There is no question that when a dog is diagnosed with cancer, the owners go through a range of emotions. Shock, sadness, confusion, and worry are all common reactions. It can be challenging to know what to do when your beloved dog faces a life-threatening illness. While you should always consult with your veterinarian about medical options, some homeopathic methods may help combat cancer and support your dog during this difficult time. Let's examine 5 homeopathic treatments for supporting your dog with cancer.

A white dog waits for natural cancer treatment.

What is homeopathy, and how does it differ from traditional treatment?

The side effects of cancer treatments can be devastating for both dog owners and their fur baby. Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery might destroy the tumor, but it also causes damage to surrounding cells. The effects of that damage may lead to additional drug therapies and more pain and discomfort for your pup. Traditional oncological medicine generally leads to temporary remission.

The gentle, naturopathic approach of homeopathy offers an alternative to the usual allopathic cancer treatments. It restores general wellbeing while resolving or decreasing the illness and eventually restores good health once more in many cases. When a canine patient has cancer, the homeopathic approach views the patient as one disease. The totality of their symptoms, emotional, mental, and physical, defines that individual patient's condition. Unlike conventional cancer treatments that focus on tumor growth, homeopathic remedies aim to treat the entire canine body and mind in unique ways to the individual dog's medical condition.

Homeopathy is not a newfangled, new-age medical approach for cancer and other illnesses. In the early 19th century, a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann founded the Western idea of homeopathic medicine during his assessment of himself and his patients. This natural and alternative approach directly responded to the unethical and often uneducated frauds who preyed upon gullible and desperate people by offering fake medicinal remedies.

A spaniel lies down near some essential oils.

Does homeopathy work for dogs?

Homeopathy can be defined as an ancient system of medicine that works to balance the body's energy. Homeopaths believe there is a special force within all living beings, known as the Vital Force, which gives life its power and healing ability. A disruption in this field creates an imbalance, leading to symptoms associated with the disease.

Homeopathic treatment involves natural medicine treatment to help canines overcome various medical issues, including cancer in dogs. Symptoms are the body's way of telling you that something is wrong. Homeopathic medicine treats these signs with mineral, animal, and plant sources. The remedy may be singular or combined with other sources, depending on the dog, the illness, and the canine body's response to the treatment. Conventional treatments rely on traditional drugs; a homeopathic vet works with what nature has already provided to support the dog's own healing ability with homeopathy.

The most difficult part about homeopathy is finding and selecting the best remedy. Thousands of homeopathic potencies and dilutions have faithfully documented specific effects on dogs and other pets. However, finding this medication relies heavily upon careful analysis for all symptoms, including physical ones such as diarrhea or emotional ones like changes in behavior. Your dog's age is also considered in the treatment of cancers.

Homeopathy is not without controversy. Some scientists and veterinarians state that there is no definitive proof that a homeopathic approach will help an ill dog improve and heal. Other physicians and pet parents argue otherwise, with many case examples available as anecdotal support. Much of the debate comes from conventional medicine and its fundamental scientific concepts that do not align with homeopathic dilutions and treatment. Always speak with your vet and a homeopathic veterinarian to assess your dog's condition and which method --- traditional or homeopathic --- is in the best interest of her whole body. Homeopathy is generally safe, but too much or an incorrect dosage could cause further health problems in a canine patient. Never attempt to give your dog homeopathic treatments independently without the consent and guidance of a certified veterinarian.

A shepherd takes CBD oil.

Homeopathic treatment for dogs with cancer

1. Nutrition

You may be wondering what role, if any, nutrition plays in the treatment of canine cancer. Cancer patients need to eat well and maintain their muscle mass while minimizing metabolic issues caused by dietary restrictions and effects such as nausea or vomiting from chemotherapies. A poor diet can make it harder for the patient to fight off infection due to their decreased ability to operate efficiently. Without enough energy intake from an appropriate diet, the body has a weaker immune response.

The best foods for dogs with cancer include fruits and vegetables, such as kale, sweet potatoes (well-cooked), carrots, broccoli, peaches, watermelon, and apples. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, including slowing down the growth of cancer cells. Just be sure to give your pup ripe, seedless tomatoes only. If your puppy is not into eating fruits and vegetables directly, consider nutritional supplements which offer the same benefits as these foods.

2. Herbal treatment

Cancer is a complex disease to combat, but certain medicinal herbs may help. The use of herbal treatment (phytotherapy) for dogs with canine tremors and other illnesses has been shown in some studies to reduce pain levels while also increasing appetite by aiding digestion or improving blood flow through the body's systems. This treatment option may alleviate stress caused by chemo agents, which produce nausea.

Two critical herbal treatments are curcumin (found in turmeric) and Boswellia serrata. The golden spice turmeric is not just for taste. This ancient medicine has been used to treat inflammation and heal wounds since 5,000 years ago. Curminin is an anti-inflammatory, and it can kill cancer cells. It's also claimed to identify early cancer cell development, preventing them from spreading throughout your dog's body.

Boswellia serrata is a tree found in India. Its resin is credited with anti-inflammatory properties that are powerful against cancer. It's also studied for its effectiveness against brain tumors because the potent resin it produces has neuroprotective effects. Sometimes, homeopathic treatment includes mixtures of both curcumin and Boswellia serrata.

A long haired Chihuahua sits near her herbal medicines.

3. Chinese medicine and acupuncture

Traditional Chinese medicine has been around for more than 3000 years. It is based on the circulation of energies (Qi) in one's body. Acupuncture, which was created due to this technique, helps restore or maintain health naturally by using herbs and medicinal substances. They work with vital energy to improve aspects of your dog's bodily wellbeing.

