Together we will beat cancer


Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

8 Aug 2016 10:10

You may have seen the sweet story in the news this week about a dog who sniffed out cancer.

A mother and father have credited their daughter’s early diagnosis of leukaemia to their pet border collie’s protective behaviour, which prompted them to take her to the doctor.

Dogs’ super sensitive sniffers are well known to us, but could their noses also help detect cancer? A trial looking into this was launched in the UK last year and you can read more on our blog.

Do your pets seem to have a sixth sense? Every now and then we hear about animals’ extraordinary abilities and I know my cat always seems to know if I’m upset about something. Have you ever been amazed at something your pet has sensed? We’d love to hear your stories.

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

8 Aug 2016 23:27 in response to Moderator Renata

Hi there

on August 15th I will be two years post treatment for throat cancer .... Yipeeeee

before I was diagnosed in April 2014 my Labrador just kept coming up to me and resting her head on my knew whilst I sat on the sofa.

this happened for about 4-6 months before I was diagnosed

i kept asking her "what's wrong" not that she was ever going to answe me.

My wife and two teenage kids thought there might be something wrong with her and that she was coming to the pack leader for help (my god, if my lab thought I was the pack leader in my house, then she was vastly mistaken), well that's what I put it down to

she would not do anything when she lay her head on my lap apart from just look up at me with those big brown eyes

she never did this with anyone else, neither had she done it to me in the previous five years from a pup.

she was also very attentive whilst I went through my treatment

she comes up to me still, but now it's for a stroke .... It's more physical and it's what she does to all family members

did she know something? Maybe.

It was certainly strange behaviour that she has not exhibited since .... Thank god

do I believe she knew something was wrong ? ..... I think so

she does put me on edge a bit now days when she put her head on my lap ..... But those eyes that look at me are not the same .... This time it's for love, food, or play .... Not concern


Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

10 Sep 2016 04:03 in response to Vatch

We very recently aquired a new puppy, we waited 2 yrs for her so she was much wanted and loved from day one. Since my husband has been diagnosed she insists on sitting on him at every opportunity, she is usually a nibbler and quite bouncy however now all she wants to do to my husband (Ian) is snuggle and **** him, she insists on laying her head on his opperation site as if she is listening as to what is going on inside, she also knows when ive had a good snivel as she washes my face and covers me with puppy kisses.

I think she knows that its not business as usual  x

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

10 Sep 2016 14:12 in response to Moderator Renata

Hi Renata, I can't point to any one incident that my pup or (pups) may have done that would raise that question, but what they, (now just one pup) would do when I wasn't feeling well. We had two shelties when I was first diagnosed and after I was recovering from surgeries, or dealing with the effects of treatment, they would lie by my bed, or my recliner chair. (My avatar is a picture of my one sheltie that I have left.) He now stays close to me most of the time and will often nuzzle me for a comforting pat or head rub. He is also getting old and struggles with health issues himself, but he never complains. I have also alerted my Vet that I need him to be available to my dog, (Toby) if he gets really ill and in a lot of pain, or if I get to the point where I, or my husband can't care for him. I have always had pets in my life and they are a comforting and loving companion all of the time. They ask for very little in life and they are very forgiving when having to wait for attention if life issues, (such as illness of their caregiver) get in the way. Their love and loyalty is unconditional.


Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

11 Sep 2016 22:21 in response to Moderator Renata

Yes dogs can defo sniff out cancer. I have a German shep/collie. hes very inteligent. He can sense when i am low and tired. Before I went for the mamogram which later confirmed Breast cancer he sat on my gas lift chair ( yes he can jump up there) and he put his head down between my chest and was there for ages just closing his eyes, when i came out hosp after the surgery he slept on my bed ( something he never is usually allowed to do) and now 5 months later having radio T he sniffs the bad side but not much interested in the good one ! so hope its all out !

He is extremly inteligent, tonight I was having a moan at him because he broke the key in the lock of my front door by jumping up and as i told him off he had his head down on the front step in shame ! lol  i think he knew he had done it and could see his mum out with the drill etc. 

I talk to my dog like hes a human, even thou hes only 2 years old dogs have the capasity to learn at least 350 words and phrases. !

Defo sixth sence.

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

7 Nov 2016 11:02 in response to Moderator Renata

I'm not sure it's sixth sense. I think dogs literally smell the tumour. My niece has a lovely golden retriever, Sally. After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it clicked why Sal had acted oddly on two recent occasions, when she had stood on her hind legs, wrapped her forelegs around my waist and laid her head on my breast. She'd never done it before and hasn't since. My cat Harry shows no such signs of empathy or concern but that's cats for you.

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

7 Nov 2016 11:43 in response to vainbear
There are alot of trials ive seen on TV atm training dogs to sniff out cancer. Im convinced my dog knew. Only thing is now i get paronoid when he keeps still sniffing the one i had surgery on. They are also very aware of wounds i believe, when i came out of hosp he was so gentle. Same here with my cats such users ! lol. only want me for body warmth and food. SUzie

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

1 Jan 2017 20:38 in response to Moderator Renata
Totally. One of my dogs kept coming up and sniffing my nose for months. As soon as I got back from surgery (which removed all of the cancer, which hadn't spread) she came and sniffed as she has been doing and has never done it since. I'm relying on her for early warning if it comes back

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

2 Jan 2017 10:34 in response to Moderator Renata

Some dogs definitely can. There was a stand at the Britain Against Cancer conference which included a retriever trained to do just that.

