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Diet for a Dog with Cancer

Diet for a Dog with Cancer | Dr. Sue Ettinger Deep Dive

Is there a perfect diet for a dog with cancer? Does diet even matter when it comes to cancer? Dr. Sue Ettinger, veterinary oncologist and co-author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, weighs in.

Episode Notes

Is there a perfect diet for a dog with cancer? Does diet even matter when it comes to cancer? Dr. Sue Ettinger, veterinary oncologist and co-author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, weighs in with her “judge-free” advice about diets for dogs with cancer. Hear what she thinks of the dog cancer diet, and her recommendations for those of us who maybe CAN’T do all the things we wish we could for our dogs. A must-listen Deep Dive episode with Dr. Sue Cancer Vet.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Show:

To get a free copy of The Dog Cancer Diet visit Maui Media’s online store:

If you want more than just the excerpt from the chapter on diet, get the entire book, packed with amazing information: the book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity.

Here’s a great article Dr. Sue Ettinger wrote on about diets and dogs with cancer.

And here are many more articles about diet on

To find a boarded veterinary nutritionist check the American College of Veterinary Nutrition website at is a great resource for developing balanced home recipes for your dog. Choose your ingredients and the nutritional program will tell you whether it’s possible to give your dog a balanced diet using your choices, or whether you need to make adjustments. Super handy!

Here’s the multivitamin discussed on the program:

About Today’s Guest, Dr. Sue Cancer Vet:

Dr. Sue Ettinger is a practicing veterinary cancer specialist, international speaker, book author, and YouTube vlogger (video blogger).  A dynamic and engaging speaker, she was voted the 2019 Western Veterinary Conference Small Animal Continuing Educator of the Year. She is one of approximately 450 board-certified specialists in medical oncology in North America and currently practices at Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Norwalk, Connecticut. She received her veterinary training at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her residency in medical oncology at the Animal Medical Center in NYC in 2003.

Also known as Dr Sue Cancer Vet®, she is most passionate about raising cancer awareness and has developed “See Something, Do Something, Why Wait? Aspirate.®” to promote early cancer detection and diagnosis.  She is a frequent contributor to Today’s Veterinary Practice, Today’s Veterinary Business, Clinician’s Brief, Veterinary Team Brief, & DVM360.

Dr Sue loves to use social media to help clients and veterinary professionals deal with cancer in pets, including Instagram, her YouTube channel, and her popular Facebook page with over 38,000 fans.

Follow Dr. Sue on the Socials: 

Follow Podcast Sponsor The Dog Cancer Survival Guide on the Socials: 

Dog Cancer Answers is a Maui Media production in association with Dog Podcast Network

This episode is sponsored by the best-selling animal health book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity by Dr. Demian Dressler and Dr. Susan Ettinger. Available everywhere fine books are sold.

Listen to podcast episode for a special discount code.

If you would like to ask a dog cancer related question for one of our expert veterinarians to answer on a future Q&A episode, call our Listener Line at 808-868-3200.

Have a guest you think would be great for our show? Contact our producers at

Have an inspiring True Tail about your own dog’s cancer journey you think would help other dog lovers? Share your true tail with our producers.


>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: We do know that certain foods could potentially have a preventative benefit for us and for our dogs.

>> Announcer: Welcome to Dog Cancer Answers, where we help you help your dog with cancer. Here’s your host, James Jacobson.

>> James Jacobson: Welcome to Dog Cancer Answers. What is the best diet for a dog with cancer? That’s probably the top question that we get here at Dog Cancer Answers, and it’s no wonder: what your dog eats is one of the few things that you can personally control when your dog has cancer.

People know instinctively that food can help, and so we always want to know, “what should my dog eat?”

Regular listeners already know that our podcast sponsor, The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, puts a big emphasis on diet. There’s a whole chapter dedicated to dietary guidelines with a mix and match recipe included, and that chapter is also in a free ebook called The Dog Cancer Diet, also written by Dr. Demian Dressler. The links to both of those are in the show notes for today’s episode.

When Dr. Dressler formulated his dietary recommendations years ago, he worked with veterinary nutritionists to make sure that it was nutritionally sound.

But what do oncologists think of changing the diet for dogs with cancer? Do they think it’s important for treatment, or do they feel like it’s really not doing much?

To explore that and more, we’re talking to Dr. Dressler’s co-author, Dr. Sue Ettinger, also known as Dr Sue Cancer Vet.

She is a veterinary oncologist out of New York, and she’s got some thoughts about diet and dog cancer that we hope you’ll find helpful.

Let’s listen to our Deep Dive conversation now.

Dr. Sue, thanks for being with us today. I’m so glad to have you.

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: I’m always happy to be here.

>> James Jacobson: I wanted to explore the role of diet when you are treating a dog with cancer. Now, I know that over the years, the whole thinking about dog cancer diet has evolved, and your thoughts about it have evolved, uh, tell us about that.

