Treating Dogs with Cancer

Purebred dog

It is a painful truth that our beloved canine companions fall prey to many of the same diseases as we, and that includes cancer.  The statistics reveal that cancer is the leading cause of death among older cats and dogs, accounting for approximately 50% of deaths a year.

According to the Texas A&M Veterinary School,

“Dogs have 35 times as much skin cancer as do humans, 4 times as many breast tumors, 8 times as much bone cancer, and twice as high an incidence of leukemia.  The only types of cancer that are more frequently seen in humans than in small animals are not surprising:  lung cancer is 7 times higher in humans, and stomach/intestinal malignancies are 13 times more frequent in man than in dogs and cats.  It is clear that the higher incidence of lung cancer in man is due to the human habit of smoking—but the cause of the higher incidence of gastrointestinal malignancies in man is not so clear.”

According to, “There are about 64 million pet dogs in the U.S. today and the experts predict that half of them will have some type of cancer in their lifetimes… eighty percent of dogs over the age of 10 will die from cancer…According to that same site, “Precaution = prevention.  Naturally, prevention is preferable to treatment!  The chemicals used in many lawn care products are cited as a leading cause of lymphoma in dogs.  Failure to spay or neuter leads to mammary and testicular cancers in dogs and cats.  Over vaccination and exposure to the sun may cause many cutaneous cancers, including mast cell cancers as well as some sarcomas and carcinomas.  Diet and genetic predisposition are also factors.”

dog organs

Figure 1. From

Purebreds are especially vulnerable, as can be seen in the following chart from


Susceptible breeds

From we learn the following:  “The most prevalent tumor location in dogs is the skin with 20 – 30% of these being malignant. Mast cell tumors, Histiocytomas, Squamous Cell Carcinomas and Melanomas are the most common.

shaggy dog

Figure 2.  From

Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor of dogs.  Size rather than breed is considered more of a risk factor.   However, there is a genetic predisposition in St. Bernards, Great Danes, Irish Setters, Dobermans, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers.


bone tumor

Figure 3.  From

“Gender also plays a role.  The most common tumor type in the female is a mammary gland tumor.  In an intact male it would be the testicular tumor (neutering a male dog will eliminate the cancer risk).  But there does not appear to be a breed predisposition to mammary gland tumors.

Lymphoma, a tumor arising from the hematopoietic tissue, is becoming more prevalent in certain breeds and at a younger age.”

Once diagnosed, your veterinarian will discuss with you the various options for fighting this insidious disease.  Be sure to review every facet of your dog’s health and well-being, including its diet, water supply, and treats.  After all, just as “we are what we eat,” so are they.  Thus, consider exchanging all grocery store-bought foods for organic and specialized blends available from “boutique” pet stores.  Switch to spring water rather than refilling the water bowl from the tap.  Investigate alternative approaches in conjunction with your vet’s treatments, approaches such as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal remedies, and Reiki and Healing Touch for Animals.  Try rotating your dog through these approaches; keep the cancer “guessing” and off guard because a treatment might work for a while, then need to be adjusted or changed.  Just know that whatever your choice of remedies, therapeutic-grade essential oils can help.

This disease is more than a physical manifestation.  So you’ll want to use oils for the animal’s emotional stability as well as yours.  Consider using Lavender or Grounding on a regular basis on you and your dog.  These oils soothe, relax, cleanse, and strengthen the aura (the energy field surrounding the body).  We have a blend called Angel that is also a wonderfully aromatic blend for you both to boost the spirit and encourage “extra assistance” in this time of need.

Consider placing 3 to 5 drops of one of these oils in the palm of your hand, stirring it with your other hand to activate the oil, letting your dog sniff your hands, then petting and stroking your dog.  Those gentle, loving strokes will convey your love and intention for healing as the oil is transferred to the hair follicles, where they’ll readily be absorbed.  Then rub your temples, clothing, or arms.  You can also diffuse them throughout the house.