Acupuncture is an ancient therapy that has been used for over 4,000 years. It involves the placement of fine needles at specific points along these meridians to unblock energy flow and thus restore balance or overall wellbeing to the patient. The use of acupuncture for tumors has been documented by several sources. The National Cancer Institute advocates this practice and points out that it can control pain, relieve nausea, weight loss, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety, and depression, amongst other ailments. In addition, an NIH Consensus Statement on Acupuncture highlighted its efficacy against chemotherapy-related symptoms such as those experienced during treatment courses with synthetic drugs or radiation therapy.

Acupuncture can benefit any canine suffering from cancer. Still, great care must be taken to keep needles away from tumor locations to prevent the uncontrolled growth of cancer cells. Therefore, using a veterinary acupuncturist who is certified in the technique is a must. Informing your dog's oncologist about using acupuncture as part of his treatment plan is also necessary for your dog's overall healthy life.

4. Medicinal mushrooms

Since ancient times, medicinal mushroom therapy has been used as medicine because people realized how therapeutic their effects were on physical ailments, such as arthritis and mental conditions like depression. But what about when it comes to fighting various types of canine cancers? As with humans, mushrooms can also benefit dogs as alternative medicinal oncological treatments.

Here are some of the most commonly used cancer-fighting medicinal mushrooms:

  • Agaricus Blazei, also called the almond mushroom, originated in Brazil and is helpful for its anti-tumor properties and effectiveness in fighting cancer.
  • Chaga mushroom is a powerful fungus that can control inflammation and swelling and boost the immune system. It has been used for centuries to fight cancer (and other diseases) because it is antiviral, anti-tumor, and an antioxidant. Chaga mushrooms also protect the liver from damage caused by toxins.
  • Cordyceps mushroom is a common ingredient in Chinese medicine. It's used to treat cancer of the bladder, bronchi, and kidneys, amongst others; it can also help with leukemia and lymphoma.
  • Hericium, better known as lion's mane, is a rare mushroom that grows on maple, beech, and oak trees. This mushroom has been shown to have the potential for anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties, which aid in treating cancer.
  • For centuries, Maitake mushrooms have been used to support human and canine patients with generalized bone cancer or who receive chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • Shiitake mushroom is delicious and nutritious food that can help prevent certain cancers. It contains antioxidants, antifungals, antivirals, as well anti-tumor properties. This medicinal mushroom slows down the growth of tumor cells and may help prevent cancer development.
  • Coriolus Versicolor is a type of fungi that feeds on dead wood and can be found worldwide. This fungus can be used as a weapon against cancer because it stimulates the immune system and has been reported effective in fighting certain types of tumors. Scientists have found this mushroom to inhibit cancer cell growth by stopping its progression during early stages.
  • Reishi mushrooms may be effective in fighting cancer and reducing certain tumors. Still, that theory is based on limited evidence and research. There are concerns about this mushroom's potentially toxic effects, making this an alternative option that is not appropriate for all dogs with cancer. Speak with a traditional vet or one certified in veterinary homeopathy to determine if a natural approach with reishi mushrooms is right for your pup.

5. Herbs and oils

Cannabis oil (CBD) is a safe and effective method for both treating cancer and preventing it. A recent study found that patients who used cannabis had lower malignant tumors rates than those who did not. Anecdotal evidence given by pup parents suggests that CBD oil also lessens the number and severity of cancer-related seizures. It reduces inflammation and pain, encourages better sleep, helps reduce nausea and stimulate appetite, and may strengthen the body's immunity.

Hemp seed is related to cannabis oil as they both come from the same plant, the cannabis Sativa. The hemp seed oil contains a healthy balance of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which can reduce chronic inflammation and support the body's immunity. Additionally, hemp seed oils have been shown to prevent cancer growth in the brain, lungs, breasts, and mammary tumors.

A sick dog lies on the floor, comforted by her owner.

Is homeopathy right for your dog?

The best person to determine whether homeopathic treatment is a viable plan for your dog is a vet or a homeopathic veterinarian. They will examine your pup and her medical records and discuss your dog's symptoms with you. Then, they will determine whether natural healing mechanisms will be effective in your dog's fight against cancer.

It's important to acknowledge that natural medicine is in no way a cure for cancer but simply a way to fight it and restore your pup's quality of life. That said, homeopathy may be a viable form of supplemental care that may help dogs with these cancers:

  • skin cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • testicular cancer
  • bladder cancer
  • mast cell tumor
  • neurological signs associated with brain cancer
  • malignant melanoma.

Don't fight your dog's cancer alone: pet insurance can help.

Whether conventional or natural, cancer therapies for dogs are costly to pet parents. Many pet owners feel forced to choose between giving their pup cancer treatment or paying their household bills. A pet insurance plan can help you avoid that scenario. Dog insurance providers know all too well how many pet parents will have to address cancer in their canines. Studies show that 1 in 4 dogs will develop cancer, and 50% of all pups over age 10 will also face this disease. That's why so many providers include conventional treatment coverage and alternative therapies, such as homeopathic medicine, in their insurance policies. Providers that do not have the coverage in regular plans often offer it as a separate rider at an additional cost.

Pet Insurance Review is here for you and your pup, even through the most challenging times. Let us help you find the best pet insurance policy for your dog before she develops cancer. Protect your pup's future and get a free quote today.

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