Canine Cancer: Raw vs Kibble Part 1


by Nick Thompson

The UK Kennel Club states on its website that ‘approximately 50% of deaths are cancer-related’. Most dogs eat tinned or dry kibbled food. Contrast this with the six thousand dog, 20-year, observational study of raw fed dogs by Thomas Sandberg in the USA. He claims that the death toll from cancer is, in these raw fed dogs, unbelievably, around three per cent.

In the USA over 1.66 million humans (approx. 500/100 000 population rate) and over 4.2 million dogs (approx. 5300/100 000 population rate) are diagnosed with cancer (Schiffman & Breen, 2014). This means that our dogs are over ten times more likely to get cancer than us.

How can this be possible? In these three articles, we investigate why dogs die more than three times more frequently of cancer than humans die of smoking

What is so toxic in their world? More toxic than smoking?

The answer is all around us and our dogs… and within us. Dr Jean Dodds, in her book Nutrigenomics, states ‘that only 5% to 10% of all cancer cases originate from our genes. Everything else is the result of lifestyle and environmental factors, such as exposure to pollution, toxins, obesity, lack of physical activity, infection, stress and diet. These factors create ‘epigenetic’ changes. Epigenetic molecules turn off genes that suppress tumours and turn on cancer genes (Broad Institute, 2013). Many studies show that certain nutritional ingredients have epigenetic targets in cancer cells. These ingredients can defend against the development of many types of cancerous tumours or impact their progression. Astoundingly, scientists have concluded that 30% to 40% of all cancers can be prevented simply by implementing dietary changes (Anand et al., 2008; Divisi et al., 2006; Donaldson, 2004; Hardy & Tollefsbol, 2011; Ziech et al., 2010)’.

We have no direct control of our genes, but we can influence their expression, as Jean Dodds describes. You can reduce exposure to pollution by changing your household cleaning products and being careful where the dog swims, for example. Lack of physical activity is, possibly, one of the most straightforward factors to improve. Many of us would if we knew just how important it is to defend against cancer. Infection we all work hard to avoid, but beyond a wholesome routine and reasonable hygiene, we cannot eliminate it. Similarly, everyone is aware of stress and does their best to chill, but it’s usually easier said than done for our dogs and us.

Obesity and diet, on the other hand, are almost entirely in our control. And as the five scientific papers suggest, changing diet can make a massive difference in preventing cancers in the first place!

There are two primary routes for feeding your dog. The most common, the methods we’ve been using for the last 30 years is kibbled dried food. The Americans invented it in the 50s due to post-war rationing of metal and meat – tricky if you’re in the canned meat for dogs business! The result was ultra-processed dry food made with the cheapest of unwanted meats and lots and lots of low-cost grain. Result!

The fabled American housewife loved it for its convenience and lack of mess. Dogs? Well, they just got on with it because they were hungry and this was all that was going.

The other alternative is straightforward; you feed dogs as they have eaten before the industrialisation of food. You feed them what they have evolved to eat over millions of years and hundreds of thousands of generations. It is that simple; feed fresh raw food.

Read on…

In Part 2, we discover why it is that dry kibble can catapult dogs up the statistical tables to be over three times more likely to die than smokers. Then read our final instalment, Part 3, to learn how raw is protective against cancer, not just because it offers an alternative to the biscuits of death, but because it allows the body to perform in every way, including fighting cancer optimally.

Nick Thompson

BSc (Hons) Path Sci., BVM&S, VetMFHom, MRCVS. Founding President of the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society. Petplan Vet of the Year Nominee 2009, 2015, 2017, 2018 & 2020. The practice of the Year Nominee 2018.


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