Keeping our pets healthy and happy is the ultimate goal of every pet owner. Many factors go into this goal: grooming, exercise, nutrition, preventing illnesses, watching for symptoms, and more. Some signs of illness require more urgent action than others. When it comes to the stomach and digestive issues, these are almost always a major concern. Digestive issues can range in severity and cause and can be miserable for your dog to experience- which no dog owner wants their pup to have to go through.
Stomach issues can range greatly in symptoms. They can include bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and even bloody stool. Bloody dog poop can be very alarming for any dog owner to experience. It can be triggered by several things, which can dictate the proper treatment route that needs to be taken. Nevertheless, this occurrence can still be a cause of panic for any dog owner, especially when it seems to come out of nowhere.
So, what does blood in your dog’s poop look like? When is it a cause for concern and what can you do about it? We’ll go over all of the dog poop basics when it comes to bloody stool, what to look for, and what to do if this issue does arise. By the end of this article, you’re sure to feel confident about what you should do if this condition ever affects your beloved pup.
What Does Bloody Dog Poop Look Like?
Recognizing blood in your dog’s poop can either be very obvious and easy to spot or difficult when hidden. Bloody dog stool can have different appearances depending on the cause and the amount of blood within the stool. To understand what this looks like, it’s important to be familiar with what dog poop should look like. Knowing what unhealthy and healthy dog poop look like will help you differentiate the two, and seek medical care if needed.
Healthy Dog Poop
Healthy dog poop can be analyzed by four factors, known as the four C’s: color, consistency, content, and coating. Typically, healthy dog stool is a chocolate brown color. The color may vary slightly depending on food and other aspects of health. Overall, it should always be a medium brown color. Any additional colors may be a cause for concern and may symbolize blood or other contents within the stool.
Consistency is another reliable indicator of how healthy your dog’s gut is. Consistency can be rated on a scale of one to seven, with seven being extremely hard stool and one being liquid. In general, dog stool should be between two and three. The stool should be soft enough to easily pass but still have form and shape. A stool that is too hard can be a sign of dehydration, and diarrhea and soft stool can be a sign of digestive issues.
Content of dog poop should mostly consist of remnants of anything they have digested, such as treats, dog food, and water. Aside from that, some dogs may have foreign objects in their poop if they have gotten into something they weren’t meant to eat, such as food wrappers or rocks. Blood is another commonly seen content of dog poop that should be watched for. If you notice recurring unwanted contents in your dog’s poop, be sure to contact your vet.
The coating is the final aspect of poop that can indicate good or poor health. Dog poop should never be coated with mucous or leave any sort of trail behind when picked up. Mucous can be a sign of inflammation, that may also cause vomiting, lethargy, and appetite decrease. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, be sure to contact your vet.
Bloody Dog Poop
While healthy poop has common characteristics, so does bloody dog poop. Bloody poop can look bright red or darker, resembling black tar. Fresh blood that’s bright red typically indicates bleeding in the lower digestive tract, and darker or black blood indicates bleeding within the upper digestive tract. Some dog stools may only have a small amount of blood, while other bowel movements may have more. Blood is typically visual to the eye of the owner unless it’s a very small amount.
Dog poop with blood may only happen once, which can signal ingestion of blood from something small, such as a cut in the mouth or a lost puppy tooth. If this occurrence is recurring or has an abundance of blood in any bowel movement, this is when it can become a cause for concern. So while the type of blood that’s in dog poop is important to track, how often and how much this has happened is as well.
Bloody Poop Causes
We all want to keep our dogs healthy and happy- which means keeping a vigilant eye out for any symptoms that may be a sign of underlying conditions. As with many symptoms, various causes can trigger bloody dog poop. Knowing what causes may be affecting your dog is the first step to getting them on track to being healthy again. We’ll take a look at some of the most common causes of bloody dog poop.
Colitis is a disease that consists of inflammation of the colon’s inner lining. This condition can be caused by Inflammatory Bowel Disease, infection, loss of blood supply in the colon, and even stress. Stressful events in your dog’s environment, such as moving homes or being boarded, can trigger bloody stool caused by colitis. In addition, anxiety-inducing factors such as fireworks or traveling, and even separation anxiety from being left home alone, can also cause colitis. This condition will produce bright red blood in the stool. If you notice your dog has bloody stool after one or more of these experiences, be sure to talk to your vet about possible colitis.
An intestinal parasite is a very serious health concern for any dog owner. Parasites are a concern for both dogs and humans, which can be at risk of developing these. Hookworms and other parasites can infest your dog’s digestive tract and cause bloody stool. If you notice your dog has worms in their poop as well as blood, be sure to notify your vet as soon as possible.
Diet can be a common cause of bloody dog poop. Many foods are toxic for dogs but not for humans, such as almonds, chocolate, grapes, and more. Rat poison that has been left in the neighborhood or yard can even be a possible toxin that has caused bloody stool. If your dog accidentally gets ahold of one of these toxic foods, it can cause havoc in their digestive tract and even lead to bloody stool. Sudden bloody stool and other upset stomach symptoms should be a cause for taking a deeper look at anything new your dog has eaten.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a gastrointestinal condition that affects both humans and dogs. This condition can be very painful and is triggered by different foods and factors. If your dog has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, you may notice that they experience some bloody stool. Excessive bloody stool should always be mentioned to your vet.
Anal sacs are a part of your dog’s anatomy that help them spread pheromones and pass a hard stool. These anal sacs need to be regularly maintained to avoid infections or impactions. Without this proper care, they may lead to bloody stool and other issues. Anal sac maintenance is one of the biggest benefits of having your dog regularly groomed. A professional groomer will easily be able to clean your dog’s anal sacs and prevent any issues.
