When it comes to making sure that your dog is well taken care of, there are a lot of things that you will need to pay attention to. For example, you will want to make sure that your dog is eating and drinking right, as well as being active throughout the day. Making sure that your dog is healthy is an important part of making sure that your dog is living the best life that it can.
While it might not be the most enjoyable thing to do, it is also important to make sure that your dog’s bowel movements are healthy as well. This includes making sure your dog is going regularly, that the poop is not too dry or too moist, and that it is not a strange color. If you notice that your dog’s poop is not its ordinary style, then it might be cause for concern.
Often, the most concerning thing that can happen to your dog’s bowel movements is that those movements will contain blood. If you notice your dog pooping blood, you might be inclined to panic at first, but understanding what led up to the situation will help you know how to act next.
Seeing blood anywhere outside of your dog’s body can be a terrifying sight, but it doesn’t always mean that your dog needs to be rushed to an emergency clinic. Sometimes, it can mean that your dog may have swallowed blood, or it could be that there is an injury near the anus that is causing blood to appear in your dog’s poop. Other times, there is a serious medical issue going on. Knowing what to look for in your dog’s poop, while unpleasant, will be the best thing that you can do for your dog’s health.
Why Is There Blood in Your Dog’s Stool?
The very simple answer to this question is that it means that there is blood somewhere in your dog’s digestive system. This blood could come from the upper GI tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, or it could be from the lower GI tract, including the large and small intestines as well as the rectum.
The blood in your dog’s stool had to come from somewhere, and because the blood is in the stool, that means that the only way it could have gotten there is through the digestive system. This can be a sign of an injury to the GI tract, parasites, infection, or another type of illness. Blood in your dog’s poop is always something that needs to be checked out by a veterinarian, as it is something that should not be happening at all, no matter how healthy your dog is.
What Does it Mean?
Blood in your dog’s poop means that there is a bleed in the GI tract. The exact color and consistency of your dog’s blood can actually give you an idea of where in the GI tract the bleed has occurred, which can also help the vet determine what kind of problem your dog is dealing with. There are two types of blood that can be found in your dog’s stool: hematochezia and melena.
Hematochezia means that the blood is bright red and noticeable in your dog’s stool. You can think of it as being a normal blood texture and consistency, and the exact color that your dog’s blood would be if your dog had a cut.
Generally, hematochezia means that the bleed is happening lower in the GI tract, including the rectum, upper, and lower intestines. If the stool is coated in red blood, then the bleed is happening lower in the GI tract, or even at the rectum itself. If the stool has red blood mixed into it, then there’s a good chance that the bleed is happening in the upper intestines.
Keep in mind that very small amounts of red blood can be normal in dogs, as it could just be a sign that your dog has a sensitive anus. However, large amounts of red blood is something that needs to be called into the vet as soon as you can, as it indicates that there is a sizeable bleed happening and that is not good for your dog’s health.
Melena, on the other hand, means that the blood has been digested before entering the intestines. Melena is typically much darker, resembling a tarry, dark, and almost black color. The texture can be somewhat sticky and solidified, depending on just how much time the blood has spent in the digestive system.
Since melena occurs in the upper GI tract, this means that it occurs in the mouth, esophagus, and the stomach, rather than the intestines. More often than not, melena is exclusively a stomach bleed. They can be hard to identify in dog stool, as they tend to blend into the stool’s color. If you notice that there is a dark, tar-like substance in your dog’s stool, you should not hesitate to contact your vet, as nobody wants to deal with internal bleeding.
What Causes Bloody Dog Stool?
The simple answer to this question is that a bleed in the GI tract will cause blood in your dog’s stool. However, this begs the question of what could cause a bleed in the GI tract. There are many, many different reasons why your dog might be pooping blood.
One of the easiest to diagnose problems is a problem with your dog’s anus. If you notice that there is bright red blood in your dog’s poop, you might want to think about checking your dog’s anus for any problems. While this will be something that nobody wants to do, it can help to rule out some of the more common problems before taking your dog to the vet.
Checking your dog’s anus for sores, cuts, and other issues is very straightforward. All you will need to do is lift up your dog’s tail and see if your dog’s anus looks any different than it has normally. If there are growths near the end, then there’s a good chance that they would bleed every time your dog needs to poop. This is an example of one of the ways you can rule out some of the causes of bloody dog stool on your own.
Another common cause of blood in dog poop is infection. The infection could be a virus or it could be from bacteria. No matter where it came from, it is important to get your dog checked out by the vet. Not only will the vet be able to prescribe the medicine that can help your dog fight off the infection, but your vet can also work with you on determining if your dog is safe to be around other dogs it might come across. There are many different beings that can cause an infection, which is why it is one of the most common causes of blood in dog poop.
On a similar note, parasites can also cause bleeding in the intestines, leading to bloody stools. This is also a problem that your vet will need to take care of, as your vet will have the equipment necessary to image the parasites to get the right medication to drive them away.
An unfortunate cause of bleeding in a dog’s gut is from items that are not supposed to be eaten. Much like toddlers, dogs will put just about anything in their mouths and eat it. If your dog ate a toy, something hazardous, or even your favorite sock, it can all cause problems in your dog’s digestive system. In a worst-case scenario, the bleeding in your dog’s gut comes from the fact that the foreign item perforates the intestines, which would be considered a massive medical emergency.
Allergies can also cause issues with your dog’s digestive system, causing it to bleed, which then causes the bloody stool on your lawn. If you know that your dog has any sensitivities or allergies, you should always make sure to get the food that suits your dog’s stomach best. If this is your unfortunate first time discovering your dog has an allergy, then you should consult a vet to help you find a better alternative diet for your dog that won’t make it sick.
When Does it Become Urgent?
While any sign of blood in the stool should warrant a basic call to the vet to let them know that there is something going on, there are a few situations where you will need to get in the car and drive your dog to an emergency vet clinic instead of waiting a few days for an appointment. Small amounts of blood in the poop are worrisome, but not dangerous on their own. Large amounts of blood (either hematochezia or melena) and other symptoms are cause for concern and could prompt a trip to the vet.
The symptoms that you will want to look out for are changes in your dog’s appetite (especially a loss of one), a change in activity levels (particularly a drop in them), and changes to your dog’s typical attitude.
If there is vomiting, if the stool is diarrhea, if there is weakness, blood in the urine, or difficulty breathing, then you should take your dog to the emergency clinic as soon as you can, as these symptoms all indicate that there is something more severe going on. Always remember that when you are going to the vet, you should always bring a sample of your dog’s bloody stool. Thankfully, there are plenty of guides out there that will show you how to collect these samples appropriately.