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Healthy Treat Recipe for Cancer Dogs

Everyone is baking this time of year, right? So… many thanks to Tripawds member ldillon81 from Kirkland, Washington for providing this healthy homemade dog treat recipe!

Low in carbohydrates, and with no sugar, these treats should be nutritious for all dogs and are suitable for supplementing any canine cancer diet. And according to Captain Jack, they are pretty tasty too.

Please note that it is our belief whole grains like wheat should be given only in moderation to dogs living with cancer …

“Corn or wheat is often the first ingredient found in commercial dog food. And even those owners who feed their dogs homemade food will often include carbohydrate-rich potatoes and carrots in their meals. Those foods almost instantly turn into simple sugars, making cancer cells happy and well-fed.

That’s why in general, I say to avoid carbohydrates and sugars. Whole grains can be given, especially if you are concerned about cost and want to give a tasty bulk to an otherwise all-meat-and-vegetable meal. Try very well-cooked, softened brown rice. The bran in the rice contains polysaccharides that have some evidence for cancer-fighting ability. Oatmeal is another good option for a wholesome grain.”

~ Dr. Demian Dressler, the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, pg. 234

For anyone willing to experiment, who is concerned about feeding any amount of whole wheat to their cancer dogs, we might suggest substituting rice flour in this recipe and letting us know how it goes. For additional healthy dog diet tips and recipes, check out Dr. Dressler’s Dog Cancer Survival Guide and this Healthy Pet Diet eBook.

[SEPT 11, 2009 – LDILLON81] …I found a recipe for dog treats and tweaked it a bit (ie: replaced vegetable oil with all-natural applesauce) so I wanted to share it with you… Below the recipe I have a list of the anti-cancer benefits of each ingredient.  Hope you like them!!!  (oh, and all the ingredients cost me about $10.)

Healthy Doggie Treats


  • 1 Tablespoon Applesauce (all natural, no added sugar)
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 ½ Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • ½ Cup Oatmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint
  • ⅓ Cup Chopped Parsley
  • ¼ Teaspoon Minced Garlic


  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Mix applesauce and water
  • Slowly add flour and other ingredients
  • Roll dough on a flat surface
  • Cut with cookie-cutter or into whatever shape you like
  • Bake 25 minutes (add time or subtract time based on the size of the cookie)


Applesauce: The antioxidants in applesauce helps to prevent many forms of cancer that can be caused by the free radicals they fight.

Whole Wheat Flour: The fiber present in the flour helps to keep the gastrointestinal tract functioning normally and may help prevent more serious problems such as colon cancer, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids. Whole wheat flour may also reduce the risk for diabetes and coronary artery disease. It also contains healthy phytochemicals, including antioxidants, which may help ward off cancer.

Oatmeal: Oats are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Insoluble fiber’s cancer-fighting properties are due to the fact that it attacks  certain bile acids, reducing their toxicity.  The phytochemicals in oats may also have cancer-fighting properties.

Mint: In addition to the breath and digestion benefits of mint, it may also help in fighting cancer.  Mint is known to contain a phytonutrient called perillyl alcohol which has been shown in animal studies the prevent the formation of colon, skin, and lung cancer.

Parsley: Parsley contains 3 times as much vitamin C as oranges, twice as much iron as spinach, and is rich in Vitamin A, potassium, and calcium.  Parsley also contains Polyacetylenes which help regulate the body’s production of prostaglandin (a powerful tumor promoter), as well as Monoterpenes which are thought to have cancer-delaying properties.

Garlic: Many studies showed that the organic ingredient of garlic, allyl sulfur, another active ingredient in garlic, are effective in inhibiting or preventing cancer development.  While Garlic does contain a toxin that may be harmful to dogs, it would take up to 50 (FIFTY!!!) cloves of straight garlic to have a harmful effect.  Small amounts of garlic can be used as a flea repellant as well as an immunity booster for dogs with a compromised immune system.

Let us know how your dog likes these treats with a comment below, or follow the discussion on this Dog Treat Recipe topic originally posted in the Eating Healthy discussion forum. And don’t forget to submit your own healthy treat recipes, diet plans, and supplement regimens so we can share them with everyone here in the Tripawds Nutrition blog!

19 thoughts on “Healthy Treat Recipe for Cancer Dogs”

  1. I’ve been looking around for grain free treats and not finding any. I planned to modify some recipes and substitute either rice flour or nut flour. I’ve got almond flour that I might try.
    The only problem is that the specialty flours aren’t particularly cheap. But then, the dogs spent about 11 years getting regular treats and can’t figure out why suddenly they don’t get anything.
    I’ll try your recipe first, using rice flour and see how it goes.

