Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs: How Dangerous Is It?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Seeing blood anywhere near your dog is not a comfortable feeling, especially if it comes out of his body. In this article, you will find everything on bloody diarrhea in dogs including causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

Bloody diarrhea in dogs is not something that should be ignored. This condition can set a dog in massive pain, and dog owners into frequent visits to the vet’s office as well as regular cleaning.

In most cases, bloody diarrhea in dogs is a sign of an underlying cause.

If your dog has bloody diarrhea or you just found blood in the dog’s stool and you are not sure what it means then this article is for you.

In this article, we will explain what are the most common reasons for blood in dog stool, why bloody diarrhea in dogs occurs, and what are the best ways to diagnose bloody diarrhea in dogs, plus how it is commonly treated.

Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs

Blood belongs in blood vessels, so when you notice it anywhere around your dog, you should be worried – and with good reason.

Blood in dog stool is a symptom of a wide range of mild and severe conditions, some being more or less serious than others.

The very first thing that you should do if you notice any trail of blood in your dog’s stool is to call your veterinarian.

This should be your first step regardless of your dog having a loose (like diarrhea) or forming a stool.

Since dogs can’t speak human language and tell us what’s wrong, their body will do that for them by showing us the issue.

All in all, finding blood in dog poop is alarming, and a clear sign that your canine is in trouble.

Your veterinarian will ask you to describe your dog’s stool.

This is a good way for your veterinarian to know what might you be facing and if you should give some medicine to your pooch immediately.

That being said there are two types of bloody diarrhea in dogs:

  • hematochezia
  • melena

1. Hematochezia In Dogs

Hematochezia is another name for bright red blood. Although it seems worrying, it’s not a sign of a life-threatening illness.

If you notice a single line of red blood in your dog’s stool, while the rest of the poop is normal, it just might be a coincidence.

Still, you should contact your veterinarian.

Possible causes of melena in dogs include:

  • Trauma
  • Toxins
  • Colitis
  • Parasites, such as hookworms
  • Anal sac infections or impactions
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

On the other hand, this can be a sign of severe conditions that actually can cause bloody diarrhea or bloody stool including parvovirus, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and even cancer.

To diagnose any of these conditions, a veterinarian may perform a series of diagnostic tests (blood work or fecal examination) to help determine the cause of the bleeding.

Quick tip: But if you know for sure that your dog has been exposed to parvovirus, call ahead before you bring him into the emergency room, so they can prepare the room in a way to limit the spread of infection.

2. Melena In Dogs

Melena in dogs is seen as a dark sticky stool, almost jelly-like.

If this is the case, know that this blood has been digested or even swallowed, meaning that your dog has a problem in the upper digestive tract.

Not sure whether your dog’s stool contains any blood traces? Use a paper towel and wipe it to see if the color is reddish.

Melena in dogs is always more difficult to notice than bright red blood.

Also, some dogs have naturally darker stool than others, depending on various factors, including the dog’s diet.

If you think that your dog’s stool is darker than usual, contact your veterinarian.

Possible causes of melena in dogs include:

  • Ulcers
  • Parasites
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Exposure to toxins

Of course, your dog may show other symptoms as well, if he suffers from one of these conditions.

Weakness, vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, blood in the urine and even difficulty breathing can all mean serious conditions that simply call for immediate veterinary intervention.

Also, if your dog shows any of these signs when you first introduce a medicine to him, make sure that you contact your veterinarian and inform him about the situation.

Diagnosing Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs

Bloody diarrhea is primarily identified by inspecting the stool.

Of course, it’s the easiest to spot the bright red blood in the stool, but it can be hard dot spot it if the stool is dark.

If very small blood is suspected, your veterinarian will primarily perform a test called a ‘fecal occult blood test’ that says whether or not blood is detected in the feces.

When it comes to diagnosing the underlying cause of a dog’s bloody diarrhea, the examination will be slightly heavier.

The veterinarian will need a dog’s complete health history and physical examination.

To set the proper diagnosis, the veterinarian might perform:

  • X-rays: to check for anything unusual in the digestive tract and the abdomen.
  • Ultrasound: to show organs and see their condition. Ultrasound is a great and non-painful way to evaluate soft tissue organs and evaluate fluid-filled organs. This should show the dog’s kidney, liver, spleen, testicles, prostate, heart, ovaries/uterus, and so on.
  • Tissue biopsies: to show if your dog is cancer-free or not. In most cases, veterinarians can do biopsies in their offices.
  • Blood work: to show a complete blood count. This is a great way to show the dog’s status on anemia, blood clotting, infection, and overall dog’s hydration status.
  • Urine analysis: to show chemical and physical properties of urine. This test is mainly used to assess the health of the kidneys and urinary system. This test can also discover problems in other organ systems.

Questions Your Veterinarian Might Ask About Your Dog’s Bloody Diarrhea

As soon as you come to the veterinarian’s office you can expect some questions.

By asking you these questions veterinarians will understand the problem better and diagnose the issue faster.

  • When did you notice the blood in dog’s stools for the first time?
  • Has this happened before?
  • If yes, for how long?
  • Does your dog roam free?
  • If yes, how often and where?
  • Is your dog lethargic?
  • Is your dog vomiting?
  • Is your dog drinking water and eating normally?
  • Do you suspect that your dog ate something that he shouldn’t?
  • Once the diagnosis is completed, the veterinarian will advise a certain treatment that should help your dog.

    Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs: Treatment

    Just like any other condition, treatment will depend on the cause of bloody diarrhea.

    If your dog has a foreign body or cancer, surgical intervention will be mandatory.

    On the other hand, if your dog suffers from treat diseases or parasites, you can expect to treat your dog every day with medications, to relieve symptoms and provide much-needed support.

    In cases, when a dog is highly dehydrated or anemic, he will need blood products and enough fluids.

    Know that this is a condition that demands your care. Therefore, think about living and managing your dog’s life quality while he is in treatment.

    The first thing that you could do to improve your dog’s life quality is to maintain proper nutrition and improve his new condition as much as possible.

    Secondly, you should provide healing time and follow the veterinarian’s advice on water and food.

    Monitor your dog’s behavior in the first seven days or more if needed.

    Thirdly, provide a bland diet for a period of three to seven days, followed by a return to the dog’s normal diet.

    If needed, your veterinarian will advise you on any special diet.

    Can You Prevent Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs

    Some diseases are more preventable than others. When it comes to preventing bloody diarrhea in your dog, you can’t do too much.

    The best way to prevent a dog from developing bloody diarrhea is to make slow food transitions, keep toxins and foreign objects away from his reach and monitor his stress level.

    Make sure that you provide appropriate food, and use intestinal parasites.

    From the scientific side, some veterinarians have emphasized the importance of restoring intestinal microflora through food additives to prevent the infection from recurring.

    A good way to prevent anything in dogs is to have regular check-ups with a veterinarian.

    Since dogs are emotional beings who can feel pain and happiness, know that stress can also affect their physical health.

    Dogs are not stressed too often as long as they have a safe environment, but when they are stressed it may lead to colitis.

    How long does bloody diarrhea last in dogs? In general, bloody diarrhea shouldn’t last more than a day or two.

    In some more severe cases, when a dog’s gastrointestinal tract for example is in big problem, the dog’s blood poop can last longer.

    Stress colitis is a specific condition that causes mild to strong inflammation in the colon.

    As result, dogs may experience diarrhea in dogs.

    Can I Treat My Dog’s Bloody Stool At Home?

    It is not uncommon for dog owners to reach home remedies to deal with certain conditions.

    It is not uncommon for dog owners to deal with fleas with some vinegar, while it is not advised by a veterinarian.

    Some conditions, like bloody diarrhea in dogs, should only be treated with strict veterinarian guidance.

    What home remedy is good for a dog with bloody diarrhea? If you want to try natural treatments make sure that you discuss it with your veterinarian first.

    A common home remedy for everything stomach-related in dogs is a balanced diet of plain chicken and rice.

    Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs – Conclusion

    Blood in your dog’s stool may appear for numerous reasons and you should address this problem properly.

    Blood should only be in blood vessels and if seen anywhere else it’s a call for help.

    This is a concerning condition and if your dog has blood in stool contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice blood marks. This is a 100% certain way to help your dog.

    Your dog has a regular stool in general, but out of a sudden, your dog has diarrhea with blood and you don’t know what to do. Again: call your veterinarian.

    Let’s what other dog owners want to know when it comes to blood in a dog’s stool.

    Frequently Asked Question On – Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs

    1. How Do You Treat Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs?

    Bloody stool in dogs isn’t something that should be ignored.

    The best way to help your dog with bloody diarrhea is to contact your veterinarian. After several tests, you should know the cause of why your dog has blood in the stool.

    Know that the treatment will always depend on the reason for the blood in diarrhea.

    If the blood is a result of eating garbage or something else that could upset his stomach, your veterinarian may recommend medication and a special diet for a period of a few days.

    On the other hand, if your dog has parasites, your veterinarian might prescribe simple medications to deworm your dog and explain your future steps on how to safely keep your dog clean from parasites.

    2. What Can Cause Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs?

    Many conditions can cause the appearance of blood in the stool.

    Some of them are parvovirus, bacterial and viral infections, and possibly cancer.

    3. Is Bloody Diarrhea In Dogs An Emergency?

    There is not just one type of diarrhea. Therefore, there is no single cause for this appearance.

    Is bloody diarrhea in dogs an emergency? Simply said, yes.

    Bloody diarrhea in dogs is an emergency and you should contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice any trace of blood.

    When should I take my dog to the vet for bloody diarrhea?

    Whenever you notice anything unusual in your dog’s behavior or unusual body reaction such as blood in poop, strong and intense drooling, lack of appetite, or weakness, you should contact your veterinarian.

    4. Why Would A Dog Have Bloody Diarrhea?

    There are many reasons why your dog may start having bloody diarrhea.

    The most common reason is often due to foodborne illness. This can be a sign of a potentially fatal disease, so contact your veterinarian immediately.

    5. Why Are My Puppy’s Poop Runny And Bloody?

    This is usually a sign of parasites, but if you want to know the answer to the question ‘why is my dog pooping blood and diarrhea’ you need to contact your veterinarian.

    The other most common reason for bloody diarrhea is hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, usually followed by diarrhea and vomiting. This condition can cause large amounts of blood in stools.

    What should I do if my dog has bloody diarrhea? React immediately and contact your veterinarian.

    Make sure that you monitor your dog closely and tell your veterinarian as it may help provide the right diagnosis.