We all hope it would never happen, but if your dog is developing cancer it's important to recognize it. The fact is more dogs are living past the age of 10 nowadays. That's great news, but 50% of those dogs will also develop cancer.
Thankfully, vets have also gotten a lot better at treating these diseases. Like with humans, most cases of cancer in dogs are easily treated, but spotting the disease before it's too late is crucial.
Learn these common signs of cancer and remember: when in doubt, better safe than sorry. Your vet knows best, but you can usually recognize when something is wrong with your dog.
A Sudden Lack Of Energy
Yes, dogs are lazy, it's true. But even the laziest dog will still play with its favorite toy, jump up to greet you when you come home, and chase a tennis ball when you throw one. If you notice your dog has become a lot more sluggish than usual, and they don't get over it in a day or two, you may want to see a vet.
Sometimes if you've shared a little human food with your dog, or if they're under the weather, you'll notice their poop has changed. This isn't anything to worry about, but if your pet has diarrhea or hard stool for a long time, they could be sick.
Lameness means when your dog seems to have pain in their leg or foot. Older dogs can get tired, achy joints just like us, and even arthritis, but if they suddenly can't put weight on a paw it could be evidence of bone cancer. Check for swelling in their legs to see if this could be the case.
We already mentioned your dog's stool, which is where you might notice bleeding, but also be aware that bloody discharge from your dog's eyes, nose or mouth could be a sign of a serious problem.
Wounds That Won't Heal
This is not normal. A cut or scratch on your dog should scab over just like it would on your skin and slowly improve. If it's not, take your dog to see a vet right away.
Rapid Weight Change
It's normal for dogs to get bigger or smaller as they age, so the key is to check your dog's eating habits. If they're putting on or losing weight fast, but you're feeding them the same amount of food, then you should get them checked out.
Lumps, Swelling And Bumps
Most of the bumps and lumps you find on your dog's skin will be benign, but if they're combined with any of the symptoms on this list, they're worth asking your vet about. Pet your dog and check them regularly!
The truth is that sometimes there aren't any physical signs that your dog is sick, so learn their behavior and identify when they're behaving strangely for more than a day or so. You can also learn more about your dog's risk of cancer. Some breeds, like golden retrievers and boxers, get the disease more often.
Remember: lots of cancers are easy to treat, so don't be scared to ask your vet!