How to Cope When Your Dog is Diagnosed With Cancer

Posted June 29, 2021 by in Lifestyle

Our pet dogs give us unconditional love and companionship. Our dog is our best friend and sole source of company for many of us, so when they become sick, it can be devastating, especially when they are diagnosed with something as serious as cancer:

Types of Cancer in Dogs

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs aged ten years and over, but it can usually be successfully treated if it is caught early. Dogs are one of the few animals that can develop the same types of cancer as humans. Common types of cancer that affect canines are lymphoma, brain tumors, melanoma, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, mammary cancer, osteosarcoma, mast cell tumors, and squamous cell carcinomas.

Signs and Symptoms 

Cancer has a plethora of symptoms, and it is best to check your dog over regularly to catch any early signs of the disease. Signs and symptoms of cancer include lethargy, abdominal swelling, coughing, abnormal discharge or odors from the mouth, eyes, rectum, and ears, weight loss, wounds that don’t heal, and lumps beneath the skin. When you groom or wash your dog, make a point of feeling all over their body for any suspicious bumps.

If your dog is looking unwell, it’s always best to get them checked over by a vet at a reliable practice such as Paoli Vetcare to ensure that their sickness isn’t the beginning of something more sinister like cancer.


If your dog is diagnosed with a malignant tumor, your vet will decide the best treatment route depending on the age of the dog, the size and nature of the tumor, and the extent of the tumor’s spread. The vet may take a sample of the tumor to diagnose the status of the disease.

The vet may remove the tumor if possible or offer chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If your dog is in pain, the vet will prescribe pain killers to make them more comfortable.

After Diagnosis 

When your dog is diagnosed with cancer, you may feel distraught and hopeless. Ask your vet for some information leaflets and advice about caring for your dog and how to help them beat the disease or at least how to make their remaining days happy. Research your dog’s type of cancer online and see if there are any complementary therapies that may help ease their symptoms.

If you are struggling to cope with the idea of losing your beloved pet, you could join some online groups and discuss your fears and concerns with people in a similar situation. 

If your dog is able, you could make their days as enjoyable as possible. Let it do some of its favorite activities, such as going to the beach or the play park. Spoil them with delicious treats and lots of cuddles. Above all, just love them and look after them.

If their cancer becomes incurable, know when the time is right to release them from their pain. Consider euthanasia when the time is right for them and not when you think it’s right – do not keep them hanging around in pain because you cannot bear to let them go.

*Photo by Andrew Neel