Do vegan diets protect our dogs against cancer?

"I feed my own dog Jumble a plant-based diet as I believe that this diet will reduce his risk of cancer and help reduce climate change." - Prof Clare Knottenbelt...

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Do vegan diets protect our dogs against cancer?

We asked the top vet oncologist in the country Dr Clare Knottenbelt, owner of Labrador Jumble (who has had a mast cell tumour removed from his head) for her opinion on this. Here is her answer:

I feed my own dog Jumble a plant-based diet as I believe that this diet will reduce his risk of cancer and help reduce climate change.

In humans it is well recognised that meat consumption especially red meat and processed meat is associated with a higher instance of cancer.

Many of the anti- cancer nutrients are also plant products – I was amazed once I started to explore the contents of “anti- cancer” supplements for people and pets. There is so much information out there. Of course there is very little published evidence in pets as sadly few people consider feeding dogs plant based food.

There is no doubt that there is a genetic link to many types of tumours and Golden Retrievers for example are particularly problematic – particularly in the US where 40% get cancer.

However what is interesting is the way in which dogs are often used as models for human cancer in research trials for new treatments. In addition dogs and other animals can act as sentinels for environmental issues such as the case where sheep started getting asbestos associated mesotheliomas in Italy and soon so did the humans.

Our pets inhabit the same environments as us so they are exposed to the same carcinogens. We all know that obesity increases the risk if cancer in humans – it relates to there being a higher actual number of cells in the body and therefore a higher risk of the mutations that cause cancer occurring. If that is the case then there is no reason why this same link doesn’t occur in dogs.

Of course dogs don’t live as long as we do so they have less exposure to the risk factors we have but despite this they have the same incidence of cancer as humans (1 in 3 dogs and humans will develop cancer).

I do recommend a plant-based option for dogs as a natural plant-based diet contains more anti-cancer nutrients.  For example Lutein is known to promote inhibition of various types of cancer cells in humans and it only comes from plants.

Listen to Prof Clare Knottenbelt and Dr Arielle Griffiths in the video below discussing the concerns of bioaccumulation and its dangers in our dogs.


The very interesting article below shows the risks of cancer incidence in humans eating plant-based diets compared to non-vegetarian diets.

The conclusion states:

Results: A total of 2,939 incident cancer cases were identified. The multivariate HR of overall cancer risk among vegetarians compared with non-vegetarians was statistically significant for both genders combined. When analysing the association of specific vegetarian dietary patterns, vegan diets showed statistically significant protection for overall cancer incidence in both genders combined and for female-specific cancers.

Conclusion: Vegetarian diets seem to confer protection against cancer.
Impact: Vegan diet seems to confer lower risk for overall and female-specific cancer than other dietary patterns.
Read article about plant-based diets and cancer risk in humans

Read how The European Parliament Advocates Plant-Based Diet To Fight Cancer

Labrador Breta who survived cancer eating a vegan dog food diet of Solo Vegetal

Please read about Breta the 'Wonderdog' as vets have called her in the words of her Mum -

“The cancer was such a cruel blow, but I hope she will live for years and have all the love and happiness she deserves, along with scrumptious vegan food!”

Enrol in our Plant-Based Dog Nutrition Course WITH A BONUS SECTION ON CANCER IN DOGS with Prof Clare Knottenbelt

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