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Blood in my Dog’s Poop: A Vet Shares What to Do [with Pics]

A vet's advice

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You probably don’t pay a lot of attention to your dog’s poop, that is until the day you notice some blood in it. Blood in your dog’s poop can definitely be scary and have you wondering what’s wrong. Let’s get into why you might find blood in a dog’s poop and what should be done about it.

WARNING: A little farther down, we’re going to share some graphic pictures of dog poop with blood. Your dog’s health is worth taking seriously and it might help you understand what is going on with your dog.

Why is My Dog Pooping Blood?

Blood in a dog’s poop can have any causes. Some are no big deal and others require immediate attention. Knowing the reason behind the bloody stool will help you decide which action to take.

  • Inflammation of the digestive tract: Also known as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract can lead to bloody poop. Dogs will often show other signs, such as not eating, vomiting, abdominal pain, and a fever. It can be caused by a viral or bacteria infection.
  • Eating something they shouldn’t have: Your vet may refer to this as “garbage gut” as some dogs will get bloody stools after getting into the trash or eating something they shouldn’t have. This can be garbage, as well as bones or sticks, toys, or too many table scraps. Dogs may also show signs of not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • Internal parasites: Having a heavy worm load can cause blood in the stools. This is because adult worms, of various species, attach to the linings of the intestines. A lot of these worms can cause bleeding of the lining which goes out with a bowel movement. Dogs may also be losing weight, have a dull, scruffy coat, or you may see worms or eggs in their feces.
  • Cancer: Tumors in the digestive tract may bleed which will lead to bloody feces. Dogs may also lose weight and have difficulty pooping depending on where the tumor is.
  • Other diseases: Blood in a dog’s poop is most often an issue of the digestive tract, but there are a few conditions outside of the gastrointestinal system (digestive system) that may cause a dog to bleed. Liver and kidney disease, immune dysfunction, and blood clotting issues may also be to blame. Exposure to some toxins can also cause bloody stools as well.

Why is There Blood In Your Dog’s Poop? (With Pictures)

Here’s where those pictures of blood in dog poop we warned you about come into play.

You may be surprised to know that blood in dog poop doesn’t always look the same. In fact, it can look quite different depending on what the cause is.

Bright Red Blood (Hematochezia)

Bright Red Blood (Hematochezia)

If the blood in a dog’s poop is bright red, it indicates a lower digestive system issue. That’s because blood that goes through the upper part of the digestive system gets broken down, to a point, and turns dark red, brown, or even black. Bright red blood is often seen with diarrhea and dogs may also poop large volumes more frequently.

Bright red blood in dog poop may be due to hemorrhoids or other colonic irritation or colitis. Take a note of any other signs that your dog may be showing. Some cases of hematochezia will be one-time only occurrences and nothing to worry about. However, if your dog is also having diarrhea, not eating, or straining to poop, see your veterinarian.

Veterinary treatment for hematochezia can range from $200 to $1000 for a mild to moderate infection or more to treat a serious infection or tumor. Treatment may require fluids, anti-nausea medications, antibiotics, hospitalization and a special diet.

Bright Red Bloody Streaks

Bright Red Bloody Streaks

Again, bright red blood indicates an issue in the colon. Tinges of blood may be caused by mild irritation, tumors, or anal gland issues. Your dog may also strain to defecate.

If you notice bloody streaks in your dog’s poop once or twice and he isn’t showing any other signs, it’s more than likely nothing to worry about. If it becomes an all-the-time thing or he isn’t eating, is vomiting, or is doing anything else abnormal, see your veterinarian.

Mild irritation to the colon or rectum will typically go away on its own. Giving him a soft, bland diet for a day or two may help. Veterinary treatment may include expressing the anal glands or something more serious such as tumor removal. Cost can range from $50-$1,000 or more depending on the cause.

Raspberry Jam Blood in a Dog’s Poop

Raspberry Jam Blood in a Dog's Poop

Sorry for the food reference, but mucous-y blood in dog poop may look like raspberry jam. Lots of mucous mixed with blood may indicate inflammation of the digestive tract (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis). Dogs may also have abdominal pain, vomiting, and possibly a fever. If your dog is showing any of these signs, see your veterinarian.


