"10 Early Signs of Canine Cancer To Watch Out For

"10 Early Signs of Canine Cancer To Watch Out For

Health & Safety

As dogs age they may be prone to certain types of cancer. These uncontrolled cell growths form somewhere on their bodies or even inside the dogs, and can be localised or they may even be invading neighbouring tissues. This means the cancer could spread throughout a dog's entire body. Dogs over the age of 10 are more prone to cancer whether it's malignant lymphomas, skin cancers, and mammary gland tumours to name just a few. If your dog is getting on and you are worried they may have some sort of cancer, they are certain early signs you can watch out for, and if you are worried, make an appointment with your vet so a correct diagnosis an be made.

The Most Common Signs of Canine Cancer

  • An abnormal swelling that keeps on growing
  • Sores that never seem to heal
  • A loss of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Any bleeding or a type of discharge from an opening on your pet's body
  • An foul smelling odour
  • Difficulty in swallowing and eating
  • A loss of stamina and unwillingness to exercise
  • A persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty in breathing, urinating and defecating

There are certain things an owner can do to prevent the risk of a dog developing cancer although the cause of canine cancer are still relatively unknown which means prevention is made that much more difficult. With this said there are types of cancer which are largely preventable so there are certain things you can do to reduce the chances of your pet developing the conditions which are as follows.

Spaying and neutering

Spaying a bitch and neutering a dog will help prevent them developing certain types of cancer. In females this is mammary cancer and in dogs, neutering helps reduce the risk of prostrate and testicular cancer developing.

Making Sure Your Dog Has Good Oral Hygiene

Making sure your pet has good oral hygiene is another good way of reducing the risks of them developing any sort of oral cancer. If you have a pedigree dog, it would be worth checking their ancestry to see if there is a history of oral cancer so you are prepared and know what to check for.

Early Diagnosis is Essential

Because nobody knows exactly why canine cancer rears its ugly head, it is essential to keep an eye out for any symptoms which helps a vet can diagnose the problem early. This means a treatment can be started before the cancerous cells spread too far, although this does depend on the type of cancer involved and its severity.

Take Note of Lumps & Bumps

If you notice any lumps or bumps on your pet, make sure you keep an eye on them. Not all of them are necessarily cancerous but it is always worth taking your pet to see the vet to be on the safe side. If the lump keeps on growing, your vet would want to carry out a biopsy so they can find out what is going on and if the lump is cancerous or not. Many lumps turn out to be benign but it's important to find this out as early as possible.

Nasty Abnormal Odours

Any nasty and abnormal odour and smell on your dog's body or their orifices should be taken seriously. There could be a cancer in their mouth, nose or even anal regions, all of which will emit a very offensive odour and could be an indication of canine cancer.

Watch Out for Abnormal Discharges

If you notice any sort of abnormal discharge which includes blood, pus, diarrhoea, vomit or any other strange liquid coming from any part of your pet's body, you need to take them to the vet as soon as you can. Your dog may have a bloated or distended stomach which is cause for concern as this could be a sign of some sort of internal discharge going on which would need to diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Make Note of Any Wounds That Won't Heal

You may notice that wounds may not heal as quickly as they should. This could be another indication of either an infection going on, some sort of skin disease or it could be early signs of cancer.

Has Your Dog Lost Condition & Weight

A sudden loss of condition and weight is also a bit of a concern especially if your dog is not on any sort of diet. This is a sure sign something is wrong and it could be cancer. You would need to contact your vet and explain all the obvious symptoms and then take your pet to see them as soon as you can.

Have You Noticed a Change in Their Appetite?

Just because your dog may have lost their appetite does not necessarily mean the cause is a cancerous condition. There are a lot of other illnesses and diseases which make dogs go off their food, but it's always worth taking them to see the vet because they might be suffering from an oral tumour. This would make it hard and painful for them to eat and swallow anything – hence they lose their appetites.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble Breathing, Are They Coughing a Lot?

Having trouble breathing and coughing could be due to a lung or heart disease, although both these symptoms could also be a sign of cancer which has progressed to their lungs.

Is Your Dog Lethargic and Depressed?

There are several illnesses and diseases that affect a dog's energy levels but if you notice your pet is very lethargic and quite depressed, these are both signs commonly seen in dogs suffering from some sort of cancer.

Is Your Dog Going To the Bathroom More Than Usual?

If your dog is asking to go out more than usual and their bathroom habits have changed, or if you see any blood in their urine or stools, these are all signs that maybe a cancer of some sort is developing.

Is Your Dog Lame & in Pain

If you notice your dog limping and the condition is not improving but causing them constant pain, these are good indications of cancer of the bone flaring up and you would need to take your pet to the vet so they can make a proper diagnosis and they advise on a treatment to relieve the discomfort your pet is feeling.


Although no one symptom is a sure sign of cancer, if your dog is showing two or more of them, you need to take them to see the vet as soon as possible for a correct diagnosis to be made. The vet will then decide on a course of treatment for your pet to be put on. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential so your pet remains comfortable. Remember an early diagnosis can make a tremendous difference to the outcome of your dog's condition.

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