiving conventional chemotherapy 8 months. She went into remission with therapy, had some neuropathy and I certainly would not put her through second line chemotherapy. Can you specify in more detail the regimen you used e.g. was there a particular commercial source for the herbs; dose etc? Thank you

  • March 30, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Lost one Husky to Hemoangiosarcoma, and other to liver cancer. We have two of their off spring who are getting up there in age and I’m keen to start making these biscuits… however the instructions are kind of vague.. They don’t say how many biscuits a batch makes. They use a press on the actives, then mixed them together..? How much of each would one put into batch, are the biscuits cooked with the actives in them (I assume not… seems that cooking them would alter them) etc… all this information is missing… all we have is how much active each biscuit will have. I guess I’ll just add up the amount of active for X amount of doses and build a biscuit around that.

  • March 31, 2018 at 4:04 am

    The text as it stands does not contain a recipe. Where does the reversatrol, quercetin etc come from? Please complete the information.

    • May 13, 2018 at 12:33 am

      The recipe is somewhat given in the actual article:

      The problem is they don’t tell you how much of each supplement was added in total, only how much was in each biscuit. They give you all the numbers, so it should be possible figure out the totals for a big batch, but they’re also using equipment not typically available to most people (Carver press, etc.) so I’ve just been compressing my own tablets based on how much a ‘dose’ is right now.


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