Can you add years to your dog’s life and reduce its lifetime risk of cancer?

My dog Otto is the love of my life. He’s only the second dog I’ve had, but the first one I’ve had since I became clean and sober. Which makes him, for all intents and purposes, my first dog because he’s the first dog I’ve incorporated totally into my life in a responsible, loving way.

I sometimes think (but I don’t dwell on it) how much different my life would have been if I had become clean and sober in my 20s and then gotten a dog. Because my dog now, Otto, has change my life in ways I could have never imagined.

But along with the total love I have for this animal comes the nagging concern about what I would do if he ever got sick. My social media feeds are filled with people who are grieving for lost pets, mostly due to cancer. Dog cancer is especially endemic because Americans feed their dogs high-calorie processed dog foods — which are often expensive, too.

So I watched this TedX video from research Rodney Habib with great interest. Because the research Habib highlights in his presentation suggests that for dogs, much like with humans, cutting calories and introducing fresh food into a processed food diet can increase a dog’s healthy life span and cut its risks for cancers.

When I first brought Otto home he would not eat dog food. Not wet food. Not dry food. Not even the most expensive dog foods. He wouldn’t touch them.

Desperate, I cooked up a batch of brown rice, chicken and mixed vegetables and added that to a dry dog food in which he’d shown at least a mild interest. He loved it. And I’ve made him this combination of dry and fresh food ever since.

So I was heartened to watch the video below which suggested from a large study out of Purdue that introducing even just some fresh food into a dog’s diet could cut that dog’s cancer risk by 90%.

One final note: I really want to believe all of this, so know that up front. That fact colors my choice to share this.

I did not do research looking into Habib’s claims about the studies he mentions. But I did look into Habib. He’s a very energetic and attractive “influencer” who seems to make a living off pet advice. That is not, in itself, bad. But it also makes his possible motivations for presenting his information worth keeping in mind.

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