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Treatment for “raspberry jam” blood in the feces may require hospitalization, fluids, anti-nausea medications, and antibiotics. Cost can range from $200 to over $1,000.

Black, Tarry Poop (Melena)

Black, Tarry Poop (Melena)

Dark brown or black blood can sometimes be pretty hard to spot but can indicate some serious conditions. Melena is the presence of blood in a dog’s poop that has gone through the digestive tract. Instead of being bright red like fresh blood, this blood is broken down as it moves through the digestive system. Black, tarry poop is typically more solid and may indicate stomach ulcers, inflammation in the stomach or small intestine, or cancer in the upper digestive system. Dogs may have varying signs, including vomiting, not eating, abdominal pain, and weight loss.

Most cases of Melena are going to require veterinary attention. Diagnostics and treatment are going to depend on what other signs are present and the cause. It’s not uncommon to pay $800-$1,000 to diagnose and treat infections or $2,000 or more for cancer.

Pure Blood

Pooping what seems like pure blood usually indicates inflammation or infection of the digestive tract. The lack of feces with the blood just means that your dog hasn’t been eating, and therefore, not making any feces. Always see your veterinarian if your dog is pooping pure blood as well as showing any other signs of not eating, vomiting or abdominal pain. The cost to treat will range from $200 to over $1,000.

When is Blood in a Dog’s Poop an Emergency?

A normal bowel movement with a little streak of blood every once in a while is usually nothing to think twice about. However, if there is blood with every bowel movement, a lot of blood with one, or if your dog is showing any other signs that something is wrong, see your vet as soon as possible.

Not eating, vomiting or diarrhea that lasts longer than 48 hours, abdominal pain, or dehydration all warrant an immediate veterinary visit. Also, if your dog seems distressed, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Can My Dog Die From Pooping Blood?

Pooping blood can be an indication of something very serious going on with your dog. The loss of blood in poop is usually too small to actually cause death, but the cause behind the bloody poop can be fatal. Severe hemorrhagic gastoenteritis can cause death due to dehydration or septicemia-a whole body infection.

Of course, uncontrolled bleeding from the rectum can lead to death if it’s severe enough. While this is uncommon, it can happen if there is a severe injury to the lower colon, rectum, or anus.

What to do if Your Dog is Pooping Blood

If this is the first time you’ve seen blood in your dog’s poop, it was just a small amount and he isn’t showing any other signs, you may choose to watch him a day or two and carefully check all of his bowel movements. He may have eaten something that could discolor his poop or have mild irritation from a diet change.

If you notice any worms or eggs in his feces, tell your veterinarian so that you can get him treated.

If there is more than a few streaks of blood in the feces or they have had blood in there regularly, contact your vet. They may need their anal glands expressed or an exam with or without further diagnostics.

If your dog has blood in his feces and is acting off in any way, see your veterinarian. Not eating, vomiting, weight loss, abdominal pain, difficulty pooping, or diarrhea all require professional attention and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will blood in a dog’s poop go away on its own?

Some causes of bloody poop in dogs will go away on its own. These cases are often very mild and occur once or twice. It may be due to eating something that was a little irritating or to having difficulty expressing their anal glands. If your dog isn’t showing any other signs and there is very little blood, monitor their bowel movements for a couple of days.

Can dog food cause bloody diarrhea?

Some dogs may be sensitive to certain kinds of dog food or they may have some digestive upset when you switch between brands or formulations. Both of these issues can lead to bloody diarrhea. If your dog has known food allergies or sensitivities, be sure to avoid these ingredients to prevent them from getting bloody diarrhea. Gradually switch from one food to another by mixing old with new and gradually increasing the new food over the course of 7-10 days.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your local veterinarian for health decisions. Learn more.

What if my dog is pooping blood and vomiting?

Pooping blood along with other signs, including vomiting, usually indicates hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. This inflammation of the digestive tract may be caused by an infection or even tumors of the digestive system (gastrointestinal) tract. Always see your veterinarian if your dog is pooping blood and vomiting or showing any other signs.

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Author

  • Dr. Chyrle Bonk received her Master in Animal Science from the University of Idaho and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Oregon State University. She has over 10 years of experience in small animal veterinary practice, working for a veterinary clinic in Idaho.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Read More.

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