A small dog in a superhero cape stands next to a pair of legs

My Dog Knew I Had Cancer Before I Knew

Anyone who thinks dogs lack intelligence has not spent enough time around them. Rather, those of you who are pet owners are often continually moved by what your dog is capable of.

Very little is more impressive than realizing your dog has some understanding that your body has cancer. As Sarah Watts detailed in her story, “Can Dogs Detect Cancer?” it is entirely possible for your dog to be the first line of detection when it comes to disease – without anyone realizing it!

To find out if this rings true in the community, we reached out on the BladderCancer.net Facebook page, posting Watts’ story and soliciting your feedback.

Seventy of you commented, and here is what you shared:

Sniffing areas affected by cancer

Many of you related to Watts’ article. Your dogs kept sniffing the parts of your body that you learned later were affected by cancer. The sniffing may not have made sense at the time, but many of you put things together after you received a diagnosis from your doctor.

“Maggie began smelling my breath more than usual. I turned out to have a lung cancer diagnosis. Had lobectomy end of May. They got it all!”

“Every time I would go around my rottweiler, he put his head and nose in my crotch area. Just a few months later, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.”

“My Japanese Chin knew I had breast cancer before I was diagnosed. He kept sniffing my left side and stayed very close on my lap. I am still in continuous treatment 7 years later, and he can sense when I feel bad after a treatment.”

“My dog kept sniffing where the tumor was.”

Dogs nudging, poking, on laying on the body

Sniffing is just one way dogs seem to convey that something is not right. For some of you, your dogs started to physically nudge, poke, prod, or lay on the area of your body affected by cancer. A few of you also mentioned that once you received treatment, your dogs stopped these behaviors.

“My dog, Kasey, started lying across my lower abdomen whenever I would put him on the bed at night. As soon as I laid down, he would run over and lunge on me and would not get off me until pulled off. A few months later I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He was trying to tell me!”

“My dachshund, Tess, tried to stay on my chest/stomach area before I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After the surgery, she would sniff the incision, but quit trying to lie on top of me. So, yes she knew I had cancer.”

Pets providing physical and emotional support

Several of you shared that your dogs wanted to be as close to you as possible while you underwent treatment. It is a common belief that dogs can sense when something is off, be it emotionally or physically. However they know, it is certainly a relief to have the comfort of a dedicated animal during a difficult time.

“My dog was glued to me during treatment. I am convinced animals sense things we do not.”

“Yes they can! My husband had kidney cancer. Before, during and after diagnosis, our sweet Labrador never left his side!”

“My Chihuahua became much more mom-like just before my diagnosis and began staying in the main sitting area with me rather than her favorite place in the bedroom.”

We want to say thank you to everyone who shared these heartwarming stories about your dogs. We are glad that so many of you had this special kind of support from your pet.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.