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Why is my dog pooping blood?

Yorkshire pooping in garden advice

Straining to defecate can cause a dog to pass blood.

© Shutterstock

If you spot blood in your dog’s stool, it's always good to have a vet check your pet out, even if it's just to rule out anything serious.

By Dr. Laura Waring BVetMed MRCVS

Updated on the 19/11/2020, 18:35

Seeing blood in your dog’s stool is concerning and often people associate it with a serious condition. There are a range of causes for blood in the stool and it is always best to consult a vet, particularly if your pet is showing any signs of being under the weather, lethargic or any other accompanying symptoms such as vomiting.

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Blood in the stool may appear as small or large amounts of fresh red blood. It may be tiny flecks or small puddles. There may also be mucous, which can look like jelly – this is sometimes streaked with blood. Mucous is normally produced by the large intestine as a lubricant, yet this can become excessive with some conditions affecting the gut.

Should I worry if my dog's stool has blood or mucus?

Blood or excessive mucus in your dog’s stool is not normal – it is a symptom of an underlying problem. There is usually some mucus in a dog’s stool, but if you notice a large amount it may indicate a problem and should always be mentioned to the vet.

If you notice blood, it would be best to get an appointment with a vet to check over your dog and determine the cause. The vet will perform a full physical examination of your pet, and they will probably request a stool sample to make a diagnosis.

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What should I do if my dog has blood in their poop?

Any change in the appearance, frequency and consistency of your dog’s faeces can be a cause for concern. If your dog has tar-like or black blood in their stool, this requires urgent attention from a vet, as does any concern you may have about your dog’s stool. The vet will perform a physical examination and perform any investigations as needed. Ensure you mention any other symptoms that aren’t normal, especially any diarrhoea containing blood. The vet will probably ask for a stool sample from your pet to analyse or to send to the laboratory.

What are the health risks for dogs with blood in their faeces?

Any blood that you discover in your dog’s stools should be a red flag that something isn’t quite right. If you notice any bright red blood or jelly-like mucus in your dog’s poo, seek advice from a veterinary surgeon. There are many possible causes that can be investigated, including:

  • Melena or black stools: when the stools contain digested blood, rather than fresh rectal blood and appears black or tar-like. Seek urgent advice if you notice this.
  • Hematochezia: this is when any fresh, red blood passes through the dog’s colon or rectum.
  • Coccidiosis: primarily affecting puppies, this parasitic infection can cause watery diarrhoea, among other symptoms.
  • Diarrhoea: this is a very common canine ailment. If it lasts for longer than 48 hours, is accompanied by abdominal pain, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite or blood in the stools, veterinary attention is required.
  • Dyschezia: this term is used to describe painful straining to pass faeces. The straining to defecate can cause the dog to pass blood.
  • Mucus in dog faeces: this is not always an indicator of ill health, as a small amount is normal. Excessive mucus can be caused by various parasites or illnesses and, if accompanied by blood, is usually a cause for concern.
  • Colitis: this is an inflammation of the colon.

Some symptoms do need urgent evaluation by a vet, such as: diarrhoea lasting longer than 24-48 hours; vomiting; lethargy; any evidence of pain; blood in the stools; or inappetance. If in doubt, you should seek veterinary advice. The vet may request that you bring in a sample of your dog’s stool for analysis.

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Why is my dog pooping blood?

There are many reasons that might cause there to be blood in your dog’s stool. It might be that you see flecks of fresh red blood or dark-black-looking blood (which is actually digested blood). Sometimes you may see blood dripping from your dog’s anus. Causes of blood in the stool are wide-ranging but could include: digestive upset, parasitic infection, parvovirus infection (or another virus), inflammatory bowel disease, gut blockage, food allergies, inflammation of the large bowel (colitis), anal gland problems, stomach ulcer, a rectal polyp, haemorrhagic gastroenteritis (which may also cause vomiting and can be severe), or a mass in the digestive tract.

This is not an exhaustive list. The causes are wide-ranging from the more minor causes to serious life-threatening problems, such as parvovirus. Therefore it is always best to get your pet checked by a vet to ensure they receive the treatment it needs.

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Why is my dog pooping blood and vomiting?

Some problems will result in vomiting as well as seeing blood in the stool. Examples of these include parvo virus, a blockage in the digestive tract (foreign body) or haemorrhagic gastroenteritis. These conditions can be incredibly serious. It is particularly important if your dog is also vomiting to seek prompt veterinary attention to ensure your pet’s condition does not deteriorate.

Do home remedies work for blood in a dog’s stool?

Some owners may be tempted to try remedies at home to rectify blood in the stools. The cause may be minor or much more serious, and without a visit to the vet it would not be possible to determine this. Therefore the problem should never be ignored.

Feeding your pet a bland diet, such as plain boiled chicken and rice, may be helpful in the short term while awaiting the appointment with the vet. Yet if your pet seems unwell, is vomiting or lethargic then urgent attention must be sought.

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Do parasites and worms cause blood in a dog’s poo?

If you don’t consistently worm your dog, they are more at risk of harbouring parasitic worms that can also be one cause of blood in canine faeces. Whipworms and hookworms can sometimes be responsible for blood in dog’s stools. Prevention of these worms is simple with a worming product that you can get from a vet.

When should I see a vet for blood in a dog’s stool?

Your pet may have blood in their stools but be behaving perfectly normal. But because the causes of blood in the stool range from the more benign to the deadly, it is always best to take your dog to the vet for a check-up. If your pet seems otherwise well, then a routine appointment can be arranged. Yet if however your dog is showing other signs of being unwell, such as vomiting, lethargy or inappetence, it is important your pet is seen urgently.

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