When it comes to all of the problems associated with your dog’s stool, seeing blood in there is one of the last sightings any dog owner ever wishes to experience.
We can perfectly handle helping our dogs get through stool problems such as constipation, diarrhea, loose stool or the like, but when it comes to seeing blood in our dog’s stools, we can’t help but panic and fear for the worst.
It’s just human nature to do so since blood in stool is often linked to different illnesses, and the last thing we want to happen is see our dogs get ill and suffer.
However, and even if you’re here reading this article because you’ve just discovered blood in your dog’s stool, the first step to getting things fixed is not to panic.
Relax, take a deep breath and read on to learn about what you should do in order to help your dog in such a case.
Table Of Contents
The Difference Between Hematochezia & Melena In Blood In Dog Stool
When talking about blood in dog stool, an important difference should be noted and explained, the difference between Hematochezia and Melena conditions.
Both conditions depict the passage of blood in your dog’s stool, but from different places in each of the two conditions.
If your dog has Hematochezia, the color of the blood in their stool will almost always be a bright red color, while if your dog has melena, the color of the blood in their stool will usually be a very dark red color, sometimes even a black-ish color being visible.
The aforementioned difference in color is due to the difference in the source of the blood. In cases of Hematochezia, the blood in your dog’s stool is still relatively fresh blood that comes from your dog’s lower intestines.
On the other hand, and in cases of Melena, the blood in your dog’s stool isn’t as fresh as it is in cases of Hematochezia and comes from your dog’s upper intestine area instead of the lower intestine area, hence the darker color.
If you have your veterinarian take a look at your dog’s condition in order to treat it, they should be able to easily determine which of the two cases your dog has without the need to do much tests and examinations.
Even though the cases of Melena in your dog’s stool where the color of blood is dark red is often more dangerous than the cases of Hematochezia in your dog’s stool where the color of blood is light red, you should still get either case checked by your veterinarian to make complete sure that there’s nothing to worry about.
Blood In Dog Stool And Pain While Defecating
It’s worth noting that blood in dog stool isn’t necessarily accompanied with difficulty and pain while defecating.
Your dog could have the easiest of defecating sessions without feeling any kind of pain or difficulty getting their wastes out of their body, yet could pass a significant amount of blood in their stool without feeling it.
Many people often mistakenly believe that blood in dog stool is only a problem that should be looked into if it’s accompanied by extreme difficulty in defecating and pain while doing so, a notion that’s very far from reality.
Blood in dog stool should be looked into immediately regardless of whether it’s accompanied by physical pain and difficulty with your dog eliminating or not.
Is Blood In Dog Stool A Sign Of Health Problems?
For those of you who have noticed blood in their dog’s stools and are worried that this may be a sign of a serious health issue with Fido (we all most commonly think about some form of cancer right away), you’ll be glad to learn that blood in dog stool doesn’t always mean specific health problems.
Sometimes you’ll notice a certain amount of blood appearing in your dog’s stool but then it never returns and your dog’s stool goes back to normal, in which case you have nothing to worry about since one-off incidents like these happen from time to time and aren’t a sign of any health problem in your dog.
However, if you notice that blood in your dog’s stool is showing in a recurrent fashion and/or is increasing in volume as the days pass by, you should immediately get your dog checked out in order to find out what’s causing this issue.
What Should I Do If I See Blood In My Dog’s Stools?
First and foremost and whenever you see blood in your dog’s stool, no matter what color their stool or the blood is, whether it’s just a tiny bit of blood or a whole lot of it, or any other factors that may differ from one case to another, you should always tell your veterinarian about it as soon as you see it.
The need to give your dog immediate veterinary care if you see blood in their stool is amplified if you notice any unusual symptoms that your dog started showing all of a sudden, since unusual symptoms exhibited by your dog and blood emitted in their stool should be a cause of worry and immediate attention.
Examples of such unusual symptoms that your dog may exhibit are the following.
