When it comes to your pet, the sight of blood anywhere can be an immediate cause for concern. When blood in dog stool appears, it can be due to several things, some more serious than others. Dogs can only communicate through their behavior and symptoms they exhibit. When these symptoms signal something isn’t quite right, it’s important to take each one seriously. Even if the nature of what’s wrong is benign at the time, it can develop into something more down the road.
To find out why there is blood in your dog’s poop to begin with is to understand some of the common causes. Also, keep in mind that if your dog has been injured near his rectal area, bleeding could stem from that injury as well. However, most likely it’s caused by what’s going on internally. Regardless of the source, it’s never fun to face bloody diarrhea or bright red runny stool, for you or your pet. Fortunately, in many cases, there are treatment options so your dog can live pain-free.
Causes of Blood a Dog’s Poop
Blood found in dog stool is an indicator that something is wrong but it doesn’t determine what the exact problem is. There are a number of reasons why blood in a bowel movement may show up in your pup’s poop. Blood after bowel movements can be a result of:
- Food poisoning
- Internal inflammation
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Autoimmune disorder
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Document as much detail as you can before and after noticing the blood. For example, runny stool, bright red stool, bloody diarrhea, and loose stool are all symptoms of the cause. The more information you can provide the veterinarian, the better diagnosis he or she can make. It will help him or her to eliminate more serious causes, if for example, other signs lead to food poisoning.
Food poisoning can occur because of rancid food your dog has accidentally eaten; food that didn’t sit well with your dog’s stomach and digestive tract; or food that contains toxins that have disrupted your dog’s digestive system. Additionally, contaminated water from outside sources can contain strains of mold or algae. If your dog drinks from this water source, it can cause him to become ill as well.
When your dog suffers from internal inflammation it can cause great pain and suffering. Gastroenteritis or stomach flu is when the gastrointestinal tract is inflamed. If there is bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract then this may cause tarry black stool known as melena. This may cause blood in your dog’s poop. Or, your dog may have contracted an infection, is suffering from allergies, or has parasites invading his body. In many cases, medication can help reduce the inflammation, while it’s determined what your pet’s true diagnosis is.
Here are the different types of blood in dog stool to look for:
- Loose stool
- Mucus in stool
- Black feces
- Bright red feces
- Bloody Diarrhea
- Soft Stool
If your veterinarian suspects cancer, he or she will perform extensive tests on your pet, including blood work and x-rays. The bleeding could be the result of a tumor and will require special treatment to reduce or remove it.
Since there are so many potential causes for blood appearing in your dog’s stool, which range from temporary to long-term and more severe, getting a proper assessment from the veterinarian will help put your dog on a track for a treatment plan as soon as possible. Most likely, your veterinarian will want a stool sample if there is blood detected. Keep that in mind when you make an appointment for your dog so you can arrive prepared.
Parasite Diagnosis from Blood Found in Dog’s Poop
If you’ve noticed the appearance of blood, schedule an appointment right away. The veterinarian will perform a full physical exam of your dog’s health and record symptoms. It’s best to have your dog’s most recent medical history on file. This includes any new medication, food, or supplements you have given your dog since his last visit.
By having a stool sample with you, the veterinarian can check it for intestinal parasites. Since these live inside your dog’s intestinal tract, they won’t be immediately visible to you. A trained veterinary professional knows what to look for and can detect what kind of parasite it is. Commonly, they are hookworms, whipworms, or giardia.
Named for how they’re shaped, hookworms have a hook-like “mouth” that attaches to the lining of your dog’s intestine. These parasites feed on the blood and can also infect humans. They can create serious infections that result in inflammation and blood loss. And, they are more commonly found in warmer, coastal areas of the U.S. and your dog can get them if the hookworms get into their skin.
Whipworms also feed off the blood inside the intestine and reach to about ¼ inch long. In addition to bloody stool, whipworms can cause weight loss in your dog. They are resistant and can live in their environment for up to five years if not detected. When your dog’s stool is examined microscopically, your veterinarian can see if there are eggs and prescribe medication or an alternative treatment to rid your dog of the parasites. Blood in your dog’s poop may be the only or first indicator that these are even present in your dog.
Giardia is similar to both hookworms and whipworms in that it resides in a dog’s intestinal tract. Bloody stool, diarrhea, and vomiting in dogs are all common symptoms that accompany this parasite. Many instances of giardia occur in dogs who have drank water that has been contaminated with feces. While it’s not possible to see everything your dog ingests throughout the day, it’s important to keep possible hazards well out of reach as much as possible. For many dogs, they learn what is good or bad for them but ultimately, they need someone to help them navigate environmental instances that don’t immediately seem harmful to them.
