BLOOD IN DOG STOOL?
Bloody stools aren’t fun for anyone, pup, adult dog or owner alike, and they occur for a number of different reasons, some more serious than others. If you are concerned or your dog is displaying any other symptoms, a trip to your local veterinarian is in order.
WHAT CAN CAUSE BLOOD IN YOUR DOG’S STOOL?
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your dog’s stool contains blood – bloody diarrhea usually is fairly obvious as it has bright red blood throughout, but if the stool is very dark in color, it can include dried blood. It’s generally true to say that if the blood stems from an area near the anus, it is often bright red and fresher, than the blood originating from higher up in the body. This has had to travel further, so tends to be darker in color when it emerges.
There are numerous reasons why your puppy or dog is producing bloody stools. These include:
- Constipation- if the bleeding is caused by constipation, the blood is often just on the exterior surface of the stool as it’s the result of anal tearing as the dog strains to pass the solids
- Stomach upset – originating from something they shouldn’t have eaten, an allergy, or from a toxin
- Stomach ulcer – one cause of stomach ulcers is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE)
- Bacterial gut infection, such as salmonella
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Inflammation of the large intestine – known as colitis
- Gut blockage – caused by eating something that cannot be passed, or a growth
- Viral infection – including parvovirus
- Rectal polyps
- Anal gland problems
- Internal parasites – worms may be visible in the stool, or, in the case of tapeworms, you might see what look like tiny grains of rice around your dog’s anus
- Internal bleeding
Depending on the severity of the situation, the bloody stools will be accompanied by other symptoms, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, reluctance to move, vomiting, and in the case of internal parasites, worms visible in the feces. If you do spot blood, carefully examine the area around his anus for cuts or swelling, but it’s also a good idea to consider if your dog has ingested something that could produce red-colored stools. Beetroot is one such item, as are wax crayons, or red lipstick, and sweet red peppers can show up as small areas of bright red throughout the stool.
HOW TO TREAT BLOOD IN YOUR DOG’S STOOLS
If your dog is behaving completely normally, unless the blood continues to be present into the next day, it isn’t necessary to visit your local veterinarian, and there are a few things you can do to remedy the situation.
If the blood appears to be as the result of constipation, and the dog looks happy and comfortable, try feeding him canned pumpkin. This is a great home remedy for constipation. If, on the other paw, your dog has diarrhea as the result of a simple upset stomach (we stress simple, meaning that there are no other symptoms apart from soft stools), feed an easily digested bland diet for a day or two, give him activated charcoal. In both cases, as always, make sure he has free access to fresh water.
Internal parasites can be dealt with by dosing with a proprietary wormer. Make sure you purchase one that kills all five species of worms that can affect domestic dogs – roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, hookworms, and heartworms. If left untreated, worms can, in severe cases, prove fatal – this is especially so in puppies, who can have worm eggs transferred to them from their mothers. Any dog can become infected by parasites picked up from other dogs, their feces, and even fleas, which carry the eggs of tapeworms, transmitting these to dogs when they bite. In turn, worms can be passed on to people, and other pets. Veterinarians recommend that as part of a preventative program, you use worming medication every three months.
WHEN TO CALL THE VETERINARIAN
If you spot blood in your dog’s stool, and you’ve established that it’s not due to a simple case of constipation, diarrhea, or worms, ring your vet immediately – his phone number should be on prominent display at all times. We keep ours stuck to our refrigerators so that everyone has access to it.
When accompanied by other symptoms, including lethargy, loss of appetite, discomfort, or vomiting, it could be serious, and the quicker you can get your dog the help he needs, the better his chance of recovery.
This video provides a few pointers on what to watch for if your dog has blood in stools: