NEW: Shop the holiday gift guide here 🎄
16M Shelter Meals Donated 157K Toys Donated $320K Funded for Service Dogs 20K Blankets Donated 201K Rescue Miles Funded

Do You Know These 5 Warning Signs Of Pet Cancer?

Today, your dog isn’t interested in eating, nor has energy that was exhibited yesterday. Normally, your dog is eager to eat and equally eager to play and get into mischief. Being the excellent parent that you are, you make an appointment for your dog to see your veterinarian. While you aren’t sure what may be going on, in your gut you know that this isn’t normal behavior.
Your vet comes in and asks qualifying questions. You both agree to run blood work and various other tests that may need to occur.  A few days later, your vet calls with the test results. Then, the word comes across the phone and you feel like the wind was just sucked out of you. Your heart drops to your feet.  What is the word? Cancer.


Do you know the early warning signs that your dog may have cancer?  It’s important to note that most of these symptoms could also indicate another ailment and they are not isolated to a cancer diagnosis.  Should your dog be exhibiting one or any of these symptoms, the best option is call your veterinarian for an exam and testing. Here are five (5) warning signs of cancer.

 Lumps and Bumps 

Yes, there are going to be lumps and bumps that your dog will develop throughout their life.  The only way to know for sure if the new “growth” on your dog is not cancerous, consult with your vet.  One easy thing that you can do weekly, massage your dog.  Sitting down on the floor, giving your dog a nice overall massage not only will feel great for your dog (you too) and isolate bonding time, this will also allow for you to identify any new growths.

Change in Appetite

If your dog goes from being a passionate eater to no or little interest; providing no change in their diet, consult with your vet.  A change of appetite in your dog doesn’t necessarily mean cancer, when a dog has no interest, more times than not there is something going on that needs further investigation.


Providing your dog did not jump off the bed like Superman, and there is indication of pain, consult your vet.  If your dog is limping, sensitive to touch; or, the pain is too great for your dog to move, your dog needs to see your vet.

Wound takes long to heal

If your dog has an open wound and it is taking longer than normal to close and heal, medical attention is needed.

Foul odor

You know you just bathed your dog and has been inside, yet, there is a foul odor.  This sign is of concern as cancer will produce an odor.

Again, not all of the signs above mean that cancer is present within; they do indicate that medical attention is needed and should be sought as quickly as possible. The best thing to help “fight” cancer begins with prevention, early detection, and research.

Buffy from Real Dogs Don't Whisper
In memory of my beautiful Buffy

I found myself in this situation twice with my dogs – I am thankful that I authorized testing as this was a valuable tool in early detection and did tons of research (nutrition, exercise, well being, etc). As a result, my one dog is cancer free after three years. My other dog passed March 2012 but it was not the cancer that took her. She and I fought the cancer for two years and we were able to keep it isolated and non-growing. If I had not done my homework, my outcome may have been different.

As I sit here today, I truly hope that anyone reading this never gets the phone call that turns your world upside down. Are there any cancer survivors? How did you help your dog through it?

About Kelly Preston 

Contributing editor Kelly Preston
Kelly Preston and Mr MaGoo

Based in San Jose, Calif., animal lover Kelly Preston is an award winning author of Real Dogs Don’t Whisper, a book in which she talks about her experiences and adventures with her special needs dogs and the life lessons they have taught – how she has learned and grown from them and they have learned and grown from her. Preston also produces Mr.MaGoo’s Corner, a free monthly dog-focused newsletter that features a reader of the month, birthday announcements, green pet tips, organic dog recipes and more. Kelly Preston also published a children’s picture and coloring book, Mister Spunky and His Friends; a book to teach children about love, friendship and helping others with special needs.

Do you want a healthier & happier dog? Join our email list & we'll donate 1 meal to a shelter dog in need!

Written by Kelly Preston
Story Page