When you go to pick up your dog’s poop and notice blood in it, don’t panic—but pay attention. This may be a sign of a serious underlying problem, but there are also some benign causes that may lead to bloody stool as well. Remain calm, bag the poop, and call your vet right away for advice and potentially to schedule an appointment.
Below, we’ll explain some of the most common causes of bloody stool in dogs. Some of these are more serious than others, but you should keep them all in mind as potential causes until your vet can diagnose your dog.
Bright Red Blood in Your Dog’s Stool
Generally speaking, bright red blood is less dangerous than dark red blood in your dog’s stool. However, both can potentially be signs of a major problem, so don’t shrug off blood in your dog’s stool just because it’s bright red.
Bright red blood in the stool is known as hematochezia. It’s important to pay attention to other symptoms your dog may be dealing with when you notice this type of blood in his stool, as they may be further clues to help determine what’s going on with him.
Here are some of the potential causes of bright red blood in your dog’s stool:
Poisons or Toxins
If your dog ingests a poison or a toxin, he may have a significant amount of bright red blood in his stool due to the presence of this substance in his body. If you know or suspect he’s eaten something like this, you need to take him to the vet right away.
If your dog has had an injury that has caused some type of trauma to his digestive system, you may notice this type of blood in his stool. Additionally, if he has somehow managed to injure his anus, you’re likely to see bright red blood on the outside of his stool as well.
IBD or IBS
Dogs who suffer from IBS or IBD can have both types of bloody stool. Early or managed forms of these conditions tend to occur with bright red blood in the stool, however.
Some dogs may develop parasitic infections of the digestive tract. If this happens to your dog, you may notice bright red blood in his stool. You may also see signs of the parasites in his stool or notice him vomiting, having frequent diarrhea, or showing signs of abdominal pain as well.
Anal Sac Infection
Dogs regularly need to have their anal glands expressed. For many dogs, this happens naturally, but some dogs need assistance from a vet or groomer. If your dog’s anal glands aren’t expressed frequently enough, he may develop an infection that can cause bright red blood on the outside of his stool.
Puppies are especially prone to parvovirus, but any dog who isn’t vaccinated for this disease can catch it. Parvovirus is usually accompanied by bloody diarrhea and vomiting as well as lethargy and dehydration. Many puppies die from this disease.
Dark Red to Black Blood in Your Dog’s Stool
Most of the time, dark red to black blood is a serious sign that something is very wrong. You should take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice this type of blood in his stool, and you should strongly consider going to an emergency vet if your regular vet isn’t available at the time.
Dark red to black blood in your dog’s stool is called melena. It’s not always a symptom of something fatal, but it can be, so you need to have your dog checked out right away. Pay attention to other symptoms your dog may be presenting along with this type of stool, as they can help your vet figure out the problem and perform the right tests to treat your dog properly and efficiently.
Here are some of the potential causes of dark red to black blood in your dog’s stool:
Tumors, Both Cancerous and Not
Any type of tumor can potentially cause dark, tarry blood in your dog’s stool. Cancer is more likely to cause this problem, however.
Foreign Object Ingestion
If your dog ingests a foreign object, such as part of a toy or a household item he isn’t supposed to eat, it may cause internal bleeding of the digestive system. This will come out in his stool as digested blood, which looks black and tarry.
This problem will be accompanied by lethargy, vomiting, pain, and sometimes seizure or unresponsiveness. You should take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice these symptoms.
Liver and Kidney Failure
Live and kidney disease and failure both can potentially cause black or dark red blood in your dog’s stool. They may also cause frequent or persistent diarrhea and dehydration. Take your dog to the vet right away if you think this is the problem causing your dog’s bloody stool.
Pancreatitis is a very common condition in dogs. It often comes from eating too many table scraps or fatty foods, but it can be triggered by a variety of causes.
Your vet will diagnose your dog and may provide IV fluids and medication to manage the condition and its symptoms. Your dog will need to rest and recover.
Get Help for Your Dog Immediately If You See Blood in Their Stool
As you can see, the causes of blood in a dog’s stool range from the mild to the very serious. It’s crucial to have your dog evaluated by your vet as soon as possible to determine what could be causing this problem.
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