Resource Center Menu

How Grooming Can Detect Cancer in Dogs and Other Health Issues

Cancer in dogs can strike any canine. And sometimes, pet parents miss the warning signs. The best way to protect and care for the complete health of your pet is with routine veterinarian visits that identify physical, mental, social, or emotional changes.

In addition, good groomers have been known to help save the lives of many pets. By having systems in place like the “7-Point Pet Care Check” used by Petco stylists, they’re able to point out any clear warning signs of potential health concerns. In some cases, groomers have aided in the early detection of cancer in dogs by noticing both gradual and rapid changes in a pet's physical health.

Since groomers don't see pets as often as pet parents, it's easier for them to spot physical and behavioral differences. They can review a pet’s history and track any differences by logging observational notes during grooming visits. Pointing out possible dog tumors or lumps can be life-saving as pet parents can schedule a follow-up veterinarian appointment.

To perform routine checks on your pet, learn the seven important areas you should focus on and the warning signs to be aware of.

Seven Key Areas Petco Groomers Pay Close Attention to:

1. Eyes: A pet's eye color should be bright. If a pet's eyes are dull in color or have a green or yellow discharge, there may be an underlying issue such as an allergy, infection or something more serious. Bloodshot eyes could signal a health concern as well. However, a dog under stress may have bloodshot eyes, so it's important to evaluate the situation and determine how long the condition has been present.

2. Ears: It's natural for a pet to have an odor to their ears, but when the odor is strong, that’s when you should be concerned. Ears that are swollen, tender, and have discharge are also worth having a veterinarian examine.

3. Teeth: Groomers look for old, decaying teeth and swollen gums, which could be signs of gum disease. But when teeth look healthy and the gums are puffy, it may signal another underlying health issue.

4. Nose: Look for changes in texture and color. A prolonged dry, cracked nose, particularly with the loss of pigmentation, scabs or open sores, calls for veterinarian care as soon as possible. Contact sensitivity and nasal discharge are also signs your pet needs attention.

5. Underside: Swollen anal glands can be a sign that they need to be expressed. If a pet has a negative reaction when touched, have a veterinarian examine the area.

6. Skin and Coat: Groomers run their hands along the pet's body to check for bumps, scrapes, lumps, hot spots, warts and matting. Lumps on dogs or other growths can be a sign of cancer. Have a veterinarian examine any raised surface to know what you’re dealing with.

7. Nails and Pads: Cracked pads typically result from irritants, diet or rough terrain, and are not always indicators of a more serious problem. At the same time, a veterinarian should see your dog if you, or your pet stylist, notice any of these changes.

What to Do if You Notice Warning Signs

Grooming is not a substitute for regular examinations or care from a licensed veterinarian. It is, however, a useful resource to help maintain your dog’s health. Both you and your pet’s groomer can help detect changes in your canine’s physical appearance or behavior that may be a symptom of something more serious. By making observations and paying attention to the seven key areas above, you can assist in spotting cancer in dogs or other health concerns.

When it comes to lumps on dogs or what you may think is a tumor, try not to panic. There are many common types of growths that aren’t life-threatening. You should have a veterinarian examine your pet if you find lumps or notice any of the above warning signs. They can give you a proper diagnosis and come up with a personalized care plan specific to your pet. With the right team of professionals, your dog’s health will be back on track!