Running springer spaniel

Essential oil treatments

Along with any treatments your dog is receiving, consider your own “blitzkrieg,” or aggressive assault on your dog’s health.  Use Lemongrass daily on your dog’s chakras (major energy centers on the body) or the pads of its feet.

In addition, consider mixing up an essential oil “cocktail” to apply on the dog’s spine consistently in a regimen that can be anywhere from twice a week to twice daily depending upon the severity of your dog’s illness (see below for specific instructions).  For such a formulation, consider mixing from the following list of oils, keeping in mind that you’ll want to rotate through the list perhaps every two weeks to keep the cancer from acclimating to your treatment:

  • Aligning
  • Sacred Frankincense
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Cypress
  • Peppermint
  • Marjoram
  • Black Cumin
  • Copaiba Balsam

Select perhaps 6 oils from among the list and do the following:

  1. Create your remedy by placing 6 to 8 drops each from several (not all) of the above-listed oils in a clean, empty essential oil bottle.
  2. Then add a carrier oil such as Fractionated Coconut oil (F.C.O.)  or Jojoba to fill the bottle.  You can use olive or canola instead if you prefer.
  3. Put the reducer back in place so that you can control the number of drops dispensed.
  4. Shake this concoction well before each use.
  5. Hold the bottle about 3-4 inches above the dog’s back and let one drop fall at each of about 3 to 6 locations that are evenly spaced from tail to base of the neck, depending on the size of the dog (do not use the roll-ons).
  6. Then massage the dog’s back from tail to neck, rubbing the oil in well.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 from 3 to 6 times every time you use this technique, again depending on the size and health of the dog.
  8. Alternate the spots along the back where you place the drops.
  9. Repeat the application process as needed, anywhere from twice weekly to twice daily, depending upon the dog’s health and situation.  The more aggressive the cancer, the more frequently you might try this approach (i.e., twice daily).

10. About every two weeks, adjust the mixture by using different oils from the above list.

11. Continue this regimen as needed.  As the dog’s health improves, you can adjust the applications, eventually reaching every other week.

Above all, fill your heart with love and healing intentions as you interact with your beloved companion.  Let it know that you are working in tandem with other caregivers to dispose of the ailment and restore it to health.  Ask your dog to assist in the process, to focus on healing and well being.  And remind your precious friend constantly how much impact that precious creature has had on your life!


Author: Nancy Sheheen, certified practitioner in Healing Touch for Animals.

30 thoughts on “Treating Dogs with Cancer

  1. Gloria Marshall

    Hi. I have a standard poodle and she has a cyst or tumor in one of her mammary glands. Is it safe to apply frankincense or scared frankincense directly on the cyst? Will it shrink?

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi Gloria, you should be able to apply it to directly to the cyst, as long as it’s diluted and you make sure your dog is comfortable with the scent and it being applied. Some owners have seen success with it shrinking, but there’s no guarantee. Hope that helps!

    2. Kay

      I have a Yorkie/chihuahua mixed who has mammary cancer and has a open tuner wound in her nipple. Wondering if frankincense would be ok to put directly on the sight. How much and how often

      1. Rocky Mountain Oils

        Kay, while we are not medical professionals or veterinarians and cannot diagnose, many of our customers have talked about success with Sacred Frankincense directly on the site. Dilute the oil (1/2 tsp of carrier oil for 4-8 drops of essential oil) and apply to the area. Make sure you introduce the oil to the dog first by letting her smell it. And just be sure to rotate the oil every two weeks with another oil, such as Black Cumin or Clove Bud, so the oil stays effective. Wishing you the best!

  2. C. Alexnder

    Great article but I disagree only with the comment of Texas A&M Veterinary School. It is amazing to me that they could not figure out why the gastro-intestinal cancer in dogs is non-existing compared to humans. Dogs intestines are suitable to expel toxicity of meat rather quickly (very short and smooth intestine), while human intestines, and all the digestive system, are not designed for meat eating (20 feet of no smooth intestines at all). This design is seen in all vegetarian animals since fruits veggies and nuts take longer to digest. Add meats to them and you have 3 days of waste toxicity in the colon that permeates intestinal walls and go to the blood stream. But I know I will not convince anyone, people are set in their ways even if they kill them. Not even sufficient concern to do research in this regard. MD’s and vets do not put together the clear evidence of physiology and illness; they only know about drugs.