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: So, it’s always a hot topic question and always a controversial question, for sure. Probably one of the ones I get every time I do a live Q & A — I think there’s two things that people want to know.

They want to know: did the diet cause cancer? And: what diet should they put their dog on?

And I’m always really honest.

I don’t think the diet caused their pet’s cancer, but I do think that there are healthy foods that we can put our pets on, and we do know that certain foods could potentially have a preventative benefit for us and for our dogs.

I wish I could say I knew what the magic diet that our pets should be on once they have cancer. I don’t know what that is, but I do have some thoughts on things that we can do for our pets.

>> James Jacobson: Well, in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide there is this rather elaborate diet. What are your thoughts on that?

>>Dr. Sue Ettinger: I think it’s a great diet.

I have many clients who come to see me that have bought the book and do it, and I tell them, I did have one of my colleagues who I’m still good friends with — a nutritionist — run it through his program to make sure that he thought it was nutritionally sound and he did, which was good.

>> James Jacobson: So basically you double-checked Dr. Dressler’s diet, and your results matched his results: that the diet is good, as long as you add a multivitamin if you’re exclusively doing a home cooked diet?

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: Just as you guys recommended in the book, when you initially developed the diet, they need to be on a vitamin. There’s now some pet vitamins for dogs, which I’ve sort of shifted to recommending over the years that had been developed.

So, instead of just using human multivitamin, there are some pet vitamins for dogs, which you can use when you’re doing a home cooked diet. So I do recommend that.

>> James Jacobson: I’ve had my dogs on EverPup and a mostly homecooked diet since 2010 and they’re still mistaken for puppies — so you like that diet?

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: I do like the diet. The thing I always tell clients — Jim? — I can’t home cook for myself every day, but — this is a judge-free zone, right?

>> James Jacobson: Absolutely. No, there’s no judging.

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: I’m a working mom.

>> James Jacobson: Right.

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: I work, you know, multiple jobs between like my clinics, and Dr. Sue, and all this stuff that I do. I have a husband, I have two kids, and I have two dogs, so I am not home cooking for myself, and my boys and my dogs every day. So I am never going to impose that on my clients.

If they want to home cook, I will give them my blessing to use the dog cancer diet. You know, rock on and do a multivitamin. That is great, but I do not tell them that they have to do that. You know, it’s already overwhelming enough when your pet has cancer.

So I want to give them, just like with chemotherapy protocols, I want to give you options.

If you don’t want to home cook, there are other things that we can do so you feel comfortable with the diet that your pet is on.

>> James Jacobson: This is a good place to pause for a break, Dr. Sue, but when we come back, I would love to hear your thoughts on what you can do for your dog’s diet if you don’t use the homecooked dog cancer diet that’s in the book. More with Dr. Sue right after this…

Today’s episode of Dog Cancer Answers is brought to you by the best-selling animal health book, The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity, by Dr. Demian Dressler and Dr. Susan Ettinger (who is our guest today). And in a minute I will tell you how to get the book at a discount.

In addition to the dog cancer diet that we’re discussing today, the book covers so many important things.

Everything that you need to know about conventional veterinary treatments, which are chemotherapy and surgery and radiation, including how to reduce their side effects. The most effective non-conventional options, including botanical nutraceuticals, supplements, nutrition, and mind-body medicine, as well as how to analyze the options and develop a specific plan for your own dog based on your dog’s type of cancer and your dog’s age, and your financial budget– and your time constraints as well as your personality.

Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger create a real “judge-free” zone in the book. You’ll love how they offer you options and empower you to make your own decisions for your own dog.

The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is available wherever fine books are sold — both online and in physical bookstores. It’s a 500-page book that has been described as the bible of dog cancer.

Hey-podcast listener: I’ve got a coupon code for you if you’d like to help support this podcast. Get The Dog Cancer Survival Guide right away direct from the publisher. It’s available in paperback, and there is free shipping to any address in the U.S. There is also an e-book edition that you can get for under $10.

The website to get either the paperback or the ebook (or both–and I know some dog lovers who do get both) is:

And you will save 10%… if you use the promo code “podcast” when you check out, you’ll save 10%. The website again: Use the promo code “podcast” for 10% off. That is

>> James Jacobson: OK, we’re back. So, Dr. Sue, what are some things that you can do for your dog if you’re not following the home cooked dog cancer diet in the book?

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: So I think we want to critically evaluate the diets that we’re on, right? So I think minimally-processed is always a good thing, just as for me and you.

So, looking at the different diets that you’re on, and then adding fresh vegetables I think is great. So, you know, the problem with a lot of veterinary studies is their focus may be on one cancer.

>> James Jacobson: That’s interesting. Say more about that.

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: So there was a study that looked at bladder cancer and Scotties, because the Scottish Terriers are super high risk for bladder cancer, and they looked at the ones that got more vegetables and the dogs that got more vegetables, specifically carrots, had less bladder cancer.

