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Health & Wellness

11 common causes of blood in dog throw up

Here's what to do after you call your vet.

When your dog throws up, it's understandably concerning. However, when you spot blood in their vomit, that adds another layer of worry. Blood in throw up isn't always an emergency, but it's best to take your dog to the vet’s office as soon as possible. 

Our on-staff veterinarian is sharing the 11 possible causes of blood dog vomit and some necessary things to do while you’re waiting for your vet appointment. 

Is it considered a medical emergency if my dog is vomiting blood?

Even though it’s understandably alarming, it isn’t always a medical emergency when dogs throw up blood, Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian. However, you should still see your vet as soon as possible, especially if they’re showing other symptoms. 

“Dogs who are vomiting blood repeatedly, or those who are weak, lethargic, in pain or have trouble breathing may need to be seen urgently,” Dr. Singler adds. 

While you wait to see a vet, don’t allow your dog to eat or drink anything and monitor them closely for any changes in their behavior or temperament. It’s also a good idea to determine if they could have eaten or been exposed to anything that would’ve contributed to the bleeding to share with the vet, Dr. Singler recommends.

Why is my dog throwing up blood? 

When dogs vomit blood, it’s usually not the vomit that induces the bleeding. Instead, blood in the vomit is typically caused by an underlying condition, such as:

  • Gastritis (aka stomach lining irritation)
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
  • Infections like parvovirus
  • Parasites
  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers
  • Eating household objects or foreign things that aren’t food
  • Blood in the airways that gets mixed with vomit
  • Esophagus diseases
  • Toxins
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Cancer

Rather than trying to determine the cause at home, seek veterinary care as soon as possible to ensure your dog gets treatment for the bleeding’s underlying cause.

RELATED: Why is my dog throwing up yellow?

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What does blood in dog throw up look like?

The appearance of blood in dog vomit varies from pet to pet.

“Blood in vomit can be anything from a few red spots in an otherwise clear fluid to vomit that is only bright red blood, and in some cases, even blood clots,” Dr. Singler says.

How is vomit in blood treated?

The first step to finding the right treatment option is figuring out what’s causing the blood in your dog’s vomit. Once the underlying cause is determined, your veterinarian will recommend a specific solution.

“Treatment may include nausea and vomiting medication, fluids to correct dehydration, surgery to remove a foreign object or biopsy a tumor, hospitalization, medication to protect the stomach lining and intestines or other treatment based on the cause of the bloody vomiting,” Dr. Singler explains.

Blood in your dog’s vomit can’t always be prevented, but some underlying causes of bloody vomit can. Keeping your dog on regular parasite prevention is one measure you can take, Dr. Singler says. Feeding your dog quality food and avoiding human snacks or diet changes will also help to keep their stomach happy. 

Keep toxic items, medications and foreign objects out of your dog’s reach as best as you can. Regular exercise and routine vaccines and vet visits are also great preventative measures, Dr. Singler says.

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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