Science has come a long way in both helping us prevent and treat cancer in dogs. While regular exercise and even healthy supplements as well as natural foods can help prevent cancer in your dog, so can a positive home environment. Dogs are sensitive creatures both emotional and physically, they can even be affected by cleaning your floors with bleach or feeding them unhealthy table scraps. It’s important to know the signs that indicate your dog may have cancer so you can take them to get treatment before it spreads and gets worse. Monitoring your dogs behavior can add years to their life as they can’t really communicate when they aren’t feeling well and they rely entirely on you for their health.
If you notice your dog is looking abnormally thin, this could be a sign that they have cancer. If they seem weak, their eyes are moving slowly and they are just getting up much slower because they seem frail, you should seek medical attention for them right away. Any unexplained weight loss should not be ignored. Having a regular check-up can help you monitor your dog’s weight and then you will know if they are losing weight.
Sometimes when a dog is sick they lose their appetite. If they refuse more than one meal, it should concern you and you should take them to the vet for a check up. If you have more than one pet that shares a food bowl, you may not know if one of them isn’t eating so it’s better to separate food bowls as your animal’s age so you can monitor their eating habits. Don’t just push this issue aside thinking your dog is made at you or picky, dogs love food and if they are not eating, there is usually a reason.
Change in Odor
If you notice your dog has a rotten smell or a very abnormal foul smell, it may be signs of cancer. If you notice they smell even after a bath, they have bad breath, or other abnormal odor issues, consult with your veterinarian. Not all odors are signs of cancer but they could be signs of other underlying issues that could cost you a lot of money such as tooth decay.
Lumps on Body
One of the most common signs of cancer in dogs is that lumps will develop. Often the lumps may develop near the lymph glands or they may be anywhere on the body. Anytime you notice and abnormal bump, monitor it for a few days and if it doesn’t go away or keeps getting bigger, seek medical attention for your dog immediately. Even if it’s not painful for your dog, it could be a tumor.
Shortness of Breath
Wheezing, coughing or labored breathing can be a sign of cancer and should not be ignored. If your dog is breathing heavy or seems to be gasping for air, they need to be examined by a professional right away. Dry heaving may also occur but some of these signs could indicate choking or poison and so it’s important if your dog is having trouble breathing that you not wait to take them to get checked.
When your dog becomes less playful and seems to be sleeping all the time, this may be a sign of cancer. If they don’t get up to greet you when they usually would, this should be a sign of alarm. If they don’t want to play fetch or run, take them in to get checked out. If they can’t seem to stay awake, this may be because their body is using all of it’s energy to fight the illness and they can’t communicate that to you.
If your dog seems to be limping, has trouble climbing the stairs or jumping up into the car, this could be a sign of cancer. If they are moving extra slow, getting up slowly or whimpering and crying when your touch them, they could have an underlying condition. This is not always a sign of cancer and could be hip dysplasia or arthritis but either way, you will need to have them examined as there are treatments for all of these things.
Persistent Open Sores
Sometimes it’s hard to know if your dog hurt himself, got in a fight or has a sore from an internal source. Any open wound needs to be carefully monitored. If they have strange discharge or the sore gets bigger or doesn’t go away, this is grounds for going to the veterinarian doctor. Even if it’s a genetic issue or a skin problem, it should not go unchecked.
Problems Going to The Bathroom
If your dog isn’t able to urinate or is having trouble with bowel movements, this could be a sign of cancer. If they have persistent diarrhea it could be from a food allergy or something else. Your dog should have a bowel movement at least once daily and if they aren’t you need to consult with their doctor.
Discharge or Bleeding
If your dog has abnormal discharge or unexplained bleeding, this could be a sign of cancer. Discharge with excrement, from the mouth or from the nose or sores need to be addressed. If they are vomiting frequently, this could also be an indicator they have cancer.
Our furry friends give us so much love and affection and we need to pay attention to them as well. They can’t verbally communicate so we have to be tuned into their behavior. If you are out of town make sure you have someone you trust watch your dog and leave your vet’s info for them. You should also always leave information for the closest 24 hour animal hospital for them and know where it is for yourself. As with our own health, it’s better to act preventively than reactively so try to give your dog healthy food choices and regular exercise and as always constant love and training. Taking your dog for an annual check-up just isn’t enough when it comes to preventing cancer. In a year’s time, their cancer could spread and it might be too late.