Cancer in Dogs – The Man Made Killer

A Mummified Dog
A Mummified Dog

From all the seminars and speeches I deliver throughout the US (and internationally), this is probably the most requested information… Cancer is the number one killer of dogs today!

One day, I was watching a show on one of those scientific channels, and though I don’t watch a lot of TV, this program was extremely interesting. It was on finding cancer in mummies. The scientists had found the second oldest case of prostate cancer in a 2250 year old Egyptian mummy.

There is a new study in the International Journal of Paleopathology, which suggests that earlier investigators may have underestimated the prevalence of cancer in ancient populations because high resolution computerized tomography (CT) scanners capable of finding tumors measuring just 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter only became available in 2005. “I think earlier researchers probably missed a lot without this technology,” says team leader Carlos Prates, a radiologist in private practice at Imagens Médicas Integradas in Lisbon.

Albert Zink, a biological anthropologist at the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, affirms that ancient civilizations were no strangers to carcinogens. My brain then clicked: I wonder if there was cancer in dog mummies? The very next day I started calling every University that was cited on that TV show. To my surprise, I wasn’t the only one to inquire about it. Wynne Parry, senior writer for LiveScience Magazine, had already written about it on the publication’s March 30th, 2011 edition. There are more than 8 miilion dog mummies that have already been found, and NO CASES of cancer!

What a revelation! There isn’t anything written about canine cancer in the antiquities. The mummification process should, and would have preserved any tumors, as they did in human mummies. The first cases of canine cancer weren’t related until post WW2.

What changed? What flicked the cancer interrupter to the “on” position? The only great change in dog’s lives the the past 100 years was FOOD.

Well into the 1940’s, dogs were fed mostly raw diets, or were left to hunt for their food. Kibble as we know it today was invented during the great depression. People that used to give table scraps to their dogs could no longer afford to do so, let alone feed the dogs raw meat. A cornmeal manufacturer noticed that stray dogs were eating the byproduct that they threw away, which gave them a “great” idea. Those were tough days, and I can’t blame them, but we just don’t have the same excuse today.

What is cancer and how does it develop?

Cancer will develop (in humans and dogs alike) for a few reasons.

Bad Genes: Although genes are a factor in cancer risk, it is not genes that dictate health but rather the expression of them, and that depends on what genes are “turned on and off” with diet, lifestyle and emotional state.

Oxidation: Oxidation of cells can happen due to free radicals. Free radicals are simple molecules with an electron missing. In an effort to become ‘whole’ again they seek out other chemical structures in our bodies from which they can steal an electron. After they ‘acquire’ an electron the chemical structure/tissue from where they ‘stole’ that electron is left seriously damaged!


After being “robbed” of an electron, oxidised cells run around like headless chickens bumping into other cells, and stealing from others. That cell is now considered cancerous. The cancerous cell doesn’t stop multiplying, always missing that electron, causing the imperfect masses, until it’s destroyed by chemotherapy or similar treatments.

Can that be prevented? The use of ANTIOXIDANTS in the diet may prevent cancer! In simple terms they voluntarily give one of their electrons to a free radical molecule! Antioxidants can do this without hurting themselves. It is nature’s way of keeping the oxidation process in check. Oxidation is a critical tool for nature. If it did not occur then nothing would degrade or decompose.

Causes of Oxidation in Dogs

  • Poor Diet
  • Pollution
  • Second hand Smoke!!
  • Stress
  • Injury
  • Infection

I get asked all the time what in a dogs diet can cause oxydation. Here is a list of the most common oxidation villains in dog food:

  • Sodium Pentobarbital (SPB) found in some cheaper dog foods, this is the same chemical used to euthanize animals. It is present because the meat in the food they use is processed meat which is made from dead animals or euthanized animals.
  • Ethoxyguin (EQ) a common preservative to help the dog food have a longer shelf life. This chemical is not allowed in human food, care to guess why? The chemicals and preservatives in commercial dog food is not fit for consumption.

If you think about all the common illnesses and problems dogs have, you realize that they are common symptoms that humans have when we are poisoned by chemicals:

  • Fluorone dyes, based on fluorone
  • Diarylmethane dyes, based on diphenyl methane
  • Rhodamine dyes, derivatives of rhodamine
  • Diazonium dyes, based on diazonium salts


Dyes have no nutritional value, and are only added to dog food to please the human eye! BHA is known to cause cancer in humans. BHA is toxic to the liver and kidneys. It may react with other ingested substances to cause the formation of other carcinogens. BHA is banned in England and many other European countries. It can easily be avoided and the only reason to use it is to cheapen the preservatives in dog food.

Try to feed your dogs low glycemic foods, with many antioxidants. An antioxidant supplement is also highly recommended. For more recommendations, you can contact me at

Don’t forget, all of this applies to human food as well, so start looking at your food labels, you won’t be able to take care of your dog if you are sick yourself!

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    • Emily D.
    • November 22, 2013

    Though I can’t bring myself to feed my dogs raw meat, I do give them real hormone-free chicken and beef. I just have to cook it. My last dog (100 pound shepherd) lived to be 17 and my current one (his mate) is approaching 16 and still acts like a puppy.

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