Blood in Stool: What it Means for Your Dog

by Vijay Nair, VMD

Have you ever noticed blood in your dog’s stool? Did it alarm you? Does it happen a lot? Sometimes, blood in your dog’s stool is nothing to be worried about, and it’s the result of a simple problem that will get better on its own in just a few days. However, in other instances, there may be a much more severe underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

Vets seeing pet for blood in dog stool

If you notice blood in your dog’s stool, the most important thing to do is remain calm. Pay attention to any other symptoms she may have, and be sure to contact your vet if you think anything is out of the ordinary. Take a look at the information below to give you a better idea of what to expect and when to be concerned if your dog has bloody stool.

Potential Causes of Red Blood in Dog Stool

If your dog’s stool contains blood that is bright red, there are a few explanations that may mean there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, if you only notice this happen once—and if the amount of blood present in the stool isn’t substantial—you can probably just ignore it, or bring it up with your vet at your dog’s next regularly scheduled appointment.

Hemorrhoids or Other Irritations

A little bit of bright red blood on the outside of the stool may indicate hemorrhoids or other irritation near the outside of the anus. If your dog will let you, take a look at see if you notice anything that could have caused the problem visible on the outside of her body.

Enlarged Anal Glands

Enlarged anal glands can sometimes cause a small amount of bright red blood in your dog’s poop. If you think this might be the case, you’ll need to have them expressed by a groomer or a vet.

Serious Illnesses

If your dog’s stool is bright red and also watery, this is more of a cause for concern. Bright red, bloody diarrhea is a symptom of several illnesses that are unfortunately not uncommon in dogs. Many of these illnesses are fatal, so your dog needs to be seen by a vet right away.

If your dog is still a puppy, take her to the vet immediately even if you only notice a small amount of red in her stool. There’s a chance she could have parvovirus. This can be fatal to puppies and must be treated by a professional right away.

Potential Causes of Black Blood in Dog Stool

Black blood in your dog’s stool has come from somewhere further up in the digestive tract, usually near the stomach. This is often a sign of a much more serious problem that needs to be handled by your vet right away.

Some of these problems can be treated if they’re caught early enough, so don’t put off taking your dog to be checked out if you notice black or tarry stool.

Tumors in the Digestive System

Dogs may develop black stool if they have tumors in their digestive system. This can sometimes be a symptom of cancer in dogs as well, so if you notice black stool, try to keep in mind that this is always a possibility. However, it’s not the only possibility, so try not to panic.

Ingested a Toxic Substance

Dogs that have ingested a toxic substance may have black blood present in their stool as well. If you think there’s any chance this could have happened to your dog, take her to the vet immediately and let them know what you think she might have eaten.

Kidney Failure

Dogs with kidney failure are prone to having black blood in their stool. If your dog is suffering from kidney failure, he will have many other symptoms and will be extremely sick. You may already know it if this is something your dog is going through, because he could have an existing condition that could lead to kidney failure. Regardless, take him to the vet if you think this could be the case.

Pancreatitis or Inflammatory Bowel Disease

In some cases, dogs may have black stool from pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease. Both of these conditions are very treatable in dogs, and they can be managed over the course of your dog’s life by following your vet’s guidelines. These conditions do not have to be fatal for your dog, especially if she gets quick and regular vet treatment.

Potential Treatments for Blood in Dog Stool

Depending on the cause, there may be a variety of treatments you can expect when dealing with blood in your dog’s stool. However, before a treatment plan can be determined, your pet must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible so they can find the underlying cause of why this is happening to your pet. Some of the tests a veterinarian might conduct to find out why your dog has blood in their stool include, but are not limited to:

  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Endoscopies
  • Blood work
  • Fecal tests
  • Urine tests

Seek Advice for Blood in Your Dog’s Stool

Blood in your dog’s stool can be a scary sight, and it’s true that in some cases, this is not a good symptom to see. However, in many situations, the problem can be treated easily by the vet or even by simply just waiting for it to heal on its own. This doesn’t necessarily mean your dog is fatally ill, but since there’s always that possibility, getting a professional opinion is crucial, as quickly as possible.

When your dog has blood in her stool, you should always speak with your vet about the problem right away. Be receptive and responsive to any treatments they prescribe, and your dog is likely to be on the mend soon.

At VEG, you will always speak with a compassionate emergency vet who is ready to help you with treating any illness your pet may be experiencing. Our veterinarians will offer advice on how to proceed with caring for your pet and will provide the treatment your pet needs.

nair
Regional Medical Director and Technology Czar

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