Food advice for Lurcher with Lymphoma


Max, our 14yo Lurcher, has been diagnosed with Lymphoma and is now taking cyclophosphamide (chemo) every other day as well as prednisone (steroid) on the days in between. This has had an effect on his energy levels and his weight. He is now only managing about 20min exercise a day before becoming tired. He still has a good appetite, in fact he is now asking for food more often, however, he has lost 2-3kg in weight over the last few weeks and we can’t seem to get him to put any weight back on. He has always been fed twice a day with a mix of Arkwright’s dry mix (75g) and Butchers grain free wet food (200g) for each meal. He is also now having regular bouts of diarrhoea. We are going to try him with some boiled chicken&rice or maybe some scrabbled eggs for a couple of days to try and clear up his diarrhoea but would like to find the ideal food going forward to help him through his treatment. I have read that a low carb, high protein diet is good for dogs with cancer and to avoid beef but it is a minefield looking online for the right balance of ingredients, wet/dry, amounts etc.

Any advice you on which food would best suited to Max and also on feeding amounts/times a day etc would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry to hear about Max’s illness. Have you been told that the diarrhoea is a side effect of the chemo or is this a separate issue? If due to the treatment, I think that if I was in your situation, I would be inclined not to mess around with his food at the moment. However If he is struggling to eat enough to maintain his weight, it might be worth considering one of the cold pressed foods like gentle or guru etc. The recommended amounts look quite small compared to other dried food so it might be easier for him to eat a little more. In my experience they have always been gentle on the digestive system too. Although not as high in meat content as some foods, the grain is a healthier brown rice. Some of the high meat content food can lead to diarrhoea especially if the portion is too big. Often a little trial and error period is necessary to get the right balance which may be hard on Max right now.


Hello Alexmc - welcome to the forum. I am sorry that your dog is so ill at the moment and hope for better things to come. It is really difficult to suggest what to feed your dog at this difficult time. Tinyplanet’s advice re cold pressed food is a good one and worth thinking about. Gentle or Guru would be a good place to start because they are UK companies with a lot of experience of this type of food.

One of my dogs died due to a tumour a while ago. At the time she was on one of these foods and it suited her almost up to the end of life. I used to soak it in warm water (not boiling water) and give her a small portion every couple of hours so she had the calories and her stomach was not empty. I sometimes used to give her a small amount of cooked chicken or fish for extra nourishment.


Thank you both for your advice, it is greatly appreciated.

In answer to Tinyplanets question, we are not 100% sure, it does say that diarrhoea could be a side effect of his treatment but he has also been prone to bouts of it throughout his life, often for no reason we could put a finger on. He is a rescue dog and can be quite nervous at times so all the different things he has been through in the last week or so (biopsy, anaesthetic, trips to the vet etc.) could have also affected him. The cooked chicken and rice over the last couple of days seems to have cleared it up for now.

As you also say Tinyplanets, we are loath to mess about with his food at this time however he has lost so much weight over the last few weeks that our main concern is getting him on a diet that helps him put some weight back on and then keeps him healthy through his treatment. It certainly appears that his regular food is not providing everything he needs right now so ideally we can find an alternative that provides his entire nutritional requirement and is also gentle on his stomach.

We have had a little look at the cold pressed options you both mentioned and they look really promising. We are thinking that he could have the recommended portion divided up through the day into 2 or 3 meals with perhaps a little cooked chicken added until his weight improves. We will probably keep him on cooked chicken and rice for now and introduce the new food slowly over the week so as not disrupt him too much. If it works and his weight improves he would then be able to stay on this food for good.

I feel terrible messing with his food so much but just desperate to find a solution that fills him up and gives him everything he needs through this illness.