How Do You Make a Dog With Cancer Comfortable?

by Sarah

When you have a dog with cancer, sometimes you get to the point where you are no longer focused on treating your dog. Rather, you want to do everything possible to make him comfortable during his last days. Known as palliative care, what you are trying to do is give your dog a better quality of life during the time he has left with you.

Here is a list of things that you can do to reduce any pain your dog may be experiencing and focus more on comfort.

Managing Pain

Work with your vet to come up with a strategy to control any pain that your dog may be experiencing. The vet may prescribe morphine pills or fentanyl patches for relief. Be sure to monitor how your dog reacts to the drugs; some dogs may not be tolerant of them.


dog-with-cancer-comfortableOftentimes when dogs are sick, they don’t feel like eating. Still, they may be willing to eat something that they usually are not allowed to eat. There still might be some things that are tempting. Go ahead and try; don’t worry about what you’re not “supposed” to give them (except raisins, chocolate, onions, and grapes which are poisonous to them). Meat, cake, ice cream…whatever interests them that they will eat.


When the desire to eat disappears, the desire to drink water usually goes with it. Dehydration is dangerous so it’s important to make sure your dog is getting fluids. If water doesn’t work, you can also try using soup or chicken or beef broth. If that still doesn’t work, you can try squirting liquids into the back of the mouth with a turkey baster.


Obviously this isn’t a time for professional grooming per se, but it’s good to make sure that your dog is clean and dry. This may require gentle sponge baths a few times a day, especially if your dog is in a position where he can’t make it outside to go to the bathroom anymore.

Move Your Dog

Your dog may no longer be able to move easily so it’s your job to make sure you gently move him every 4-6 hours to prevent him from developing bedsores. Moving him from one side to the other will do, if he’s been in the same position. He should also be laying on a bed or padded surface.

Love, Love, and More Love

Pet your dog. Massage him. Bring him outside in the sun if he’s up for it. Take him for a car ride if he wants to go. Let him know how much you love him.

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