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Dog Cancer: Signs and Symptoms

Dog Cancer

It happens to a lot of us: We Google a couple seemingly benign symptoms we’ve been experiencing — maybe a simple headache or stomach ache — and then suddenly the Internet is telling us we have cancer. Same happens if we noticed something different about our dogs. Let us preface this article by saying stay calm! Any of these signs and symptoms of dog cancer could merely be signs of stress or a mild condition. As always, if your dog’s physical health or behavior suddenly changes, it never hurts to call your veterinarian.

Gross Smells

Okay, dogs tend to smell like, well, dog. This is especially true if they’ve been rolling around in muck, playing in the rain or annoying a skunk — as dogs are wont to do. But if a bath and thorough dental cleaning don’t fix the problem, then particularly bad odors could be indications that your pooch has cancer.

Abnormal Discharge

It probably goes without saying that any kind of unusual discharge coming from your dog should alarm you.

Changes in Eating Habits

Like people, sudden changes in appetite could be just a sign of stress. However trouble chewing and swallowing could be a symptom of oral cancer. A loss of appetite could also be a sign of pain or nausea from cancer.

Difficulty Urinating

Some dog owners probably feel like they spend all their waking hours trying to get their pups to stop peeing constantly. All dog owners, though, should contact their vets if their pooch has trouble urinating.

Lumps, Masses or Non-Healing Growths

New masses, or cuts that don’t heal, might be nothing (in fact, you can read more about senior lump and bumps here). Just to be on the safe side, call the vet and have them look at it though.

Changes in Weight

Has your dog skipped too many walks? Maybe they’ve chowed down on one too many treats? If so, then you don’t have to be too worried about a little belly bulge. Increased exercise and decreased calories will do the trick. If that isn’t the case, then a swollen belly could be a result of fluid buildup. This could be an indication that your dog has a tumor in their gastrointestinal area.

It’s also important to be vigilant if your pooch suddenly drops weight. If this can’t be clearly attributed to consuming less calories or exercising more, it could be a sign of lymphosarcoma or lymphoma.


Increased fatigue and sleeping could be another indication that something is wrong. Also be on the lookout for your dog lacking their usual joie de vivre. Nobody is happy when their body feels crummy and dogs are no exception.

Increased Drinking or Urination

If your animal isn’t hot or just finished exercising, increases in drinking water or urination might mean that they are having a health problem.

Difficulty Breathing

This one is a HUGE problem. If your dog is having difficulty breathing, take them to an animal emergency hospital immediately!

Again, these are all just potential signs and symptoms of cancer, so don’t panic. If you see them in your beloved pooch, simply call your veterinarian. Better to err on the side of caution!