Guest Contributor— Answers Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Knueven, veteran among veterinarians, examines raw nutrition as a healing power of pets and works to ensure an all-encompassing true health (physical, mental and spiritual) regimen in veterinary medicine for animals. Apart of his work with Answers Executive Veterinary Program, he’s a consultant for Answers product and program development, lecturer, and participant on panel discussions.
The Answer to Cancer is Answers
Cancer is the number one natural cause of death in dogs and cats in the U.S. One third of all dogs and cats will develop cancer in their lifetimes.1 One study2 found that 45% of dogs 10 years of age or older died of cancer. As is true for people, very few cancers in pets are driven by genetics. In fact, cancer is a disease of lifestyle. The biggest cancer-promoting lifestyle factor for pets is diet. And the absolute best treatment for cancer is to avoid it all together. Answers raw pet foods are the answer to cancer.
Part of the problem with commercial pet foods is that the high-heat processing used in making them causes the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called heterocyclic amines. A study3 of this process found that 24 out of 25 commercial pet foods contain these carcinogens. The researchers concluded, “From these findings it is hypothesized that there is a connection between dietary heterocyclic amines and cancer in animals consuming these foods.”
In one more study4 they did hair analyses of dogs and found that 14 out of 16 healthy dogs consuming different brands of commercial pet food had the heterocyclic amine PhIP in their systems. These researchers concluded, “A potential role for PhIP in the etiology of canine cancer should be considered.” Basically, all these researchers are saying that if you want to know why we’re seeing so much cancer in pets, look no farther than the foods we are feeding them.
Another cancer-promoting aspect of conventional pet diets is that most are loaded with starch. Starch is found in grains, but grain-free foods also almost always have starch-rich ingredients like potato, tapioca, and pea starch. Starch is readily broken down to sugar in the digestive tracts of dogs and cats, and sugar feeds cancer.5,6 (I’ll have more to say about the role of low-starch, ketogenic diets for pet cancer treatment in a future post).
The reason for starchy ingredients in pet foods has nothing to do with any supposed health benefits. There are two explanations for pet foods being loaded with starch.
- Starch is a cheap source of calories – everyone likes inexpensive pet food.
- They can’t easily make kibble without starch to glue the nuggets together – everyone likes the convenience of dry pet food.
Cost and convenience – that’s why pet foods have way too much starch onboard.
In processed pet foods we have the perfect vehicle for cancer in dogs and cats. There are the carcinogens to spark the cancer process and starch to act as fuel for the fire.
The integrative, holistic way to prevent and fight cancer is to make the body’s biology inhospitable to cancer. Providing a raw diet not only avoids the carcinogenic heterocyclic amines, it also provides whole-food nutrients – the anti-cancer phytonutrients that get destroyed by high-heat processing. Feeding a low-starch diet like Answers helps to starve cancer cells of their preferred fuel, sugar. The unique fermentation process used to enhance Answers foods further provides probiotic bacteria for a healthy immune system that can better fight cancer.
In my opinion, which is informed by over 30 years of pet vet medical practice, Answers foods are the number one way to keep your pet from becoming a cancer statistic. Avoid the pet cancer epidemic – feed Answers!
- Pang LY, Argyle DJ. Veterinary oncology: biology, big data and precision medicine. Vet J.2016;213:38–45.
- Bronson RT. Variation in age at death of dogs of different sexes and breeds. Am. J. Vet. Res.1982;43(11):2057–59.
- Mark G. Knize MG, Salmon CP, Felton JS. Mutagenic activity and heterocyclic amine carcinogens in commercial pet foods. Mutation Research. 2003;539:195–201.
- Gu D, Neuman ZL, Jaime F. Modiano JF, Turesky RJ. Biomonitoring the Cooked Meat Carcinogen 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazol[4,5-b]pyridine in Canine Fur. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2012; 60:9371−9375.
- Allen et al, Ketogenic diets as an adjuvant cancer therapy: History and potential mechanism. Redox Biology. 2014;2:963-970.
- Klement et al, Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer? Nutrition and Metabolism. 2011; 8:75.