    1. Lisa

      C. Alexnder, you are so right on!!! Thank you for this definition. I know this and try to get others to understand that our human bodies are not set up to be carnivores but no one believes me and just say… then where do you get your protein … AArrgg. I appreciate your comment!!

  3. Thomas D Sanchez

    Hello, I have been doing research on essential oils and I came across your page. I have a 12 year old Lab with a brain tumor. I am not sure if it is cancerous or not, and I do not want to put him through a bioptsy or chemo/radiation. I have read that Scared Frankincense has been know to eliminate tumors as well as another oil (forgive the spelling) Copia or something along those lines. Do you have any advise of acquiring, administering these oils to help with the brain tumor?

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Thomas, while there is no guarantee that Frankincense can eliminate tumors, we have also heard of people having success with Frankincense. The other oil would be Copaiba. You could try diluting the oil down (1/2 tsp of carrier oil for 4-8 drops of essential oil) and apply a couple times a day to his head. Just be sure if you’re applying the same oil every day to rotate to a different oil after about two weeks, so that the skin doesn’t become sensitized and that the oil remains effective. Wishing you the best!

      1. Thomas

        How many drops of the mixtures do I apply at one time? Or do I apply the whole mixture twice a day?


        1. Rocky Mountain Oils

          The whole mixture would be 4-8 drops of oil (with 1/2 tsp of carrier oil, such as Fractionated Coconut Oil), so you can apply all of that. And twice a day should be fine.

  4. Joey

    Hi Nancy, my dog is a Cocker Spaniel and pom mix. She was healthy until last September and had mammy tumor . Vet did surgery and after a month some other tumours developed in the abdomen. Vet said no more surgery and no chemo. I am desperate and watching the tumours growing. I just came across an article that someone used frankincense, helichrysum, grapefruit and lavender on the tumour and it disappeared in 3 weeks. Could you tell me how to mix these oils to put on the tumour? Appreciate very much for your kind feedback.

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi, Joey. Without knowing how much of the oils they used, it’s difficult to replicate the recipe you found. However, you could try mixing 2 drops of each oil with 1/2 teaspoon of carrier oil and rubbing into the tumor. Good luck!

  5. Diane R.S.

    Help! My pet is a 11year old Labrador mix (chow). He has been diagnosed with lung & thyroid cancer. Is it to late to do anything for him? Chemo & radiation is not an option. Please help me find a recipe of oils for him. Any feed back will be appreciated.

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Diane, while we are not medical professionals or veterinarians and cannot diagnose, many of our customers have talked about success with Sacred Frankincense. You can apply according to the instructions above, or you can try diluting down (1/2 tsp of carrier oil for 4-8 drops of essential oil) and apply to the chest and neck. Just be sure to rotate the oil every two weeks with another oil, such as Black Cumin or Clove Bud, so the oil stays effective. Wishing you the best!

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      It’s possible that putting oil on the nose may just irritate the dog, but you can see if your dog is comfortable with the smell by introducing it to them first. Frankincense Somalia is the best for skin issues.

  6. kevin

    Our dog just got diagnosed 2 days ago with leukemia in his blood. We were told w/ chemo at best he has maybe 9-12 months, with steroids 3-4 months, and nothing 3-4 weeks. This is very depressing to us, but I we were wondering if the oils would really do anything at this point? It doesn’t sound like there is much we can do to save his life at this point, but I’m wondering if there is something that would perhaps soothe him or his breathing or pain? I don’t even know if these oils work that way or not. Biggest thing is I just don’t want a run around regarding the reality of if these things will help him. If they will really help we would be highly interested, but if not just let us know. Thank you.