So I think that’s a good example. Whether that completely translates to all the dogs it’s hard to say, but I think we know, right, that in people, if you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, that that’s to benefit.

We know that people who don’t eat fresh fruits and vegetables have higher cancer risk, so I always tell people, like, add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your pet’s diet is a simple thing that you could do.

>> James Jacobson: Do you like certain vegetables over others?

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: Throw them some carrots three times a week. Throw them a variety of vegetables, just know the ones, you know — obviously onions, the things that you should avoid, raisins and grapes and things like that. But I think that if you can supplement your dog’s diet with fresh vegetables, fresh meats, and things like that, I think that that’s going to be helpful as you’re adding it to their diet.

>> James Jacobson: Right.

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: And then the other thing that I always tell people — if you decide to home cook for your pet — is that you can’t just go into your kitchen and start, you know, doing a little chicken and a little of this.

You have to get it double-checked by a nutritionist, or use some of the different resources online, like or things like that.

So you can’t just home cook and expect it to be nutritionally balanced for your dog in the long term. You definitely want to get it double-checked by somebody who is boarded in nutrition.

>> James Jacobson: Okay, we’ll be sure to put those resources for listeners in the show notes. Dr. Sue, thanks for being with us today.

>> Dr. Sue Ettinger: Thank you so much.

>> James Jacobson: I want to thank Dr. Sue Ettinger for the Deep Dive into diets for dog cancer. I hope you got her core message, which is that we should be in a judge-free zone when it comes to food. We know that fresh fruits and veggies are protective and helpful, but we can’t all be perfect, especially with the stress of everyday life, and the uber-stress of dealing with dog cancer itself.

So–Whether you do the home-cooked diet, or you need to supplement your dog’s diet with more fresh veggies, there are things that you can do at home, at your dog’s next meal, that can support the body and boost your pup’s overall health.

We’ve put links to articles Dr. Sue wrote for DogCancerBlog in the shownotes, as well as links to the American College of Veterinary Nutritionists website. Definitely check the show notes for this episode, which are in your podcast app or on

If you’re enjoying Dog Cancer Answers, the best way that you can support this free podcast for dog lovers facing dog cancer is to subscribe– in Apple Podcasts or the app of your choice. And tell a friend — or even your own veterinarian and the vet techs at the practice — about this show. The more ratings, reviews, listens, and subscriptions that we get, the higher that we ranked, and the more likely other people are to find us just when they really need us.

And hey, if your veterinarian is like our other veterinary guests — non-judgmental and open-minded about treating dog cancer — tell them to reach out to one of our producers, and perhaps they could be a guest on a future episode of Dog Cancer Answers.


Those touch tones are a reminder that Dog Cancer Answers is here to answer your questions…

And one of our dog cancer veterinarians could answer your question on a future episode of the show. To submit your question, please call our Listener Line and record your question. The telephone number to do that is 808-868-3200 or visit our website at

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That’s the website where you can also listen to or download our back catalog of episodes. It’s the best way to get the information that you need to help optimize your dog’s life quality and longevity, and in a moment I will tell you about our next deep dive episode about CBD oil but first…

We’d like to take a moment to thank our sponsor: The Dog Cancer Survival Guide book by Dr. Demian Dressler and Sue Ettinger. The book is available wherever fine books are sold both online and in physical bookstores. And remember, if you’d like to help support this podcast, get the book today– direct from the publisher. The website is: and use the promo code “podcast” for 10% off. That is

Coming up on the next Deep Dive episode of Dog Cancer Answers, we are talking about CBD oil. You’ll hear a lot of interesting information in that episode, including the why behind why your veterinarian might not be willing to talk to you about it for your dog. Dr Demian Dressler will be our guest.

And the best way to make sure that you get it as soon as the episode is released is to subscribe to Dog Cancer Answers in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app. We are also on Spotify and YouTube.

I’d like to thank Dr. Sue Ettinger for being our guest today. You can reach her at her website at

Until next time, I am James Jacobson. From all of us here at Dog Cancer Answers & Dog Podcast Network, I wish you and your dog a warm Aloha.

>> Announcer: Thank you for listening to Dog Cancer Answers. If you’d like to connect, please visit our website at or call our Listener Line at 808-868-3200.

And here’s a friendly reminder that you probably already know: this podcast is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It’s not meant to take the place of the advice you receive from your dog’s veterinarian. Only veterinarians who examine your dog can give you veterinary advice or diagnose your dog’s medical condition. Your reliance on the information you hear on this podcast is solely at your own risk. If your dog has a specific health problem, contact your veterinarian.
Also, please keep in mind that veterinary information can change rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.
Dog Cancer Answers is a presentation of Maui Media in association with Dog Podcast Network.

Dr. Sue Ettinger

DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology)

New York, USA

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Dr. Sue Ettinger is a practicing veterinary cancer specialist, international speaker, book author, and vlogger. She is also co-author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide and a passionate advocate of early cancer detection and raising cancer awareness.