Hormone functioning and regulation take place throughout your dog’s body and are responsible for many aspects of their health. Hormonal imbalances are another common cause of bloody stool. These imbalances can take place due to various issues, such as Addison’s Disease or thyroid disease. When hormonal imbalances cause bloody stool, they typically occur higher up in the digestive tract and produce black poop.
Pancreatitis is a very serious condition that can affect a large number of dogs. Having a diet that is overly saturated in dietary fats can lead to swelling and irritation of the pancreas, also known as pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can cause bloody dog poop and other unwanted symptoms. To avoid pancreatitis, minimize the human foods that you feed your dogs and be sure to keep them on a high-quality canine diet.
Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis is a very serious condition that can cause bloody diarrhea and severe vomiting in dogs. This condition occurs when a large amount of fluids seeps into the gut. What causes this is not known exactly. When hemorrhagic gastroenteritis occurs, there can be such severe bloody diarrhea that your dog’s stool may resemble a raspberry jam. While this condition can affect any breed, it’s most commonly seen in toy dogs, such as Miniature Pinschers, Miniature Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles, and Yorkshire Terriers. Most cases occur without any warning signs and with an average age of five.
What To Look For
Bloody dog poop can be caused by an abundance of different factors, ranging from environmental, to underlying conditions, diet, and even trauma. Knowing what’s causing your dog’s bloody stool is essential as some causes need more serious and prompt treatment than others. If your dog is suffering from bloody stool, there’s a good chance that it might be suffering from other symptoms as well.
To properly address your dog’s bloody poop, be sure to keep an eye out for accompanying changes in appetite, daily activity and energy, and overall mood. Some serious conditions that cause bloody dog poop may also cause diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, blood in the urine, and breathing difficulties. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, be sure to get them to the vet as soon as possible. If your dog has just begun new medication and begins exhibiting bloody poop and other symptoms, stop the medication immediately and contact your vet.
Keep an eye out for the color of the blood within your dog’s poop. Is it dark or black, resembling tar? Or is it red blood, similar to what we see when we get a paper cut? Telling your vet the color of the blood and how it looked will help narrow down where the bleeding is occurring and what may be causing it.
Be sure to make note of how many times bloody stool has occurred and when. A less frequent bloody stool can signal different causes than bloody stool that is recurring repetitively and for a short period. Being able to tell your vet exactly when each bloody bowel movement was passed will speed up the diagnosis and treatment process, allowing your dog to get back to healthy and happy in a jiffy.
Bloody Stool Diagnoses
Dog health consists of many different components, and digestive health is one of the most important ones to properly care for. A bloody stool can be caused by many different factors, and narrowing down which one is affecting your dog is vital in finding the proper treatment. To do so, your vet will likely go through various diagnostic testing and procedures. These tests can evaluate changes in hormone levels, bacteria presence, and other illnesses that may be causing bloody stool.
First, your vet may perform a stool sample test to examine different aspects of your dog’s feces. In addition, they may choose to do urine tests and blood work. If they still aren’t positive on a cause, your vet may choose to perform an x-ray, ultrasound, or endoscopy to have a visual look at your dog’s digestive tract and other organs. In some cases, allergy testing or further exams may be needed to narrow down an accurate cause.
Treating Bloody Dog Stool
Once your veterinarian has narrowed down the cause of your dog’s bloody stool, there are various treatment options they may choose. What treatment option they decide is best will depend on the cause and can vary greatly. For dogs that seem to have bloody stool from dietary agents, your vet may recommend a diet change. Diet changes can consist of switching protein sources or excluding certain ingredients, such as grains or soy.
Dogs that have been suffering from bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and even bloody vomit are often very dehydrated. These symptoms can drain the body of any fluids and be dangerous for your dog. To ensure this doesn’t happen, your vet may provide fluids to treat dehydration along with other treatments to prevent vomiting and bloody stool.
Diarrhea treatment can help balance your dog’s gut and prevent loose stool, including bloody diarrhea. This treatment combined with others can help stop symptoms of whatever condition is affecting your dog’s health and allow them to relax as their body heals.
If your dog is suffering from worms that cause bloody stool, anti-parasite treatment will likely be prescribed by your vet. These treatments kill off any intestinal parasite without harming your dog. In no time, your dog’s digestive tract will be parasite free and their symptoms, including bloody dog poop, will subside.
Medications may be prescribed as needed to treat various conditions that cause bloody dog poop, such as thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. These medications vary greatly dependent on the condition they are treating and should be discussed with your vet.
In worst-case scenarios, surgery may be needed to treat bloody dog poop and underlying conditions that are causing this. Most dogs can be treated in other ways, but if alternative treatments aren’t working, surgery may be the best option. Your vet will keep you updated on the treatment process and if they believe that surgery is necessary.
Keeping our dogs healthy consists of many different tasks and conditions to look out for – including bloody dog poop. Unhealthy dog poop, including bloody stool, can signal many different health issues. Bloody poop can be caused by something as small as accidentally ingesting blood, or by something as major as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.
Narrowing down what’s causing your dog’s bloody stool is the first key to getting them back on the road to health. All conditions should be considered, including those that cause hormone imbalances, irritable bowel syndrome, and even psychological conditions such as stress and anxiety.
Your vet will then narrow down the cause of bloody stool using information such as the color of the blood, how many times this has happened, and how often bloody stool has been passed. With some diagnostic testing and other measures, they will be able to decide on an accurate cause of bloody dog poop and the best treatment option. Treatment can vary greatly and will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Always be sure to keep an eye on the health of your dog’s stool, including the consistency, content, coating, and color – including blood. The sooner you get your dog medical treatment for whatever is causing bloody stool, the better. With the help of you and your vet, your dog is sure to overcome whatever is causing bloody dog poop and live a normal, healthy life by your side.