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi Kevin, sorry to hear. There are oils that can help with all of the issues you mentioned. For soothing, Lavender, Calming, or Trauma-Gone may help. For breathing, Breathe Ease or Respiratory Ease would be best. And for pain, True Blue, Relieve Me, or Pain Ease may help. Also be sure to introduce the oil to your dog to make sure they are okay with the scent. Dilute with carrier oil, such as Fractionated Coconut Oil, 1/2 tsp of carrier oil for 4-8 drops of oil. Rub along the spine and chest. Hope they help ease his pain a little.

  7. Susan

    My dog was just diagnosed with mast cell cancer. We have nothing to loose and everything to gain so could you please give me some direction as how to proceed? Thank you

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Susan, sorry to hear. We would suggest following the instructions above for applying essential oils on your dog. Sacred Frankincense is one of the most popular to use. Good luck!

  8. carrie rizzo

    Hello, My dog willy is a shepard mix approx 35 pounds. He had a mass cell removed from his face, and then it spread to his lymph nodes. Its stage 3. What mixture of oils and how many times and day and where can I apply to shrink this tumor in his lymph nodes?? Thank you so much!!!

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi Carrie, sorry to hear that! While we are not medical professionals, we have heard that Sacred Frankincense and Black Cumin have helped some of our customers and their dogs. It’s best to use one oil and then alternate it after using for two weeks. Dilute the oil before applying (1/2 tsp of carrier oil with 4-8 drops) and apply to the lymph nodes. Hope it helps!

  9. Heidi

    Hi, my dog was diagnosed about a month ago with mast cell cancer. He had the majority of the mass removed 3 weeks ago, but some cancer still lingers in his body. We are looking into chemo as an option, will visit a vet oncologist next week. We have suffered greatly financially as a result of all of the tests, antibiotics and surgery costs. I’m interested in using essential oils, even the pricey frankincense is still a huge reduction compared to vet costs…any tips on how to proceed? My dog is about 45 lbs.

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi Heidi, sorry to hear that. We’d suggest alternating between Sacred Frankincense and Black Cumin and follow the instructions above in the article to apply.

  10. Melissa

    Hi – My baby, Darla, is a 4 and 1/2 pound Imperial Shih Tzu. She has squamous cell carcinoma on her upper gum in the right side of her mouth. The doctors are trying to decide between surgery and radiation. They were leaning toward surgery, but her blood pressure dropped when she was sedated for the CT scan, and she would be sedated much longer for surgery. So I’m worried to death and terrified for my baby. They might opt for radiation instead of surgery, but I want to help it to be GONE out of her. PLEASE tell me what you recommend I do for her. And is it safe with one so tiny? She’s 10 years old, non-symptomatic, otherwise doing great.

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi Melissa, since she is so small, if you do apply essential oils, you’d want to dilute down. About 6-8 drops of FCO (fractionated coconut oil) for every drop of essential oil (no more than 5 drops). Since the mouth is so sensitive, we wouldn’t recommend applying inside her mouth. You could try applying on the outside skin, approximately around where the cell on the gum is, and along her spine. However, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian about what is best for the dog.

  11. Margaret

    Hi I have a 10 year old mastiff with mass cell cancer on her hind leg I believe she had most of it removed but some left behind due to may cause nerve damage. well its grown back now her leg is swelled up..I just had some blood and xrays done yesterday I do not want to put her down she is on chemo tabs..I guess they are not working for her :( so I need something else that can help her please any suggestions would be appreciated she can not walk very well..shes 90 lbs she eating and drinking just fine..

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi Margaret, sorry to hear that! While we are not medical professionals, we have heard that Sacred Frankincense and Black Cumin have helped some of our customers and their dogs. It’s best to use one oil and then alternate it after using for two weeks. Dilute the oil before applying (1/2 tsp of carrier oil with 4-8 drops) and apply to the her leg. Hope it helps!


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