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Why is my puppy pooping blood?

Bunch of puppies advice
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Blood and mucus in your puppy's stool can be a worrying sight, so it’s important to know what causes it and what you need to do about it

By Ashley Murphy

Blood in your puppy's stool

A puppy pooping blood is medically referred to as hematochezia or melena. In hematochezia, blood originates from your puppy’s lower digestive system, such as the lower intestines, colon, or rectum, With melena, it comes from the upper digestive tract, like the esophagus, stomach, or upper small intestine.  Knowing the difference between them is key to understanding what might be wrong with your puppy.

Blood from the lower intestine (hematochezia) is fresh and will appear bright red in a puppy's stool. It will either be mixed in with the poop, or you might see a few drops of blood as your puppy defecates. When blood comes from the upper digestive tract (melena) it has a much darker colour. It can often resemble tar or asphalt. Melene is often, but not always, more serious than hematochezia; it can also be harder to spot as many puppies have a dark stool. Therefore it's important to know how to look for it. Michael D. Willard is a veterinarian who specialises in internal medicine; he recommends placing the stool on a white paper towel, then looking out for a reddish tint coming from the faeces. If you do see anything then its best to get your puppy checked out by a vet.

Why is my puppy pooping blood?

If the blood in your puppy's stool is bright red, then they could be suffering from the following problems:

  • Parvovirus: This is a serious virus most commonly associated with black-and-tan breeds like Rottweilers and German shepherds. As well as blood in their stool, your puppy will typically experience vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. It can also be deadly, so any puppies displaying these symptoms should see a vet as soon as possible.
  • Parasites: These nasty little things are one of the most common reasons for blood in puppy stool. Hookworm, whipworms, and roundworms are the most likely offenders. They're also visible to the naked eye, and you may notice your puppy scratching around the infected area. But don't worry too much - with the right medication it's easily treatable.
  • Diet: Overeating or excessively rich foods can be another cause. If there’s also a lot of mucus in the stool, then it's very like that your puppy has had a bad reaction to a certain food. Be mindful of what you feed them, and don’t go overboard on the treats. Again, it's fairly simple to treat and manage. Adrienne Farricelli, author of “Brain Training for Dogs,”, has got some great tips of doggy nutrition.  
  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis: This one sounds pretty serious, and experts can often struggle to find the root cause. Other symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea but it can be treated quickly with IV fluids and the right medication.
  • Injuries: If your dog has swallowed any bones or small sticks then they may cause damage as they're worked through your dogs' system. In this case, the blood will be bright red and should stop after a few days. If you know that your dog has ingested a sharp object, feed them some high-fiber foods to encourage it to pass through quicker. Look for any tears or swelling. You may even notice small growths called polyps. If you do, you'll need to get them checked by a vet.

More Reasons for blood and mucus in puppy stool

As mentioned, darker blood in puppy stool is usually much more serious.  It may have a tar-like texture; some owners have described it as looking like ground up coffee beans. If you see anything like this then get your puppy checked immediately; they may be suffering from one of the following conditions:

  • Blood Clots: There are a few canine conditions that can lead to clotting and bleeding. Your puppy may also have a purple tint to the skin, suggesting a bleeding under the skin. Get them to a vet immediately.
  • Tumours/Cancers: Unfortunately, dark blood in the stool can indicate the presence of tumours and cancer. Take them to a specialist’; they will rule it out or start treatment immediately.
  • Medication and Post-surgery: Aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication, and even Pepto-Bismol can cause blood in stools. Inform your vet if your dog has been taking any of these and check their stool regularly. If your dog has recently had surgery and starts passing black stools then take them back for a check-up; It might indicate internal bleeding.

As you can see, there are many reasons why you might see blood in your puppy's stool. Others that we haven't covered include intestinal blockages, fissures, and bacterial infection. Best practice is to always play it safe and consult a specialist. As always, early diagnosis and treatment are key to keeping your puppy healthy.