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Blood in dog poop: treatment, causes and remedies

Brown dog pooping advice

Stress can sometimes cause blood in a dog’s stool.

© Shutterstock

If a dog has blood in their stools, it shouldn't be taken lightly – especially if your pet is lethargic or off their food.

By Dr. Laura Harvey BVetMed GPCert (WVA&CPM) MRCVS

Published on the 12/08/2020, 09:01

Puppies and adult dogs develop blood in their stool due to inflammation in the colon and or rectum. It may or may not be accompanied by diarrhoea and/or vomiting. If the dog is lethargic or off their food at all, they should be seen by a vet within 24 hours – puppies should be seen the same day. There are multiple causes, as this article will explain. Following an examination, the vet will be able to advise you on the best treatment for your pet, including diagnostic tests where necessary.

Why is there blood in my puppy's stool? 

Puppies develop blood in their stool when there is inflammation in their colon and/or rectum. This can happen for several reasons. The common reasons are gastro-intestinal parasites such as worms, infection, dietary changes and eating things they shouldn’t. There is often also diarrhoea present. You should take your puppy to the vet that day if they are at all lethargic or off their food. Faecal testing (sending samples to the lab) may be required to help identify and treat the problem.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

Why is there blood in my dog's poop?

Like puppies, adult dogs can have blood in their stool for multiple reasons, commonly gastro-intestinal parasites, infection, dietary changes, eating things they shouldn’t. Causes can also include inflammatory conditions and, rarely, tumours. Due to the variety of causes, the treatments can vary. A vet will be able to decide the best treatment plan for your dog once they have examined them. Sometimes further investigations, such as blood or faecal tests, will be required first. Treatment will vary with the severity of symptoms exhibited by your dog and the underlying cause, but can include pre- and pro-biotics, antibiotics and/or special diets, depending on the cause.

Are there home remedies if my dog has black stools?

If your dog has black stools, even without diarrhoea, they must be seen by a vet within 24 hours, as it can indicate bleeding in the stomach and/or small intestine. If this is left untreated, the bleeding and inflammation can worsen, leading to ulceration and ultimately rupture. This is a rare complication, but quickly fatal if left untreated.

Can stress cause blood in a dog stool?

Stress can sometimes cause blood in a dog’s stool. This is because it can cause colitis (inflammation of the lining of the colon), which can cause blood in the stool. It is always advisable to have your dog checked by a vet, if there is no improvement within 48 hours – even if your dog is well in themselves. This is because blood in the stool can be caused by multiple things and treatment is usually required. If your dog is lethargic or off their food, they should be seen within 24 hours.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

How do you treat blood in a dog’s stool?

This can vary with the cause of the blood in the dog’s stool, as well as the amount and whether diarrhoea and/or vomiting are present. The best course of treatment for your dog will be decided by a vet after a full clinical examination.

What causes blood in the stool in dogs?

Blood in the stool of adult dogs is caused by inflammation in the large intestine (colon) and/or rectum. There are multiple reasons, including gastro-intestinal parasites, infection, dietary changes, eating things they shouldn’t and inflammatory diseases. Uncommon causes include tumours in the colon and rectum.

Can changing your dog’s food cause blood in stool?

Yes, changing your dog’s food too quickly can cause diarrhoea and/or blood in the stool. This is because the intestine can become inflamed in response to new foods, upsetting its function. This leads to diarrhoea. Increased inflammation causes this blood in the stool. To avoid this, it is best to change your dog’s food slowly over seven to ten days.

Is bloody diarrhoea in dogs an emergency?

If your dog is very lethargic, off their food and also vomiting with/without blood, they should be seen by a vet that day. The main risk from this is dehydration but also potentially blood loss, if severe bleeding and rupture of the intestinal tract or severe inflammation is present and left untreated.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

What should I do if my dog has diarrhoea and vomiting?

Diarrhoea and vomiting can occur separately or together. They have multiple causes, the most common being infection, dietary indiscretion, gastro-intestinal parasites and inflammatory diease. If the dog is well in themselves, then they can be treated symptomatically at home for 24 hours. This includes starving the dog for 12 hours, but maintaining access to water. This is best done with a little water in the bowl that is topped up regularly, so the dog can’t drink a whole bowl of water as this could induce vomiting. If there is no further vomiting, small amounts of bland food, e.g. one spoonful of boiled chicken and rice can be fed every two hours for 24 hours. The food portions can then be increased. But if your dog is lethargic or not interested in food for 24 hours, contact a vet that day. Likewise, if there is blood in the vomit/diarrhoea, take them to the vet that day.

What should I do if my dog’s poop is black?

Contact a vet that day due to the possibility of bleeding in the digestive tract. If your dog has black stools, even without diarrhoea, they should be seen by a vet within 24 hours, particularly if they are unwell in themselves. This is because it can indicate inflammation and bleeding in the stomach and/or small intestine. If this is left untreated, the bleeding and inflammation can worsen, leading to ulceration and ultimately rupture. This is a rare complication, but quickly fatal if left untreated.

Is black poop in dogs bad?

Although black poop can be due to a dog eating a lot of soil, it usually indicates bleeding from the stomach and/or small intestine. The blood is digested as it passes through the dog’s digestive tract, causing the faeces to appear black. Therefore, your dog should always be seen by a vet, if you notice black poop. If it is diarrhoea, the dog should be seen that day. But if it's normal consistency but black, and your dog is well in themselves and eating normally, then within 48 hours is usually ok.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

Why is my dog’s poop black and slimy?

Slimy poo usually indicates colitis, which is that the colon is inflamed. Therefore if the faeces is black and slimy, it could indicate inflammation throughout the digestive tract. As such, the dog should be seen by a vet, ideally that day, but certainly within 24 hours.

What home remedy can I give my dog for diarrhoea?

If the diarrhoea is mild, not black in colour, not accompanied by vomiting and the dog is still well in themselves, then a light, easily digestible diet can be tried. A good example is boiled chicken and white rice, or white fish and rice. It is advisable to feed little and often, e.g. four to six small meals throughout the day, thereby allowing the dog’s digestive system to settle and process the food. Sometimes pre- and pro-biotic pastes, especially those containing kaolin, can help. Some dogs will benefit from an electrolyte drink, for example Oralade, which will help to maintain their hydration.

If your dog is also vomiting, has blood in the diarrhoea or is unwell in themselves for more than 24 hours, they should be seen by a vet. This is mainly due to the risk of dehydration from continued fluid loss.

Why does my dog have diarrhoea but is acting normally?

If the diarrhoea is mild and the dog is still eating and drinking normally, they will be able to maintain their hydration and so will often still feel well and so act normally. These cases can be treated symptomatically at home. Yet if it persists for more than 48 hours, contact a vet.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

What stops diarrhoea fast in dogs?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic tablet to stop diarrhoea instantly. Having said that, most diarrhoea improves within 24 to 48 hours with symptomatic treatment.

How long is too long for diarrhoea in dogs?

If the dog is lethargic, then 24 to 48 hours is too long, due to the possibility of dehydration. If the dog is well in themselves, then symptomatic treatment can be tried at home for 24 to 48 hours. If not, the dog should be seen by a vet within 24 hours. And, in general, if you have any concerns about your dog, please always contact a vet.