Blood in your dog's urine can be caused by a number of medical complaints. Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are common in dogs, but blood in the urine doesn't always signal that there's an infection. Like humans, dogs can also suffer from cystitis. Often mistaken for a UTI, this can also cause streaks of blood in their pee. Here we look at other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, and if there's anything you can try at home to help your dog.
Similar to humans, canine UTIs cause pain and discomfort when urinating. You might notice your dog going to the toilet more often, passing smaller amounts when they go or even passing just a few drops. It can be difficult to see blood in pee, but you may be able to see a bloody tinge or fresh blood in the stream of urine as they go. Some dogs may be going to the toilet as normal, but might be licking at their genitals more than normal.
Why is there blood in my dog’s urine?
Urine on the ground is difficult to assess unless it’s on a pale, non-absorbent floor. You're unlikely to be able to see blood in pee when on grass or soil either, so looking at the stream of urine produced is your best chance to see whether there's any abnormalities. You may be able to see it better in a sample in a clean container, but the colour of urine might mask this.
Blood in urine can be indicative of multiple medical problems. While some aren't life-threatening and are easily treated with medication from a vet, others can become serious if they aren't treated quickly.
Blood in urine more often than not signifies irritation or inflammation in the urinary tract. This blood may be coming from the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder or the urethra. Problems in any of these areas can cause blood in pee and associated discomfort.
Worse for females
Female dogs are more susceptible to UTIs as their urethra is shorter. This means that bacteria from the outside world only has to travel a short distance to infect the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections require veterinary attention, and may require testing to culture the bacteria that's present in their pee. If urinary tract infections aren't treated, they can become more serious.
There are lots of other reasons your dog might have blood in their pee, so a vet might need to do a few more tests to decide what the problem is.
What are other causes of blood in a dog’s urine?
Urinary tract infections are common, but it's important to remember that there isn't always an infection present. Cystitis is a sterile inflammation of the bladder, and there's usually no bacteria present. This condition is simple to treat once you've visited a vet.
Other causes of haematuria, or blood in pee, include:
- Bladder or urethral stones or crystals, also known as urolithiasis
- Kidney stones, or nephrolithiasis
- Bladder or kidney tumours
- Prostate abnormalities.
While UTIs and cystitis aren't pleasant, they're relatively easy to treat and most dogs recover quickly. Stones or obstructions in any part of the urinary tract can become very serious, and may require surgery to fix it. If these conditions aren't dealt with quickly your dog's life may be in danger. Prostate abnormalities are common with older, unneutered male dogs – but treatment options are available.
To understand what's going on with your dog's pee, a vet will need to perform a clinical exam, and will usually require a fresh sample of urine for testing. Some animals need more investigation, such as ultrasound or x-rays of their abdomen, to determine whether something more serious is going on.
Should I try conventional or alternative medicine for a dog with blood in urine?
Once a vet has determined the cause of the bleeding, they'll work out an appropriate treatment plan for your dog. This might include anti-inflammatories, antibiotics or dietary modification. If they're concerned that tumours or stones are present, they might want to investigate further. Appropriate medical treatment is recommended. Trying to treat infections at home isn't something we would advise.
All the causes of haematuria require therapy from a vet. Home remedies are unlikely to cure a bacterial infection. If not treated properly, your dog may continue to be in discomfort. Infections have the potential to cause systemic infection, or sepsis, which can endanger your dog's life. Infections require targeted antibiotics to kill the bacteria and restore your dog's urinary tract back to normal health, so homeopathic remedies won't make a difference here.
Serious conditions such as bladder or kidney stones or tumours require prompt veterinary attention and should never be treated at home.
What home remedies are there for UTIs?
A vet will probably test your dog's urine 'in house'. This means they'll use the lab equipment available in the practice to check for signs of infection and blood, and check your dog’s kidneys are functioning well. If an infection is suspected, they may need to send this pee off to the lab to grow the bacteria that's present in there. This information can then be used to help choose an antibiotic that will definitely clear the infection. If there isn't any bacterial growth, cystitis might be the cause or your pet may need more tests to find out what's going on.
Some conditions, like crystals in your dog's urine, may require dietary changes. Special diets change the pH of the pee, and help to dissolve crystals so they can't form the stones that cause serious health issues. Home remedies aren't useful in the treatment of urinary problems, and if these problems aren't treated quickly with the right medication your pet could suffer. Your pet will require medication to help control the pain and discomfort, and antibiotics as necessary to clear the infection.
Making sure your pet has access to fresh drinking water and stays hydrated is your best option for helping them at home. Cranberries may be helpful in humans, but the same effects aren't seen in dogs. Apple cider vinegar is another home remedy discussed online but the difference will be negligible. Don't waste time attempting to cure your dog yourself. Speak to a vet.
Is blood in my dog’s urine an emergency?
Blood in urine is something that requires urgent veterinary attention. If there's blood in your dog's pee, they're probably not feeling too comfortable. Some dogs may just need a short course of pain relief to help them through a bout of cystitis, but for others there could be a serious problem happening in their urinary tract infection. Monitor your dog’s toileting habits, particularly if these are changing, then it's time to visit a vet.
When should I talk to a vet?
If you have any concerns that your dog's pee looks or smells different, or if they aren't peeing as they normally would, speak to a vet. The earlier these problems are detected, the easier they are to treat.