- Sudden increase or decrease in appetite and consumption of food
- Sudden increase or decrease in thirst and consumption of water
- Sudden increase or decrease in energy levels
- Sudden change in certain behavior
- Change of color in gums to become pale colored
Your veterinarian will likely ask you some questions and may perform some tests in order to ensure that there’s no health issues causing this blood in your dog’s stool.
The most common request your veterinarian will make in such cases is for you to collect a sample of your dog’s stool in order for them to carry out further examinations on this sample and be able to come to a definite answer and diagnosis about what exactly is causing blood to appear in your dog’s stool.
Your veterinarian will also tell you all you need to know about the best way to collect a sample of your dog’s stool in order for the examinations to be done and results to turn out as accurately as possible, so don’t worry about that for now.
You should just keep in mind that the fresher the sample of stool you get to your veterinarian so they can run further inspections and tests on it, the better and more accurate the results will be.
Don’t bring your vet a stool sample that has been out of your dog’s system for more than 12 hours, since they won’t be able to get any sort of accurate results when running tests on samples that have had more than 12 hours pass by since their elimination.
Some of the most common tests that tend to be done in such cases by veterinarians on dogs that are passing blood in their stools are the following.
- Blood count tests
- Urine analysis test
After the necessary tests and examinations are completed by the veterinarian looking into your dog’s case, they’ll determine the necessary course of treatment that your dog should be following in order to solve this problem of theirs, what medication they should be taking, for how long they should be taking it, any future check-ups and follow-ups that should take place, etc ..
Why Is My Dog Pooping Blood?
So, what exactly causes the appearance of blood in your dog’s stools?
There are multiple reasons that cause blood to appear in your dog’s stools, some of which are insignificant reasons that come and go without harm, while others are reasons you have to look into because they can pose a significant health risk to your dog.
We’ve compiled the most important and common of these reasons in the following list below.
Dietary Problems: Often times, seeing blood in your dog’s stool can very well be diet-related.
Blood and mucus in dog stool is oftentimes a classic result of an upset stomach, and here are some examples of situations where this could happen.
- Your dog has eaten something that’s way past its expiry date.
- Your dog has a sensitive stomach and has consumed food that doesn’t exactly cater to dogs with sensitive stomachs.
- Your dog has consumed way too much food in one sitting/day compared to what their digestive system can properly handle.
- Sudden change in dog food you’re feeding your dog instead of going about it in a gradual fashion, which usually causes all sorts of digestive system problems along with the usual suspects of diarrhea and vomiting. Whenever you want to change anything in your dog’s diet, no matter how insignificant you may think it is, even if it’s feeding them something they’ve never eaten before and “testing the waters”, always do so in very moderate amounts and in a gradual fashion in order to avoid any possible negative reactions such as blood in stool.
Your veterinarian is the most competent person that’s able to advise you about any dietary changes you should give your dog if the reason for the blood in their stool turns out to be dietary related.
Allergic Reaction: Dogs that suffer from certain allergies and experience certain allergic reactions as a result may pass on some amount of blood in their stool.
Whether it’s an allergic reaction because of a certain food they ate or an allergic reaction your dog experienced because of something in the environment at the time, blood in dog stool as a result of of allergy problems isn’t unheard of.
Cancer: Some forms of cancer, especially colon cancer, tend to produce blood in the stools of both humans and dogs alike.
Parvo Disease: Dogs that suffer from certain viral infections such as the Parvo disease, also known as the Parvovirus, are much more likely to have blood appear in their stool than other dogs who don’t have this disease or similar viral infections.
Besides Parvovirus, other viruses such as Coronavirus can also cause blood to appear in your dog’s stool.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition where your dog’s large intestine is either irritated or has an inflammation, either of which cases often times result in the passing of blood in the stool of the affected dog.
