Izzy the beagle

My now 6-year-old beagle, Izzy, resting at home. She's got an engaging smile, but she frowns every time I try to take her photo!

Our resident beagle, Izzy, has been acting out of sorts. Basically, she's messed in the house, and she hasn't done that since I rescued her in 2010.

Yes, I know about infections in female dogs. I believe this is more a result of separation anxiety. We do hire babysitters for this very friendly, and gentle hound; but she does seem to get lonely during our absences, no matter how often she sees the sitters.

Today, I got an e-mail from the publicist of a pet food company based in Georgia. It seems that pet cancer awareness is now dedicated to the month of November. The National Canine Cancer Foundation says that cancer accounts for about half the deaths in dogs over 10 years old.

Cancers of the skin, lymph nodes, gastrointestinal tract, blood and bone are the most common in our beloved pets.

Here are some of the early-warning signs:

  • New lumps and bumps — New spots and lumps on your pet do not necessarily mean cancer. Take your pet into your vet to have the spot biopsied to determine if it’s malignant or benign.
  • Change in appetite — Pets suffering from cancer frequently experience a change in appetite and most commonly, rapidly lose weight. This reaction can be tied to difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Depression — A sudden shift in mood is one symptom of cancer. Depression and an unwillingness to be active and exercise are reported as signs of cancer.