Depending on what the initial assessment reveals, your veterinarian may choose to run additional tests to get a better look at what’s going on inside your dog. This may include x-rays, blood work, and other tests to get a full picture of what the diagnosis is and how to treat it.
What Does Blood in My Dog’s Poop Indicate?
It’s not only parasites that are the cause for bloody pet stool. Blood found in a dog’s poop can be a symptom of a number of diseases or health conditions. In addition to the causes already listed, it could also be a sign of liver disease.
The liver is responsible for cleansing the blood and freeing it from toxins. When there is a disruption of this process due to the capabilities of the liver, it can result in symptoms like bloody stool and diarrhea in dogs. As a result, these symptoms can then lead to weight loss, dehydration, and lethargy in dogs.
Symptoms can often build upon each other and cause your dog’s health to quickly derail even if only after a few days. If your dog becomes dehydrated but cannot keep down any food, he may have to have his nutrients and fluids delivered intravenously at your veterinary clinic.
This is why it’s crucial to list down all the symptoms your dog is experiencing as minor as they may seem. Each symptom can be the cause of the one before and they all help put into context where the problem may have begun and how it can be treated.
Treatment for Dogs with Blood in Their Poop
There is a spectrum of severity even when there is a symptom as alarming as bloody stool. For example, if your dog has eaten food he shouldn’t have from the garbage or other unsanitary source, your veterinarian may recommend medication, which your dog will have to take temporarily. The same can be said for certain parasites; medication may be prescribed depending on your dog’s health history.
With the administering of any medication, you’ll want to let the veterinarian know (or remind him or her) of what medications your dog is currently taking or has taken in the past. A bad reaction to medication can result in unfavorable symptoms as well. When first introducing new medication to your pet, keep a close eye on any side effects he may experience.
There is no, all-encompassing treatment plan when bloody poop is one of your dog’s symptoms. It all has to do with what other symptoms he’s experiencing, his current state of health, and even his diet. It also depends on your dog’s age and breed that may make him predisposed to certain conditions that may have bloody stool as a symptom.
Once the diagnosis is available, the veterinarian will review treatment options with you. Decide what is the best route of care for your dog and what changes might need to be made for his lifestyle. As dogs go through different stages of their life, they require different types of attention and care. It’s always a good idea to ask your veterinarian dog health care questions at regular check-ups about what more can be done to keep your dog in good health year-round.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Parasites, Infections?
Prevention comes with healthy habits. While you can’t protect your dog from everything, you can be mindful of your dog’s environment. Clean and refresh his water dish often. As any pet owner knows, when given the chance, dogs are likely to get into anything. That includes the garbage and other areas where he may ingest something that will all an infection or a parasite to grow. While not an ideal situation, it’s typically one that is treatable.
You can also be proactive and keep your dog in good health so he has the strength to combat infection or other parasites that might be feeding off him. This includes following a nutritional diet made up of organic foods and ingredients. Regular exercise and good hydration all also key.
This health plan should also be followed by anyone who cares for your pet. If there is something that disrupts your dog’s routine, especially when it comes to diet and exercise, it can affect his whole body. By paying attention to the parts of your dog’s health you can control, it can make it easier to adapt and find a remedy when there are things that happen out of control.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an amount of blood in my dog’s poop that I should be most concerned about?
Any trace of blood in dog stool during a bowel movement can be a sign of something significant. However, it could be due to a cut near your dog’s hind legs or problems with his diet. If the bleeding becomes worse or continues for more than a couple days, it’s best to call a veterinary specialist to help.
Is there any over-the-counter medication I can give my dog immediately to stop the bleeding?
When you detect blood in your dog’s poop, call a veterinarian first before administering any kind of medication or treatment. A bad reaction to medicine could possibly worsen symptoms or have dangerous results.
How long does treatment last for this kind of symptom?
It depends on what it’s symptomatic of. Bloody stool can be a symptom of anything from food poisoning to liver disease to cancer. That’s to say, it runs along a fairly broad spectrum of diseases and medical conditions. Each is treated in its own way and is dependent on the age and health of your dog.
Protecting Your Dog’s Health
As nice as it would be to protect our dogs from all harm and illness, it’s simply not realistic. The more you understand the different symptoms and what they are indicative of, the higher chance you’ll detect a problem more quickly. Finding blood in your dog’s poop may cause panic, but know there is likely a treatable solution available. The best thing you can do for your dog is give him the care and wellness he needs to be healthy.
If something seems wrong or off about your dog, follow your instinct. No one knows your dog better than you; symptoms or not, make an appointment with the veterinary clinic if you suspect illness or injury. Take note of all changes in behavior, new environments, foods, etc.
It all affects your dog more profoundly then it may seem, so share this information with the veterinarian at your pet’s checkups. By becoming as informed about possible risks of disease your dog faces, you can feel more confident about how to proceed in the future.