nutritional support for dogs with critical illness

Managing critical illness in dogs

There are many critical illnesses, from cancer to severe viral infections like Parvo diarrhoea. All of these require careful management with nutrition. Let's explore how to care for a dog with cancer as one example, and how — with the right care and nutrition — you can support your friend through their fight.

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What are the common risk factors for dogs?

Critical illnesses can affect dogs of any breed, age, or size. However, some common risk factors can increase the likelihood of a dog developing a disease such as cancer, including:


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Older dogs are more likely to develop cancer than younger dogs

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Certain breeds have a higher predisposition to certain types of cancer

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Certain chemicals and environmental pollutants can increase the risk of cancer in dogs

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Examples of cancers in dogs

Symptoms may be lumpy and obvious, but other types can be more difficult to identify.


A common and unfortunately deadly cancer often seen in the spleen

Mast cell tumor

Develops almost anywhere in the body but is often visible as a skin lesion


Aggressive skin disease that develops in the mouth, eyes or foot pads


Most common in the bones of large dogs

Nutritional support for restorative care

Maintaining a pet’s nutrition can be a big factor in the fight against illness. Your vet is the best resource for a recommendation, but the best foods typically support some key dietetic goals:

  • Encourage an enthusiastic appetite & food intake with tasty ingredients and easy-to-chew kibble
  • Help maintain muscle mass with highly digestible protein and an adequate amount of essential amino acids
  • Support healthy digestion with proven digestive support
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What options might be available for your dog with cancer?



Supportive Medication

Your veterinarian may prescribe medication to help your dog with related health issues, such as digestive care, pain management, etc.

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Depending on your veterinarian's recommendation, supportive medication, radiation, surgery, and other treatment for dogs may be considered.

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Love & Care

Whether it’s a road trip, a walk in the park or snuggling on the couch, your pet’s best friend in this fight is you.

Tips & resources for handling your dog's diagnosis

There are several ways your pet can still enjoy a happy and fulfilling life. Here are some ways you can help your pet and keep them comfortable.

Rally Support

You will need support from family, friends, and of course, your vet.

Do Your Research

Learn all you can about your dog's diagnosis so you can be an advocate for the best care.

Consult With an Expert

A vet that specializes in your dog’s disease can give the best care. Ask your vet for a referral to a local veterinary specialist.

Assess Your Dog's Quality of Life

If your dog's condition is critical, it can help to understand and assess their quality of life. Lap of Love has a quality-of-life assessment tool.

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Questions to ask your veterinary healthcare team

Here are some useful things to ask during your next vet visit:

  • What treatments are available?
  • What is the prognosis with each treatment?
  • What are the side effects of each treatment?
  • How will these treatments affect my dog’s quality of life?
  • ​​What can I feed my dog to provide the best nutritional support possible?

Contact your vet if you have any questions related to restorative care


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