Our canine companions and feline friends deserve the best of care. Daily feeding and proper grooming, and keeping pets active all contribute to a happier and healthier life. It can be fun to pamper your pet with items such as custom pet beds.
However, responsible pet owners should remember that pet care also includes vigilance regarding their pets’ long-term health. Every pet owner should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of cancer.
It may not be fun to think about, but it’s an unfortunate reality that many pets do develop cancer in their lifetime. According to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, approximately one in four dogs will develop neoplasia – an abnormal growth of cells that may or may not be malignant.
With that in mind and in honor of Pet Cancer Awareness Month this November, here are some things to watch out for to ensure your pets’ health.
#1 – Changes in Pets’ Dietary Habits
Whether your pet is a ravenous beast or a bit of a picky eater, you should always pay attention to their dietary habits. Any change should prompt quick attention, especially if your pet is eating less than normal. On the flip side, there’s no reason to panic if Mimsie or Vincent isn’t as hungry as usual. Many factors, including stress, can curb a pet’s appetite.
#2 – Unexplained Weight Gain or Loss
Small fluctuations in weight are perfectly normal. However, sudden and dramatic weight changes in pets are almost always a cause for concern. Unless you’ve put BoBo on a special diet under your veterinarian’s orders, a change in your pet’s weight – whether it’s a loss or a gain – is cause for concern.
#3 – Any Unexplained Bleeding
The only time bleeding is “normal” is when a female pet is in heat – and we’ll take this opportunity to remind you that spaying and neutering are almost always best for your furry friend. Otherwise, bleeding of any kind is an urgent matter, whether from the nose, mouth, or other areas of the body.
#4 – Wounds That Won’t Heal
Nicks and scrapes are as commonplace with fur-babies as they are with human children. The biggest mistake a pet owner can make is not paying attention to their pets’ injuries, no matter how small. Even after initial treatment, pet owners need to keep an eye on a pet’s injury. If it doesn’t heal, this could be a sign that a pet’s health is in danger.
#5 – Breathing Difficulties
Some pets may naturally have mild breathing difficulties – brachycephalic breeds especially, such as pugs or Persians. However, if breathing difficulties appear out of nowhere or worsen significantly, it is time to visit the vet.
#6 – Persistent Vomiting and/or Diarrhea
The occasional bout of vomiting or diarrhea is normal. Any number of things can bring on these symptoms, and typically this isn’t a reason for concern. However, something is likely wrong if a pet has experienced vomiting or diarrhea, or both, for over three weeks. In addition to cancer, many things can cause these symptoms. Put your pet’s health first and seek help if this is the case.
#7 – Visible Changes Such as Sores or Swelling
It is an unfortunate fact that pet owners often ignore one of the most telling signs of cancer. Any visible change to a pet’s body is usually a sign that something is wrong. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Bodily sores or lesions
- Discoloration of the skin
- Unexplained lameness in a pet’s limb
- Visible masses or tumors
Though they can tell us a lot with a bark or a purr, our pets can’t always tell us when they don’t feel well. Identifying cancer in your pet early on ensures you can provide quality, potentially life-saving treatment. While we at J’adore know, your pal would love a custom pet bed, nothing will make them feel better than being in the best health possible.