What Happens If I Find Blood In My Dog’s Poop?

It can be a sign of a larger problem.

Blood In Dog Stool

If you’ve ever leaned down to pick up your dog’s poop and noticed blood, first things first — don’t panic.

There are a variety of reasons why this happens, so a visit to your vet is recommended. The sooner you have a diagnosis and treatment plan (if necessary), the better off both of you will be.

We spoke to Kathryn Johnson, a veterinary nurse with DodoVet, for more insight on blood in dog stool, reasons why this occurs and what to do if you see it.

Reasons for blood in dog stool

There are a variety of reasons why blood can appear in your dog’s poop, and, interestingly, you may be able to determine how serious of an issue it is based on the color.

“Causes of blood in your dog’s fecal matter range from easily treatable to more serious and potentially life threatening,” Johnson told The Dodo. “But you can get a better idea of where the bleeding is originating from based on its color. Bright red blood usually indicates bleeding from the rectum or colon, and black or tarry (sticky) stools mean the bleeding is from the stomach or small intestine.”

Blood in your dog’s stool is commonly caused by gastroenteritis, which is the inflammation of a dog’s stomach and small intestine.

“If your dog has recently gone through a rapid diet change or has ingested something he shouldn’t (a toy, stick, etc.), he may be suffering from gastroenteritis,” Johnson said.

There are a few other reasons for blood in dog stool, though less common, which include the following:

When to seek help from your veterinarian

In short, as soon as you notice it.

“Most vets will start by doing an in-house fecal float and smear,” Johnson said. “They’ll be looking for intestinal parasites, giardia and bacterial or fungal organisms. If your dog has intestinal parasites, you will most likely be sent home with a dewormer and possibly a probiotic if your veterinarian feels that is best.”

If the issue is determined to be gastroenteritis, your vet may send home an antibiotic and recommend a bland diet until it clears up.

Monitor your pet closely, and if you notice additional signs — pale gums, vomiting and diarrhea, not eating or drinking, and lethargy — he needs to be seen right away and your veterinarian or emergency clinic should be contacted.

“For more serious health concerns, your vet may want to pursue other diagnostic tests either in the clinic or sent out to a lab,” Johnson said. “This could include bloodwork, radiographs or ultrasound. Your vet may recommend fluid therapy if they are concerned about your dog's hydration status.”

Essentially, any time you see blood in dog stool, a visit to your vet is advised. Whether mild or a symptom of a more serious illness, you’ll want to seek treatment right away so your dog can get back to his old self again!

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