If you’ve noticed some blood in your dog’s stool, it might be nothing to worry about, but there are also some medical conditions that require veterinary attention. Therefore, always get your dog checked over by a vet and, if given the all clear, then there are some excellent home remedies to help your dog with their road to recovery.
Why does my dog have blood in their stool?
When there is blood in your dog’s stools, it is known as haemorrhagic gastroenteritis. This is essentially a description of what you see. Haemorrhagic means bleeding, and gastroenteritis is any condition of the stomach and/or intestines. Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis can be caused by a number of things, varying in severity, such as:
- Infections (bacterial, viral or parasitic)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gut trauma (such as a splintering bone).
It is worth mentioning a particularly dangerous viral infection called parvovirus. This is a disease that predominantly affects puppies and unvaccinated dogs. It causes severe haemorrhagic diarrhoea and requires intensive care to fight it. But it is entirely preventable with vaccination, which is why you should get your dog vaccinated.
What are the best home remedies for blood in a dog’s stool?
As always, it’s best to consult an expert for any advice, but there are some home-made remedies that are worth trying. They will not cure any underlying health issues, but they'll certainly ease any symptoms associated with blood in your dog's stool. Home remedies to consider include:
If your dog has abnormalities with his stools, such as blood or diarrhoea, they should be put on a 24-hour fast. This gives their digestive system a rest from doing any work and can often solve a very mild case. However, fasting is not recommended for puppies or diabetic dogs, both of whom rely on having a stable blood-sugar level. But if your dog is otherwise healthy, just make sure they get plenty of rest during the fast. Water is still OK and needed by your dog, as they'll need it to replace any fluids lost through diarrhoea.
A timeless home-remedy, chicken broth is one of the best ways to soothe an irritated digestive system. It's light but full of nutritional value and is excellent for hydration. A few cups each day will build up your dog’s strength and kick-start their appetite if they don’t want to eat. It should be a low-sodium chicken broth or, even better, a home-made broth. Serve it warm instead of hot. If it's too hot, it will irritate the stomach even more.
If you think your dog’s symptoms are related to toxin ingestion, activated charcoal can prevent the toxins from being further absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream. Activated charcoal is available in a powdered or liquid form. It can also help in cases of bacterial infection, where the bacteria species is one that releases toxins. It's best administered within an hour of the first symptoms.
If your dog is throwing up and has diarrhoea and blood in their stool, they're likely to be low on nutrients and electrolytes, as well as being dehydrated. Try Pedialyte: it's full of all the good stuff that your dog needs. It replenishes nutrients, electrolytes and helps with rehydration. Pedialyte comes in a powder or a liquid form, which can be mixed into your dog's food or administered directly. A teaspoon every few hours will set your dog on the road to recovery. Water should still be offered ad lib as well.
After you have fasted your dog for 24 hours, you can feed them a bland diet that is easily digestible. If you wish to cook this at home, you can boil some chicken and rice. However, if you’d prefer to give your dog a pre-formulated food, all veterinary practices will be able to sell you some ‘gastrointestinal’ food, which is more nutritionally balanced than home-cooked food. If your dog still has diarrhoea after three days of feeding a bland food, you should seek the advice of your vet, as your pet might need another check-up.
Natural products for blood in a dog's stools
Slippery Elm is a herb full of healing properties that you can purchase in powder or tablet form from your local health store. But you must ensure it is a pure form, as human supplements mixed with sweeteners can be toxic to dogs. Slippery elm helps with digestion, reducing the risk of diarrhoea and blood in the stool.
Probiotics can also be supplemented. They are healthy bacteria that maintain a functional gut. They line the gut and aid with digestion, as well as compete with bad bacteria that may be causing the problem.
Kaolin is another natural supplement that can be added to many canine products to aid in resolving diarrhoea. It binds up the stools to prevent further water loss, and soothes the lining of the guts.
How will bloody diarrhoea in my dog be treated by a vet?
Many cases of bloody diarrhoea in dogs are treated symptomatically by vets. This might mean that your dog has to stay in the veterinary practice to receive intravenous fluid therapy to correct their dehydration. Other treatments might include anti-nausea drugs, medications that bind up and make the stools firmer, de-worming treatment and sometimes antibiotics.
When should I see a vet?
Some cases of blood in your dog’s stools can clear up on their own without a vet appointment. Your dog might be one of these cases if there is only a tiny speck of fresh blood, relatively normally formed stools, and no other ill-health, such as vomiting, fever or lethargy.
But if your dog displays one or more of the following symptoms, you must take them to a veterinarian for an examination:
- Copious amounts of blood in the stools
- Digested blood in the stools (black colouring)
- Off-colour or lethargic
- Dry gums
- Pale gums
- Jelly-like or watery diarrhoea
- Rectal temperature over 39 degrees Celsius
- Not wanting to eat or drink
- Known ingestion of a bone recently
- Not vaccinated against parvovirus.
Even though the list of symptoms is long, most cases of a speck of blood in your dog’s stool will be mild with no other symptoms. Most will clear up and the blood will stop with a 24-hour fast, followed by a three-day bland diet. However, if your dog has not improved within that timeframe, or you’re not happy with your dog’s general health, you should take them to a veterinarian for an examination and treatment.