This article was updated on December 14th, 2022
Seeing your male dog peeing blood is a scary sight, even if he is acting normal. But it may ease your mind to know that peeing blood is actually pretty common in male and female critters alike. It’s also not uncommon for him to act completely normal while something that looks so abnormal is going on. So, what could be the cause of this scary situation and what should you do about it? Let’s find out.
The urinary tract is a complex system starting at the kidney and finishing up at the end of the urethra at the tip of the penis. Along the way, urine passes from the kidneys through the ureters, then the bladder and the urethra. In male dogs, the urethra passes through the prostate before leaving the body. An issue in any of these areas can lead to a male dog peeing blood.
4 Common Causes of Bloody Urine in a Male Dog That is Acting Normal
Unless you’re paying very close attention or it happens to be snowy, it may be hard to notice bloody urine in your male dog. What you may notice instead is a slight discoloration, a blood clot on the grass or a red tinge if he lifts his leg on a rock or wall. No matter how you go about noticing that your dog is peeing blood, the cause is most likely one of these:
1. Urinary tract infection
By far the most common cause of a male dog peeing blood but acting normal is a urinary tract infection, or UTI. UTIs can involve any part of the urinary tract, but most commonly occur in the lower parts of the bladder. UTIs cause inflammation of the lining of the urinary tract, which in turn leads to bleeding. UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable, causing dogs to strain or cry when he pees, he may pee small amounts more frequently, or have accidents in the house. There may be a foul smell to his urine as well, or you may not notice anything other than bloody urine.
UTIs require a veterinarian’s assistance as they require medications to clear them up. If left untreated, UTIs can become more serious and spread to the kidneys.
2. Bladder or kidney stones
Diet, a UTI, or genetics can all contribute to your pup developing stones in his urinary tract. Some can end up in the kidneys but are by far more common in the bladder. As you can imagine, urinary stones are irritating, causing bleeding and potentially blocking the urethra. Dogs may show no other signs besides peeing blood, or he may act similar to a UTI with straining, accidents and peeing frequently. If a larger stone makes its way to the urethra causing a blockage, dogs may strain and strain without producing any pee.
Urinary stones are another best-treated-by-vet condition as they usually require a special diet to dissolve or surgical removal.
3. Prostate problems
The prostate is an accessory sex gland that contributes to the seminal fluid in intact male dogs. It is also the cause for very common problems as intact males get older. The prostate can become inflamed, enlarged, infected, or cancerous, all of which can cause bleeding. Since the urethra passes through the prostate, that blood can enter the urine. Some dogs may not show any other signs, and others may have trouble urinating or defecating if the prostate is really enlarged, or he may be very sick with vomiting, not eating, and discomfort.
See your veterinarian if you suspect prostate problems in your male dog. They will be able to diagnose the cause and treat it accordingly. Medications or surgery may be necessary. It’s also important to remember that, although much rarer, neutered dogs can have prostate issues as well.
We definitely don’t want to hear this one, but it’s important to mention as an unlikely, but potential cause for a male dog peeing blood. Kidney or bladder cancer can cause bleeding that gets into the urine. Most of the time these pups are going to show some other signs similar to a UTI and won’t act normal except in the very early stages.
Of course, cancer is going to need veterinary care. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to that can be done besides surgery and chemotherapy.
Other possible reasons
Trauma, blood clotting disorders, strenuous exercise, and systemic infections are other causes of bloody urine, and let’s not forget that sometimes we just don’t know. Any time a pup is peeing blood, whether acting normal or not, it’s best to see your vet to get proper treatment and to make sure something more serious isn’t going on.
When to See a Vet if Your Male Dog is Peeing Blood
Even with no other signs, peeing blood can still be a big deal. At the very least you’re more than likely looking at a UTI. With this in mind, consult your vet if your pup has any of the following signs:
- Blood clots or a reddish colored urine more than one time
- Straining to urinate
- Crying or whining when urinating
- Urinating small amounts frequently
- Accidents in the house
- Not eating
- Not urinating for more than 12 hours
What Should I do if my Dog is Peeing Blood but Acting Normal?
It can be hard to definitively tell that there is blood in a male dog’s urine, especially if he lifts his leg to pee. What you think might be a flash of red could actually be dark yellow or brown from dehydration. If your pup isn’t showing any other signs and you think his urine may be off-colored, try catching a small sample. Use a clean, clear plastic container. Not only will this give you a better view of his urine color, it can also be used at the vet for diagnostics.
Thinking that you’ve seen blood in your dog’s urine just once may not be anything serious. It might just be residual pigments, that he exercised too hard the day before, or your eyes playing tricks on you. However, seeing blood clots or a reddish color on repeat instances could mean something serious. Even though most urinary or other issues that lead to bloody urine typically come with other signs, that’s not always the case, especially early on.
Peeing blood without any other signs isn’t an emergency, most of the time, but should be seen as soon as possible. It would be an emergency if there was lots of blood, your dog was having difficulty urinating, if he wasn’t urinating, or if he was showing signs of abdominal pain, lethargy, vomiting, or weakness.
Can a Male Dog That’s Peeing Blood but Acting Normal be Treated at Home?