My own labrador has similar behaviour to that described by Vatch. She puts her head on my  knee and looks me straight in the eye. Sadly she does this whenever she wants feeding, needs to have a wee or thinks it is time for a walk. She was very quiet when I was on chemo but her insistence ongoing for a regular walk was a probably factor in my physical recovery, as otherwise I would have spent the day idling on the sofa feeling sorry for myself.



Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

7 Jan 2017 23:06 in response to Moderator Renata

We lost our lovely old boy in October last year.  My husband and he were like the human and kanine versions of each other and shared an incredible bond.  Our dog had a (what turned out to be cancerous) lump on the side of his neck.  In early June, he became very ill overnight.  One day he was just great, the next terribly unwell.  Tests confirmed he had cancer in his liver as well as the lump in his neck.  We nursed him back to a semblance of health (he still had lots of quality of life, not to mention the will) but he died in early October.  A couple of weeks before he died, my husband found a lump in his throat in the same place and on the same side as our old boy's lump.  A needle biopsy confirmed cancer in the glands and a CT scan identified a tumour at the base of his tongue.  A nurse told us it is T1.  He's two thirds through the chemo and radio now but I'm convinced our old dog not only knew my husband had cancer but also tried to keep going to support him.  

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

7 Jan 2017 23:42 in response to Moderator Renata

My cat knows me very well and he knows when I'm tired or energetic and what I love is he makes his mood like mine. When I had cancer it was the first time he really ever slept in my bed (With his head on the pillow next to mine) and when I would get down very rarely but when I did he would sit on my lap and it was as if he mourned which really surprised me but touched my heart immensely. Animals are very smart and lovable when they want to be ! 

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

23 Jan 2017 11:04 in response to Moderator Renata

My mam was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer end of September 2016 but prior to this a couple of months prior her dog became obsessed with being around her neck area when mam was sitting on the settee and if she was in bed. Definitely think they can sense 

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

23 Jan 2017 11:54 in response to Moderator Renata


My grandmother who sadly passed away last August from lung cancer had a poodle who, prior to her diagnosis of cancer in March, never left her side. The dog had separation anxiety ever since my grandmother picked her up from a rescue centre 6 years ago, so she was always on her lap or hovering around her feet. She would never leave my grandmother out of sight of longer than 30 seconds. It used to be quite sad to watch, but she kept my grandmother company and she always had something to hug (often smothered with kisses!)

My grandmother was diagnosed in March, and in June/July, she began to steadily get worse. It got to the stage where her dog who, as I said, was previously unable to leave her side, now no longer sat anywhere near my grandmother. She stopped kissing her on the face, stopped getting on her lap (she would sit with someone else or on the chair opposite) ... in fact, she wouldn't even look at her. On many occasions, we picked her up and put her on my Nan's lap, but she would immediately jump off. We were convinced that she could smell the illness in my Nan and she didn't like it, hence why she couldn't stand to be anywhere near her. Very, very sad, but interesting nonetheless!

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

11 Mar 2017 23:17 in response to Moderator Renata


I don't have a dog myself, but my stepson and his wife had two (one passed away last autumn).  Both are rescue dogs, one of which was frightened of men and was very attached to my daughter-in-law.  Before being diagnosed with bowel cancer in July, I had noticed that when we went round to their house, both dogs seemed to pay me a lot of attention. The labrador wanted me to throw and play tug of war and the basset would leave her favourite place on the settee and snuggle up to me where I was sitting.  At meal times both dogs are moved out of the dining area and on one occasion the basset groweld and snapped at my daughter-in-law as she tried to move her away from me.  

Four weeks before I was diagnosed, we spent a week with them on holiday including both dogs.  At this point I had been seen by my GP and was waiting to see a consultant to try and find out why I was anaemic. My daughter-in-law joked that Jodie, the basset was a traitor as she spent most of the week snuggling up to me rather than her 'mum'.  The labrador would also come and sit next to me on the sofa or would sit on my feet or lean up against me.  I commented that I was very honored to have all this attention from both of them.  

Although I had heard many stories about dogs being aware of serious illnesses, it was not until after I was diagnosed and Bella the lab would still fuss round me that we began to wonder if both the dogs knew before we did.

I have received chemoradiotherapy and chemo and I am just about to have my operation to remove the tumour.  Bella has displayed one unusual bit of behaviour which she has done only once about two weeks ago. She gave my bottom a good sniff as if she was checking things out.  I know my tumour has shrunk quite a bit so maybe whatever she sensed before is not as strong or gone altogether.  

It would be great if research could find out what it is that dogs sense relating to illnesses.

Do you think your pet has a sixth sense?

7 Nov 2019 12:04 in response to Diane1946


My cat always follows me around and now I am having  chemo. The first night after my cycles she cries all night even when I cuddle her . I'm sure she can smell chemo as I can.