  2. I try to not use any gluten in both my food and my dogs so I am using brown rice flour and I also added approx 1/3 cup of wild boundaries 🙂 I will let you know how it turns out….but one of my dogs is on her hind legs begging for it and it’s not even cooked yet! Than again….I do so much cooking for them that they know when the food processor comes out, it possibly means yummy’s for them 🙂

  3. The treats turned out great!
    I lined the cookie tray with parchment paper and rolled the dough out onto it and then precut the treats with a pizza cutter into bite size pieces. I flipped the treats approx 20 min in and then turned the temp down to 200 and continued baking for approx an hour and let them cool in the oven, this made them more crunchy 🙂 I see my comments above changed the word blueberries to boundaries? lol
    I gave some of the treats to a couple of my friends dogs for Christmas and they were a hit! 🙂 Of course my 3 dogs loved them also! I would not advise trying to use a cookie cutter with my revised recipe…a bit too sticky. You can also place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and roll it out that way if you do find it is too sticky to roll the dough directly. This will definitely be one of my main treat recipes :o)

  4. hi, I am new to cooking for my newly-diagnosed greyound and read all about how grains are so bad to feed a cancer dog – would someone please please please clarify how I am seeing so many recipes including oatmeal, rice, wild – brown rice, I see whole grain stated okay to feed and so forth? It’s
    really confusing.
    Also, doesn’t the starch in potatos turn to sugar as well? Why is that okay according to some to give to a cancer dog?
    I am besides myself, someone please help !
    With all our thanks!

    • Hi Kendra and Sophialoren, welcome. Yes, I will admit that cooking and arranging a new diet for your dog fighting cancer is a confusing journey but we hope we can make it easier. First, keep in mind that Tripawds is a community for all three legged dogs, not just dogs with cancer, so some of the recipes here may contain grains or starches like potatoes. I’m not sure where you’re seeing that that’s OK to give a dog with cancer but I’m pretty sure it’s not here?

      Next, the reason you probably see oatmeal or brown rice included in some anti-cancer recipes is because in the interest of economics, if we have to use a grain to make a larger batch of home cooked food, these are the least damaging grains for them to eat, according to Dr. Demian Dressler, author of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide. In fact, I would start there, he has some awesome advice for creating a cancer fighting menu plan and it’s worked for many dogs we know.

      Good luck, and let us know how we can help. Take a deep breath and remember it’s all about quality of life, not stressing out over everything on this journey. Your dog wants you to be happy, first and most importantly.

  5. Just tried these homemade treats for my dog with Lymphoma Cancer.

    Used Brown Rice Flour and substituted a little cinnamon instead of the Mint. Buddy went crazy for them. Had to admit, I gave it a little taste too, not bad at all.

    Thanks for the recipe. Had to find something healthy and homemade and this was it.

  6. The healthy treats recipe looks great and I’ll be trying it out with organic brown rice flour! Our beloved Logan has recently been diagnosed with TCC and I’ve been looking for recipes for treats. For me it has nothing to do with economy,but more a case of him not missing out on biscuits. If anyone has a recipe for making suitable treats without any grains, if actually possible (meat-based?) I’d be so happy to see it, too.
    Many thanks

  7. Hello! I just stumbled onto your wonderful site in my exploration on grain-free healthy homemade treats! I am trying to find out if rice flour has the same effect on a dog’s digestive system as it might on “hoomanz” (ie. does it make dogs constipated?) I have found a bunch of other recipes that call for rice flour instead of wheat & i think it’s a fantastic substitute, but i want to find out more about the effects from other’s before i have to use Bella as a test subject. Can’t wait to hear back!
    Casey and Bella J.

    • Hi Casey, thanks for writing. We haven’t heard reports of rice flour causing constipation, but you may want to post in our “Eating Healthy” discussion forum to get your request out to the general membership. Good for you for being so conscientious about Bella’s health!

  8. I apologize if this sounds like a stupid question, but I’m thinking about making these treats for my dog and was wondering about how cooking will effect the health benefits of the ingredients.

    By that I mean, does the heat of cooking destroy most of the healthy properties of the ingredients like applesauce, oatmeal and parsley?


    • Great question James. We do not believe cooking will have an adverse affect, but please consult a veterinary nutritional expert with any serious concerns. This recipe is intended more to be “less unhealthy” than it is to have truly beneficial properties.

  9. Hi James, yes…high tmperature cooking can destroy the beneficial properties of most foods. I cook my treats at a lower temperature (200 – 250 degrees) until desired crunch.

  10. Thanks for the recipe and info on this great site. I made the treats and substituted chick pea flour. It worked wonderfully.


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