10 Warning Signs Your Dog Has Cancer


There is no friend quite like a dog. They are your playful friend when you are full of energy and your supportive confidante when you’ve had a miserable day. In fact, simply petting your dog when you get home can be enough to make you instantly feel better.

Unfortunately, our dogs are often taken from us way too early. One reason for this is cancer. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, dogs more than 10 years old have a 50% chance of getting cancer.

But a cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean your dog has to die anytime soon. The quicker you get your dog diagnosed and treated, the quicker you can get back to playing with your fuzzy little friend. 

Ready to keep your dog safe? Keep reading to discover 10 warning signs your dog has cancer! 

Bumps and lumps

Hopefully, you are frequently petting your dog. While petting your pet, try to feel if there are any lumps or bumps lurking beneath the skin. And don’t forget to check between toes, which is where these lumps sometimes hide.

These lumps and bumps may or may not be a warning sign of cancer. As soon as you detect any, we recommend you have your vet analyze them.

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Sores won’t heal

It’s not uncommon for dogs to get the occasional sore, especially if the dog frequently plays outside. But most sores begin to heal pretty quickly after the dog gets them.

If your dog gets sores that don’t seem to heal, this may be a warning sign your pooch has cancer. Especially if you have tried using antibiotics or topical ointments and the sore shows no sign of healing.

Weight loss

For the most part, dogs don’t really lose weight unless you put them on a diet. The reason is simple: dogs tend to eat anything and everything they can manage to scarf up!

So if your dog seems to suddenly be losing weight, we recommend you take them to the vet right away. It may or may not be cancer, but chances are that your dog has some kind of illness making them lose weight, and that illness won’t go away without proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Strange mouth and ear odor

Dog owners often joke about how stinky their animals are. But by now, you should know what your dog typically smells like. If you are suddenly smelling something nasty coming from the dog’s mouth or ears, you should treat this as a cancer warning sign.

The smell may be due to things like pus leaking out of masses hidden where you can’t normally see them. Of course, there can always be other causes, including dental problems leading to stinky breath. The sooner you get the issue diagnosed, the sooner you will know for sure.

Loss of appetite

As your dog gets older, it may not eat quite as much food. That is natural: when dogs become less active, their appetite usually mellows out.

But if your dog isn’t very old and suddenly isn’t eating very much, you should take the dog to the vet right away. The issue may be cancer or something else entirely, but the longer your dog’s appetite suffers, the worse their health will be.

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Unexpected discharges

Every dog gets an upset stomach from time to time. However, we recommend that you treat all unexpected discharges as potential health warnings.

For example, discharges of blood, vomit, and diarrhea are usually signs that something is wrong with your dog. Your vet will be able to tell you if this is being caused by cancer or maybe just something the dog ate when you weren’t looking.

Frequent urination

Dogs usually settle into a kind of potty routine. This may include going for a walk after dinner or taking a trip to the backyard before settling in to go to sleep.

However, some dogs may suddenly need to urinate much more frequently. This could be a sign of cancer or possibly a metabolic illness. So if your dog is waking you up several times a night to go pee, you need to schedule a visit to the vet.

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Trouble eating

Like we said earlier, dogs typically love to eat. And just as you should treat a loss of appetite as a big deal, you should treat difficulty eating and swallowing as a potential cancer warning sign.

That’s because your dog may have tumors hidden in his mouth or neck that make swallowing food very difficult. If your own dog is having trouble swallowing, it’s important to have him examined right away.

Suddenly stops playing

If your dog is older, then he may have stopped wanting to play a long time ago. This is only natural. But if you have a younger dog that suddenly stops playing and looks low on energy, it may have cancer.

Think of it this way: when a dog suddenly loses stamina, that’s usually the first big sign the dog is sick. Whether cancer is the culprit or not, it’s important to go to the vet and make sure your dog doesn’t have a serious condition.

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Difficulty breathing

Has your dog recently started having difficulty breathing? If so, cancer may be the cause.

That’s because tumors in the windpipe or lungs can put extra pressure on your pet’s respiratory system, making it harder to breathe. Additionally, your dog may have trouble peeing or pooping if tumors are blocking up other parts of his body.