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J Small Anim Pract. 2016 Sep;57(9):484-90. doi: 10.1111/jsap.12526. Epub 2016 Jun 30.

Owners' attitudes and practices regarding nutrition of dogs diagnosed with cancer presenting at a referral oncology service in Ontario, Canada.

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Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G4V2, Canada.
Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer, Ontario Veterinary College, Health Sciences Centre, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G4V2, Canada.
Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G4V2, Canada.



To investigate owner attitudes and dietary practices following cancer diagnosis in a dog.


A retrospective cross-sectional survey of 75 dog owners presenting with their dogs to a tertiary referral oncology service through a demographic questionnaire and in-person or telephone interviews regarding the dog's nutrition.


Conventional diets (71%) were most commonly fed as a single diet to canine cancer patients followed by homemade cooked (7%) and homemade raw (4%). Several owners (18%) provided combinations of these diets. Owners reported some distrust towards conventional diets (51%). Appetite loss occurred in 35% of dogs and diet changes reported for 25% of dogs in the study involved exclusion of a conventional (63%) and/or inclusion of a homemade (54%) component. 90% of owners noted the diet change was associated with the cancer diagnosis. Supplements were given by 39% of owners. 85% of owners highly valued veterinary nutritional advice.


Following a cancer diagnosis, dog owners appear to change their approach to managing their dog's nutrition. Given the value owners place on veterinary nutritional advice, veterinarians have a key role in guiding nutritional management of the canine cancer patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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