Intestinal Parasites: You most probably won’t be able to tell if your dog is suffering from any intestinal parasites by yourself, since the average dog owner doesn’t have the necessary tools at home or experience to be able to determine such a thing, but your veterinarian will be able to tell whether this is the case or not by running a few tests and examinations of their own.
Some of the most common intestinal parasites that often result in blood being passed in your dog’s stools are Giardia, Hookworms and Whipworms.
In such a case, your veterinarian will prescribe a specific de-wormer for your dog in order to get rid of the intestinal parasites causing blood in their stool and get things back to normal.
Foreign Body Obstruction: Sometimes the reason your dog may be passing blood in their stool is because there’s a foreign body stuck somewhere in their system that’s negatively affecting your dog’s ability to defecate normally.
Maybe your dog came across a small sized toy that that they confused with something edible, swallowed it and now it’s stuck and blocking their stomach or intestinal tract?
Or has your dog made their way to some leftover bones and consumed some which have also made their way inside their system and blocked their gastrointestinal tract as well?
Depending on the severity of the situation in hand, surgical intervention may be required to get the foreign body out of your dog’s system in order to prevent blood from appearing in your dog’s stool anymore, but this should ultimately be determined by professional animal care personnel.
Kidney & Liver Disease: Kidney & liver disease conditions are also common causes of blood in the stools of dogs, both in dark red color and bright red color.
Anal Sac Inflammation: Some dogs have anal sac inflammations that cause them to experience significant levels of pain when trying to defecate, and pass blood with their stools as a result of this inflammation.
Stomach Ulcers: Many times, dogs that suffer from stomach ulcers will pass blood in their stool in varying volumes, with the majority of dogs who suffer from ulcers being known to pass dark colored blood in their stool.
Your dog may be suffering from stomach ulcers because of external factors not much within your control, or because of certain medicine they’re being given that’s causing these stomach ulcers.
The most common medicine given to dogs that sometimes causes stomach ulcers is Aspirin, along with many other NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) that are often prescribed for dog owners to give their dogs in order to help with many different health conditions and cases.
No matter what the cause of these stomach ulcers may be, you have to talk to your veterinarian about this issue so they can see if any medicine your dog is currently taking needs to be changed, or if they need to be put on a specific course of treatment to help them out with this condition.
You should only ever be giving your dog any medication under the supervision of your veterinarian, anything other than that and you’ll be running great risks of harming your dog.
Blood Ingestion: Even though this only occurs in rare cases, sometimes you may notice blood in your dog’s stool if they’ve ingested blood themselves.
If your dog recently sustained an injury and attempted to deal with it by licking away at the wound until it stopped bleeding, or if they were bleeding in an area such as inside their mouth where they would instinctively swallow their own blood until it stops flowing, such cases of ingested blood may translate to blood in your dog’s stool when they defecate.
Stress: If your dog is going through any stressful event or is being subjected to any sort of mental stress for any possible reason, there’s a great chance that the blood you’re seeing in their stool is related to this fact.
No matter what the stress-causing reason may be, be it the fact that your dog is being left along for a long period of time on a daily basis which is making them feel scared, loud noises your dog is hearing on a daily basis which induce fear in them, bad training methods you’re following that have them fearing for their life, moving homes and struggling to get used to the new environment, etc ..
All these stress inducing factors and much more examples you could think of from the top of your head right now may very well be the reason you’re seeing blood in your dog’s stool, especially if what you’re noticing is bloody diarrhea that’s sometimes combined with mucus.
After Surgery: Oftentimes blood in dog stool is suddenly noticed after your dog is operated on, with usually medium to major surgeries being more common reasons than minor surgeries.
If you notice any amount of blood that comes in any shade of red in your dog’s stool, and especially if it’s the darker kind of red, you must get in immediate contact with your veterinarian about this (or whoever performed the surgery on your dog for that matter), since this may be a sign of post-surgery internal bleeding in your dog that must be immediately addressed.