The facts are shocking - over 50% of dogs above the age of 2 will be diagnosed with cancer.
My dog was one of these statistics. He died from cancer on the day I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
Since losing Henry Clay to cancer and starting 4-Legger, I've joined a number of Facebook groups that focus on dog keto diets, holistic health for dogs, turmeric for dog cancer, CBD for dog cancer, and more.
It is absolutely heart breaking to read the daily posts.
So many people, every day whose dogs are diagnosed with cancer and they would do anything to get them healthy again. If you have more than one dog, it is truly staggering to realize that one or more of YOUR dogs will be affected by this horrible disease. It is no longer something that happens to other people’s dogs.
It is past time to shift the statistics!
We know cancer is looming for 50% of our dogs but there is a positive side to this statistic. Do you know that only 5% of canine cancer is genetic? This is good news because it means we absolutely can prevent most cancer from ever impacting our dog's lives! What is the other 95% that is the cause of cancer? Environmental toxins, most of which we can control or at least limit the exposures our dogs come in contact with simply by making more informed and conscious decisions to do so.
If a runaway car was coming at your dog wouldn't you get them out of harm’s way before it hit them? Of course you would!
We MUST focus our attention on cancer prevention.
We can prevent 95% of cancers from ever impacting our dogs.
What is Cancer?
Cancer occurs when the body's immune system can't stop cells from abnormally growing. All cells have a built in death process called apoptosis. When this process is turned off the cell will continue to grow. The rate of growth is controlled by a number of factors including hormone levels, amount of available sugar, toxins in the environment, the health of the immune system, and more.
Shockingly, only 5% of cancers are caused by genetics. Read that again. Only 5% of cancer is caused by factors we cannot control!
Approximately 1/3 of cancers are skin tumors and up to 20% of these are mast cell tumors.
About 50% of the mast cell tumors are found on the skin, spleen, liver, and in bone marrow. Another 40% are on the limbs - usually the hind limbs. The remaining 10% are on the head or neck.
Approximately 11% of tumors will occur in more than one location.
How Can We Prevent Cancer in Dogs?
In 2016 we wrote an article - 10 Simple Steps You Can Take to Lower Your Dog's Risk of Cancer.
Everything in that article is still relevant today and I encourage you to read it.
Today I want to focus on just 1 thing: Your dog's shampoo.
At dog conferences there is a LOT of focus on food. I get it, feeding a species appropriate diet that is low in carbohydrates is important. I feed my own dogs a raw diet now that in know it is so much healthier for them.
What is also important is your dog's shampoo.
When I ask people what shampoo they are using on their dogs or in their grooming salons, everyone says, "The dog shampoo we use is all natural and organic".
I then ask the brand name and which shampoo they are purchasing.
I'll pull out my iPad and show them the list of ingredients listed on the manufacturer's website and then show them what that means for the health of the dogs (and the people who bathe them) by looking up the ingredients in our dog shampoo ingredient database.
While not every ingredient is cause for alarm, many are.
Lauramide MEA has links to organ system toxicity.
Cocoamidopropyl betaine may contain contaminants that are links to cancer.
Polyquaternium 7 has links to organ system toxicity.
Phenoxyethanol may cause skin irritation or allergies in some dogs and it may have links to organ system toxicity.
Fragrance is a "catch all" for added scent that generally means it has a lot of ingredients linked to allergies and immune issues. Most have links to organ system toxicity and are not friendly to the planet (ecotoxicology).
DMDM Hydantoin is a slow releasing formaldehyde preservative that has links to cancer and organ system toxicity.
Truth in Advertising
Most of the dog shampoos on the market that advertise as being all natural and organic, in fact are not. In a study we did, we found that only 2% of the dog shampoos on the market that claimed to be organic and all natural really were! This, in a multi-billion dollar industry - so that it should be crystal clear that those manufacturers ARE taking advantage of loopholes and lack of awareness about these toxins on their labels and in their marketing.
There is no way to sugar coat it. These companies are trying to get you to buy their product by using the buzz words "natural" and "organic".
One look at the ingredients and you see they aren't all natural and they certainly aren't organic.
4-Legger's dog shampoo IS organic.
All of our products are third party verified by the USDA's National Organic Program. Every ingredient must be reviewed to ensure it is all natural.
Our products aren't like other dog shampoo on the market.
Our’s are all 100% safe and non-toxic.
Yes, they are thinner in consistency - that is because we don't add toxic ingredients that make our product thicker.
This is a good thing! If you are willing to change your expectations of what you think shampoo should be like, and replace it with what shampoo ought to be like, you will be placing the priority of your dog’s longterm health foremost in the decision process.
Here are some characteristics of what true, organic shampoo is like:
It’s concentrated so you only need a very small amount of shampoo with lots of water to get a fantastic lather that cleans and then rinses easily.
If you want our shampoo to be less thin, by all means use one of our foamer bottles. The pump will infuse air into the shampoo changing the consistency to something closer to shaving cream.
Believe it or not, the consistency of organic shampoo is the biggest objection people have to switching from their non-organic shampoo (using ingredients that ARE linked to health risks) to a much safer and healthier choice like 4-Legger. Seriously?? Think about that for a minute. Isn’t your dog’s longterm health more important than how thick their shampoo is?
Changing your dog’s shampoo is a simple choice. When you choose 4-Legger Certified Organic Shampoo, you will be taking control over many of the environmental toxins that you are allowing your dog to be exposed to. Consider it a choice of prevention because one thing is true: as pet owner’s we will pay for prevention beforehand or we will pay for treatment after cancer is diagnosed. Having been through cancer treatment with my own dog, I can assure you treatment is much more expensive. Our dogs deserve better and we can give them healthier lives just by knowing how to remove environmental and cancer-causing toxins from their lives.
It is time to give our dogs a long happy life!