As a pet owner, it’s natural to want to do everything you can to keep your furry friend healthy and happy. One of the best ways to do that is to be on the lookout for early warning signs of disease, including cancer. Cancer is actually quite common in pets, with some estimates suggesting that as many as one in four dogs and one in five cats will develop the disease at some point during their lifetime. While that may seem like a daunting statistic, the good news is that if caught early, cancer is often highly treatable in pets. 

So, what should you be on the lookout for? Here are some early warning signs of cancer in pets from the experts at PetNest Animal Hospital.

Lethargy and Weight Loss

One of the most common early warning signs of cancer in pets is lethargy and weight loss. If your normally active pet seems tired and sluggish, or if you notice that they’re losing weight without any change in diet or exercise habits, it’s worth bringing them in for a checkup. These could be signs of various types of cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, and intestinal tumors. 

Changes in Appetite or Water Consumption

Another common sign of cancer in pets is a change in appetite or water consumption. If your pet suddenly has a decreased appetite or is drinking more water than usual, it could be a sign that something is wrong. This is often seen in pets with kidney or bladder tumors. 

Lumps or Bumps on the Body

If you notice any lumps or bumps on your pet’s body—particularly if they seem to be growing rapidly—it’s important to have them checked out by a veterinarian right away. These lumps could be benign (non-cancerous), but they could also be malignant (cancerous). The only way to know for sure is to have them examined by a professional. 

Bad Breath or Oral Changes 

One final sign of cancer that you may not expect is bad breath or changes in your pet’s mouth. If your pet’s breath smells unusual or if you notice any changes in their mouth, such as masses or ulcers, these could be signs of oral cancer. This type of cancer is most common in dogs over the age of three and cats over the age of five. 


While no pet owner wants to think about their furry friend getting sick, it’s important to be aware of the early warning signs of disease—including cancer—so that you can get them treatment as quickly as possible if necessary. By being vigilant and paying attention to changes in your pet’s appetite, energy levels, bathroom habits, and more, you’ll be well-positioned to catch any potential problems early and give your pet the best chance at a long and healthy life. Contact us right away if you think your pet could be sick.

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