Nearly every case of bloody urine, with or without other signs, should be seen by a vet. There just isn’t a lot of at-home treatments that will take care of it. Also, with a long list of possible causes for bloody urine, you’ll want to make sure you have a proper diagnosis.
Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.
If you notice a discoloration to your male dog’s urine without any other symptoms, you can try to hydrate him. Encourage him to drink more water by adding a little low-sodium chicken broth to his water bowl or mixing his food with some water.
Reddish or brown urine can also be caused by strenuous exercise that leads to a product called myoglobin being excreted in the urine. If you pup had a particularly active and vigorous day, chances are, his discolored urine will go away on its own.
Some urine discoloration may be due to certain medications that your pup is on. If he recently started a new drug, consult your veterinarian to see if the potential side effects include reddish urine.
However, if none of these scenarios quite ring true with your dog, don’t hesitate to talk to your vet. They may have you monitor for a little while if your dog isn’t showing any other signs, or they may want to see your dog and his urine for a more thorough diagnosis and treatment.
How Will a Veterinarian Treat Bloody Urine in a Male Dog?
See your vet if your male dog is peeing blood more than one time, even if he is otherwise acting normal. Since peeing blood is usually a sign of something wrong with the urinary system, you’ll need professional help to get things set straight again. You’ll also want to see your vet if your dog has bloody urine and other signs, such as frequent urination, straining to pee, accidents in the house, not eating, vomiting, or weight loss. Also, see your vet anytime you’re concerned about anything!
The first thing your veterinarian is going to do is give your pup a thorough exam. They’ll want to know if your pup has any other signs and how long his urine has been bloody. Then they’ll want to get a good look at the urine. A urinalysis will tell them if your pup has an infection, urinary crystals, or cancer. An x-ray or ultrasound may need to be done to diagnose urinary stones. Male dogs may also get the privilege of a digital rectal exam to check the state of the prostate.
If possible, bring a freshly collected urine sample to save your vet some time. It’s not necessary, but if you don’t, just be sure to not let your pup pee after getting out of the car at the clinic.
From there, your vet will determine the best treatment. UTIs typically require antibiotics for 10-14 days. Urinary crystals or stones require a dietary change for certain types or may require surgical removal for others. Prostate problems respond to antibiotics, anti-inflammatories or surgery, including neutering. Trauma to the urinary tract may also require surgery or medications. Cancer may be treated with surgery +/- chemotherapy.
Look to pay $150-$350 for diagnosis and treatment of a UTI. Treating an enlarged or infected prostate will cost anywhere from $200 for medication or more for neutering. Treatment of urinary stones may cost $400 for antibiotics and food, or up to $1,200 for surgical removal. Cancer may run $1,500-$2,500 if surgery is an option and chemotherapy is tried.
Most cases of bloody urine in male dogs are going to be at least partially covered by your pet insurance policy. However, if your dog has had prostate problems before buying your policy, it may be considered a pre-existing condition. Read all pet insurance information carefully before choosing a policy so that you know exactly what is covered when it comes to bloody urine or any other condition.
How to Prevent Bloody Urine in a Male Dog
Preventing your dog from peeing blood isn’t a 100% possibility. However, there are a few things you can do to prevent some of the causes. Having your dog neutered can virtually eliminate prostate issues, since enlarged prostates are often the result of exposure to reproductive hormones.
After neutering, just making sure your dog has proper hygiene and a clean place to urinate can help decrease the incidence of UTIs. Feeding a high-quality dog food can reduce the risk of urinary stones, and proper supervision while outside playing or when around other dogs can cut down on urinary trauma.
Of course, preventing an issue from getting worse can be done by getting your pup to the vet at the first sign of peeing blood with other symptoms. Or seeing one if you notice more than one bloody urination when your male dog is acting normal.
What is the Prognosis for a Male Dog That is Peeing Blood?
Fortunately, the most common cause of a male dog peeing blood is a UTI and these carry a good prognosis, especially with proper and timely treatment. Most dogs will feel better within a couple of days of being on antibiotics and will clear the infection in 7-10 days.
Urinary stones will usually clear up as well with treatment. Proper dietary changes can dissolve urinary stones in as little as two weeks, but usually around 6-12 weeks. Those types of stones that require surgery will heal once incisions heal in 10-14 days.
Most prostate problems respond well to neutering and antibiotics or anti-inflammatories.
Bladder cancer, on the other hand, carries a poor prognosis. Dogs without treatment may live 3-4 months, while dogs with treatment may get 6-8 months.
Can a male dog pee blood due to stress?
Stress can indirectly cause bloody urine by beating down a dog’s immune system. With a lowered immune system, UTIs can be more common and cause bloody urine.
Can dehydration cause blood in a male dog’s urine?
Dehydration doesn’t cause blood in a male dog’s urine but it can lead to a dark brownish discoloration that may look like blood. This makes it important to have any urinary discolorations checked out by your vet to find out exactly what’s causing them.
What are possible complications to watch for?
Bloody urine is usually a sign that something is wrong with the urinary tract. Even if a dog is acting otherwise normal, it’s important to seek treatment. If left untreated, UTIs can spread to the kidneys, causing potentially serious issues. Urinary stones can block the urethra so that a dog can’t empty his bladder and lead to a ruptured bladder. Bladder cancer can spread to other organs. Prostate problems can make it difficult for a dog to urinate and defecate.
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Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.