Illnesses are frightening enough, but there’s something particularly scary about canine cancers. They depend on us for their health, yet can’t tell us when something’s not feeling right. That’s why being on the lookout for signs of cancer in dogs is so important.
It’d be wonderful if this were a rare and minor health issue with dogs, but unfortunately 1 in 3 will suffer from dog cancers in their lifetime according to theNational Canine Cancer Foundation.
Now, let’s get into the warnings signs of canine cancer as well as its most common types. Noticing any of these doesn’t necessarily mean your dog has cancer, but there’s a good chance of another health issue at a minimum, so you should contact your vet immediately if any are observed.
The rescue dog is thought to have been tortured and beaten by his previous owners (Picture: Joanne Lowen) But Menios is now settling in to a loving and warm home (Picture: Joanne Lowen)Most of the time it cannot spread outside but once it breaks out onto the breast tissue it can occasionally spread to other parts of the body.
SIGNS OF CANCER IN DOGS
Notice one or multiple signs in this list? Contact your vet right away.
1. WEIRD SMELLS
You’ve probably grown accustomed to your dog’s bad breath, but you should be on the look out for any unusually bad (or just plain different) smells coming from your dog when you’re close enough to smell their breath.
Most times, it will just be due to something easily explainable like a change in diet, but you can never be too careful. Also pay attention for any odd odors coming from the nose or rectal area as potential signs of dog cancer.
2. PALE GUMS
Be sure to occasionally check the color of your dog’s gums. Pale gums can be a sign of many health issues with dogs, cancer included. If you notice a change in this area, contact your veterinarian right away.
Many dogs have a condition nicknamed “Frito Feet,” in which their feet smell little bit like corn chips. As Matt Soniak wrote in a Big Question on this site, this has to do with the kind of bacteria found on a pup’s feet, and “could be due to yeast or Proteus bacteria. Both are known for their sweet, corn tortilla–like smell. Or it could be Pseudomonas bacteria, which smell a little fruitier—but pretty close to popcorn to most noses.”
Here’s how to check your dog’s gums:
- lift the jowl so you can get a good look
- press the gums with the ball of your finger
- observe the gum’s color where you’ve pressed
In healthy dogs, after pressing on their gums the area should turn white briefly. After about 2 to 3 seconds, the color should return to its normal pink. If not, pay attention for other warning signs and consider talking to your vet.