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Posted in Essential Oil Basics by Rocky Mountain Oils

Treating Dogs with Cancer

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.”

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

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.

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.

“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.