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Mast Cell Tumor: Dogs Diet and Nutrition Guide

July 15th, 2020

If your best friend has been diagnosed with mast cell tumors for dogs, it's time to put your research glasses on and find out as much information as you can on the condition. That, however, is not all. Once you learn what it is and how it will affect both your lives, you have to go further and learn about mast cell tumor dog's diet because proper nutrition goes a long way in helping your dog fight the symptoms as well as improve his/her quality of life.

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What is Mast Cell Tumor in Dogs?


MCT or mast cell tumor is a form of cancer for dogs and cats. This kind of tumor has mast cells, which are white blood cells that are found in connective tissue like the respiratory system, intestinal tract, and the skin. Ironically, mast cells are a part of your dog's immune system and go a long way in helping to protect him/her against common parasitic invasion.


Typical mast cells have chemical compounds such as heparin and histamine. These compounds are often released during an allergic or inflammatory reaction. For the most part, mast cell tumors are a form of skin cancer in dogs, but they can metastasize to other places such as lymph nodes as well as other organs.


What are Mast Cell Tumor Symptoms in Dogs?

As the most common type of skin cancer found in canines, mast cell tumors can affect dogs of any breed. However, this type of canine cancer is most common in the following popular breeds:

The most insidious side of this disease is that it often appears as nothing more than just a mere skin bump or tag and, therefore, can quite easily be overlooked. Canine mast cell tumors tend to be malignant, although some are benign. Since they are so easily overlooked, your dog might have them on him/her for a very long time before you seek the intervention of a vet. The best way to get a handle on this disease is to be on the lookout for the following common symptoms: inflammatory skin lesions and unusual skin growths that look like bumps or lumps.

The disease is most commonly found on limbs, in the spleen, bone marrow, and between the toes. There are a few other common telltale signs such as skin rashes, digestive problems, and what you could generally assume to be allergic reactions. That is because when mast cells release the chemicals they contain within them to the surrounding tissues, there are side effects that mimic allergies. This is particularly true when the chemical released is histamine.

The moment you see a combination of what looks like unusual skin lesions and allergic reactions in your dog, you should seek the attention of a veterinarian immediately. Unfortunately, the only way to diagnose mast cell tumors is through a biopsy and a pathology report.

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Mast Cell Tumor Dog's Diet


While there is no singular source of mast cell tumors in dogs, the fact is that in many of these cases, the mast cells release large amounts of histamine into the dog's body, thus causing itching and irritation. As such, one of the best ways to help your dog is to out him/her on a treatment protocol that involves some kind of antihistamine measures. This often calls for a change and adjustment of diet by eliminating foods that trigger the release of histamine in the body.


It is, however, worth noting that not every case involves the excessive release of histamine in the body. So, if your dog isn't scratching themselves excessively due to itching, vomiting, not eating as usual, and feeling sick, then you might not have to reduce his/her histamine levels.


Here is a list of the foods that you should include in your dog's diet if he/she has mast cell tumors.

Note: This list might need a little tinkering with since there might be some foods here that your dog simply does not like or can't digest well. You may have to give this list a trial and error period to find the right dietary balance.

The Recommended Dietary List for Dogs with Mast Cell Tumors

  • Chicken Breasts.
  • Turkey Breasts.
  • Mung Beans.
  • Lean Beef (trim off the fat).
  • Cooked Cabbage.
  • Butternut Squash.
  • Pure Peanut Butter.
  • Turkey or Chicken necks.
  • Liver.
  • Rolled Organic Oats (not instant).
  • Broccoli.
  • Brown Rice (don't use the instant variety).
  • Fresh Garlic Cloves.
  • Flaxseed/Linseed Oil.
  • Brussels Sprouts.
  • Coconut Oil.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Fresh Ginger.
  • Yellow and Red Bell Peppers.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Krill Oil.

Just as there is a list of recommended foods, there is a list of foods that should be avoided at all costs when your dog has mast cell tumors.

List of Foods to be Avoided when Your Dog has Mast Cell Tumors

  • All Leftovers.
  • Processed Oils that have BHA/BHT.
  • All Fermented Foods.
  • Yogurt.
  • All Processed Foods.
  • Quinoa.
  • All Cheese.
  • Pecans and walnuts.
  • Yeast products such as breads.
  • Citrus Fruits.
  • Apples.
  • All Fish.
  • Quorn.
  • All Berries.
  • Anything Pickled.
  • All Stone Fruits such as apricots.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Eggs.
  • Anything that has vinegar.
  • Soy.

It should be said that cooking for your dog is the best possible course of action here, which means you would have to avoid commercial foods as much as possible.

When it comes to the cooking recommendations, it is best to simmer as much of the foods as possible. This is particularly true when you are dealing with turkey or chicken. Not only will you get more meat by cooking using this method, but you will also get wonderful broth.

This broth should not be thrown out. You can simply freeze them in ice cube sized bits to make healthy treats for your dog. Also, try not to cook meats at high temperatures as histamine tends to rise the more the meat cooks. Simmering it at low temperatures takes care of this as well.

There is no doubt that your dog will need special care if he/she has this type of skin cancer. This mast cell tumor dog's diet and cooking recommendations should help you get started on the right path.