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Health & Wellness

Here’s why there’s blood in your dog’s poop and pee and what to do about it

It could be a sign something else is up

As a pet parent, it’s important to be on the lookout for changes in your pup's health — which sometimes means keeping tabs on their urine and stool. Blood in a dog’s pee or poop can signal an underlying condition, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, says. Here's what to do after finding blood in a dog’s poop and pee. 

Why is my dog pooping blood? 

According to Dr. McCullough, blood in a dog’s poop signals that there’s bleeding somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract, which is typically caused by an underlying illness. Dogs can produce two types of bloody stool: melena and hematochezia feces. 

Melena, which usually looks black and tarry, means that the blood in a dog’s stool originated in their mouth, esophagus or stomach. There are several causes of melena, including: 

  • Hookworm infections
  • Foreign body ingestion (like chicken bones)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancer
  • Medications like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and steroids
  • Esophagus and stomach inflammation
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Blood clotting abnormalities

Hematochezia, which is typically bright red, happens when there is bleeding in a dog’s lower gastrointestinal tract (like the intestines, rectum or anus). This type of bloody stool can be caused by: 

  • Intestinal parasite, bacterial and viral infections
  • Stress
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Toxin ingestion
  • Foreign body ingestion
  • Cancer
  • Gland infections
  • Trauma
  • Abnormal openings around a dog’s anus, otherwise known as perianal fistulas

Talk to your veterinarian as soon as you notice blood in your dog’s poop. Let them know if your dog is struggling with symptoms of underlying illnesses like straining, diarrhea, soft stool, vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy, weight loss, scooting (can be excessive) or licking around their anus. 

If your pup is acting normal and there’s blood in their poop, still reach out to your veterinarian to determine the cause. 

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How do veterinarians diagnose the underlying illness behind blood in a dog’s poop? 

A veterinarian will likely diagnose the cause of blood by doing blood work, fecal testing, X-rays, abdominal ultrasounds, surgical biopsies and other testing, depending on the severity of the blood, Dr. McCullough says. 

Why is my dog peeing blood? 

When there is blood in a dog’s urine it often turns from a clear, yellow, gold or amber color to a red or pink shade, Dr. McCullough says. Blood in a dog’s urine can be a symptom of an underlying illness, including: 

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Inflammation of the urinary tract
  • A blockage or obstruction in the urinary tract
  • Urinary or bladder stones
  • Injured genitals
  • Cancer
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Heatstroke
  • Kidney disease, inflammation or other disorders
  • Medications
  • Prostate disease
  • Uterine disease

Reach out to your veterinarian after spotting blood in your dog’s urine. Tell them if your dog is experiencing other symptoms like frequent urination, straining while urinating, accidents in your house, excessively licking of the genitals, decreased appetite or thirst and lethargy —  these signs could indicate an underlying illness is the cause of your dog’s bloody urine. 

Even if your pup isn’t showing any other signs of illness, you should always consult your veterinarian when you first notice blood in their urine. 

How do veterinarians diagnose the underlying illness behind blood in a dog’s urine? 

Your veterinarian will likely recommend several tests to determine the cause of the blood in your pup’s urine. “A veterinarian may use blood work and a urinalysis to evaluate kidney function, a urine culture to identify the presence of bacteria, X-rays, an abdominal ultrasound or other advanced testing may be needed,” Dr. McCullough explains. 

What are treatment options for blood in dogs’ urine and poop? 

When a dog has blood in their stool or urine, the treatment options depend on the underlying cause. Once your veterinarian finds the reason behind the blood, they’ll recommend the correct treatment path for your pet. 

How to prevent blood in a dog’s urine or stool

According to Dr. McCullough, there’s no way to prevent blood from appearing in your dog’s urine. However, you can talk to your vet about ways to avoid bloody stool. 

“In some cases, bloody stool can be prevented by feeding a complete and balanced diet, maintaining proper parasite control and avoiding stressful situations,” Dr. McCullough says.

Photo by Freestocks on Unsplash

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