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It’s incredibly difficult, in the majority of cases, to detect cancer early in our dogs.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are signs you can search for to detect cancer as early as possible.

Remember, your dog’s instincts are to hide pain or any signs of illness as long as possible, so calling the veterinarian as soon as you notice anything unusual is critical.

Sign 1: Lumps or Bumps

The most obvious sign is a lump or bump that won’t stop growing under the skin.

As soon as you notice a mass, even the size of a pea, have it biopsied to see if it’s cancerous. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Sign 2: Weight Loss

If your dog is losing weight unexpectedly, this could be an early sign of cancer. If your pet is not on a diet of some sort or has not increased his exercise level, speak to your veterinarian.

Sign 3: Loss of Appetite

This goes along with weight loss. Your dog may stop eating altogether or may have a decreased appetite.

If you notice any signs of your dog having weight-loss, not eating or finishing his or her food, etc., you should reach out to your vet.

Sign 4: Difficulty Swallowing

A lump in the neck, even one you can’t see yourself, could be putting pressure on the esophagus (the tube between the mouth and the stomach) resulting in difficulty swallowing.

This could also lead to weight-loss and lack of appetite. If you notice any of these signs be sure to contact your vet.

Sign 5: Bleeding

Nasal cancer is commonly associated with bleeding.

Although bleeding from the nose does not necessarily mean cancer, it’s a common sign of cancer of the nose and is worth checking into.

Early Detection

Early detection is key. Of course, we may not be able to discover cancer immediately, but the sooner the cancer is discovered the sooner we can start treating it. Keep an eye on your pet. Pet him or her often to check for lumps or bumps under the skin (especially older dogs). Visit your veterinarian regularly for checkups to ensure your furry friend is happy and healthy.

A health insurance plan for your dog may be able to help.

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.