There are few things worse than hearing from your vet that your dog has canine cancer. Learn the common signs of cancer, the types of which your dog may be predisposed, and resources for learning more.

While the devastating disease has taken human loved ones from us, it can also take the lives of our precious fur family members. In fact, canine cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death in pets, and the cause of nearly half the deaths of dogs age 10 and up according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Thankfully, veterinary oncologists have made great strides in developing effective treatments for canine cancers, and are continuing to identify new ones, so dogs have a greater chance than ever to survive cancer.

With November marking Canine Cancer Awareness month, it’s just the time to raise awareness about the prevalence of canine cancer and learn how to identify symptoms of cancer in our pets. To learn more about canine cancer, visit the links further below, and look out for Woof Report’s newsletter that will take a look at prevention tips.

Identifying Cancer Symptoms

Since identifying cancer early and treating it quickly will help your dog’s prognosis, know the common signs of cancer and which cancers are common in your dog breed.

Also, schedule regular vet visits and routinely examine your dog on your own. For instance, skin tumors above and below the skin are the most common cancer in dogs and you can feel for these as you pet and examine your pup. Do keep in mind that not all unusual growths may be cancerous!  Also, not all early stages of cancer show symptoms, so when your dog simply ‘doesn’t seem right’ (and you know when that is), schedule a vet visit.

Know the ten common signs of cancer in small animals

According the AVMA, common symptoms are as follows:

  1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  2. Sores that do not heal
  3. Weight loss
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  6. Offensive odor
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
  8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

Know the types of cancer for which your dog may be predisposed

Again, since early detection has a significant effect on the success of treatment, learn which cancers are common to your breed so you’ll know what to look out for. At, Dr. Mark Silberman explains how certain breeds are predisposed to specific types of cancer and lists a large number of breeds and common cancer types. On a related note, although experts say mixed breed dogs have a slightly lower risk of some cancers, they’re still at risk.

Learn more and be informed

  • Visit these top resources to learn more about canine cancer. Feel free to add additional resources to the comments section of this post at
  • The website for the Worldwide Association for Professionals in Veterinary Oncology has an extensive listing of canine cancer resources.
  • Read or print the AVMA’s brochure about cancer in dogs and cats, which lists general symptoms to look out for and specific symptoms of common cancers.
  • Learn which dog breeds are predisposed to certain cancers at Houston Pet Talk.
  • Visit the National Canine Cancer Foundation for information, and also to participate in the National Dog Wash campaign. Make a $5 donation to help wash away canine cancer, and you’ll also receive goodies for your dog.

Woof Report wishes you and your dog a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!


Thank you to digital image fan for the photo on flickr.

Reviewed/Updated October 2016.