Have you noticed blood in your dog’s stool? Many dogs experience bloody stool at least once in their lives, and sometimes, this problem is nothing to be worried about. However, since bloody stool can also indicate severe health problems in some dogs, it is important to have this symptom checked out by your vet as soon as possible.
In the article below, you’ll find out more information about some of the most common causes of bloody stool in dogs. You can use this information to choose when it may be time to see a vet with your pet.
Mild Causes of Blood in Stool for Dogs
- Eating garbage or human food: Dogs who regularly get into the garbage or enjoy snacks made up of human food may be prone to bloody stool. Even if your dog does not eat anything particularly harmful to him, he may still have bloody stool as a result of eating something not intended for canine consumption.
- Changing diets suddenly: If you have suddenly changed your dog’s diet to something completely different than he is used to, you may notice that he has blood in his stool for a short time. If diet is the cause of the problem, the bloody stool should clear up in a day or two after your dog’s stomach becomes adjusted to the new food.
- Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids may cause dogs to experience blood on the outside of the stool only. This blood is typically bright red and appears in streaks. Hemorrhoids almost always clear up on their own, but your dog may need topical medication from the vet in some instances.
- Intestinal parasites: Intestinal parasites can cause bloody stool. Dogs who are suffering from intestinal parasites may have other symptoms as well, including visible worms or parts of worms in the stool, lack of appetite or extreme increase in appetite, lethargy, and more. Look for these signs if you suspect your dog could have parasites.
- Digestive infections: Digestive infections may contribute to bloody stool in dogs of all ages. In puppies, bloody stool is a common sign of parvovirus, which is often fatal for very young dogs. In adults, parvo is not usually fatal, but can still be a serious health problem without the help of a vet.
- Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis can be a serious condition if left untreated. However, if your pet is prone to pancreatitis and you are working with your vet to keep it under control, it may be a moderate problem instead. Pancreatitis can often cause bloody stool, bloody diarrhea, and bloody vomiting in dogs who are affected.
- Cancer: Many types of cancers, especially those that affect the digestive system, can lead to blood in the stool. If your dog is living with cancer and you are working on managing the condition, bloody stool may simply be a part of your pet’s life throughout the process
- Ingestion of toxins: Toxin ingestion leads to acute and significant blood in the stool. Your dog may experience very bloody stool and bloody diarrhea if he has eaten something toxic. If you see a large amount of blood in your dog’s stool, take him to the emergency vet to be examined immediately.
- Ingestion of foreign objects: Dogs who ingest foreign objects like sticks, rocks, or pieces of toys may be prone to bloody stool. If you know your dog has ingested an object like this and you see blood in his stool, don’t wait; take him to the emergency vet right away to prevent serious complications and even potential death.
- Kidney or liver disease: Kidney and liver disease are both likely to cause other symptoms before they lead to bloody stool in dogs. However, be on the lookout for bloody stool as an indicator that something is wrong with one or more of your dog’s organs.
- Immune system disease: Although less common than some of the other severe causes of bloody stool on this list, it is still possible that your dog could have an immune system disorder contributing to this symptom. If your dog is already diagnosed with an immune system disease or disorder and you notice bloody stool, this may not always be cause for a trip to the vet. Otherwise, however, see your vet right away for diagnosis.
Blood in the stool is usually a sign of a mild to moderate problem, especially in adult dogs who are otherwise healthy. Rarely, it may indicate a more severe issue, and it should always be taken very seriously when seen in puppies.