PRNewswire - The reality is that, just as with humans, cancer can strike any pet, and sometimes a pet parent can miss warning signs. The best way to protect and care for the complete health of your pet is with routine veterinary visits that can identify physical, mental, social or emotional changes.
In addition, groomers have saved the lives of numerous pets by noticing both gradual and rapid changes in a pet's physical health, helping to identify cancer in its early stages. In honor of Pet Cancer Awareness Month, Petco is sharing its 7-Point Grooming Check-In used by their groomers to help pet parents recognize red flags.
Groomers don't see the pet as frequently as a pet parent, so it's easier for them to spot physical and behavioral differences. By logging notes on the pet's health during each grooming visit, they can compare notes from previous visits and track any differences. The information is shared with pet parents so they can take their pet to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Below are the seven key areas Petco groomers pay close attention to:
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 an issue, as well. However, a dog that is stressed may have bloodshot eyes, so it's important to evaluate the situation and determine how long the condition has been present.
Ears: It's natural for a pet to have an odor to its ears, but when the odor is strong, there may be an issue. Ears that are swollen, tender and have discharge are also critical red flags.
Nose: Look for changes in texture and color. A prolonged dry, cracked nose, particularly with loss of pigmentation, scabs or open sores, should be examined by your veterinarian sooner rather than later. Contact sensitivity and nasal discharge are also warning signs.
Mouth: Groomers, of course, 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.
Paws: Cracked pads typically result from irritants, diet or rough terrain, and are not necessarily indicators of a more serious problem. However, the pet should still be seen by a veterinarian.
Skin & Coat: Groomers run their hands along the pet's body to check for bumps, scrapes, lumps, hot spots, warts and matting. Lumps or other growths can be a sign of cancer. Any raised surface should be examined by a veterinarian.
Underside: Swollen anal glands can be a sign that they need to be expressed, but if a pet reacts negatively to being touched, have a veterinarian examine the area.
If any of the above warning signs are present, have the pet examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.