Our Animal Clinic of Benicia vets know that responsible dog owners spend a lot of time picking up their dog's stools. For that reason, you likely have a pretty good idea of what a normal stool looks like for your dog. But what should you do if you notice blood in your dog's stool?
Help, there's blood in my dog's stool!
Noticing blood in your dog's stool is bound to be worrying, and could be a sign of a serious health problem.
Whenever you see blood in your pet's stool it's a good idea to call your regular vet. The bigger question is whether blood in your dog's stool is an emergency that requires a trip to the closest emergency veterinary hospital.
If you have a young puppy with blood in its stool, visit your vet immediately! Parvovirus is common in unvaccinated pups and can be fatal if not treated quickly.
Assess Your Dog's Overall Health
If your dog has blood in their stool but otherwise seems happy, is eating well, and behaving normally, it's a good idea to call your regular vet to let them know, and ask for advice. Your regular vet will be able to assess the urgency of the situation and let you know whether it's a good idea to bring your pet into the office for an examination.
If you've noticed blood in your dog's stool and your dog also vomiting, refusing to eat, and looking unwell, it's time for an immediate trip to the vet. During normal business hours contact your regular vet and book an emergency appointment, after hours you should call your emergency vet.
Assess Your Dog's Stool
Take a moment to examine your dog's stool before heading to the vet. Your vet will be able to diagnose your dog's condition more quickly if you can provide an accurate description of your dog's stool. When it comes to blood in your dog's stool, there are two distinct types:
Hematochezia is bright red blood or fresh-looking blood in dog stool that stems from the lower digestive tract or colon. Hematochezia may appear on a firm-formed stool or in diarrhea. The distinctive bright red color of hematochezia indicates that the blood comes from the lower part of the digestive tract and has only traveled a short distance through the dog's body.
Common causes of hematochezia include viral diarrhea, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.
This blood has been digested or swallowed, typically indicating a problem in the upper digestive tract. Melena results in a black inky stool that can be jelly-like in consistency. Diarrhea is not common with melena, the stool is usually formed.
Common causes of melena include stomach inflammation, stomach ulcers, and cancer.
Possible Causes of Blood in Stool
It's important to note that a red stool may not indicate blood at all. If your dog has eaten a red nonfood item such as a crayon or lipstick, it could pass a red stool. Red icing and cakes may also have this effect on your dog's stool,
Streaks of bright red blood in your dog's stool could be caused by an infection or injury to your dog's sensitive rectal area, such as a ruptured anal sac.
Other causes of blood in stool include:
- Viral and bacterial infections
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HG)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Severe food intolerance
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.