Blood in places where it shouldn’t be is always concerning, but this is enhanced when it stems from somewhere inside the body, and because our dogs can’t tell us exactly where it hurts, we only have our own observations to go by. So, it’s natural to panic if you see blood in your dog’s urine, or around the exit of the urethra; however, it isn’t always a cause for alarm, but it is a sign that you should contact your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis.
WHY DOES MY DOG HAVE BLOOD IN HIS URINE?
The veterinary term for urine that contains blood is Hematuria, and there are a number of reasons why blood may be present. The two most common causes originate in the dog’s upper or lower urinary tract. Certain breeds have a predisposition of developing haematuria; Welsh Corgis, for example, can be prone to renal telangiectasia – a widening of the blood vessels contained within the kidneys, resulting in blood in the urine. Your vet will be able to tell you if your dog’s breed is known for developing urinary tract problems.
BLOOD FROM THE LOWER URINARY TRACT
This is the part of the urinary system that includes the bladder and urethra, which carries the urine from the bladder to the outside, and it’s the most usual site for infections. These infections include:
- Bladder infection (also called a lower urinary tract infection or UTI) – this is the most common reason for blood to be present in your dog’s urine, and as with humans, it can be caused by a chill, a lowered immune system, hormone imbalances and even the shape of the urethra itself can make some dogs more susceptible to infections
- Bladder stones – these hard crystalline granules, similar to kidney stones, can develop for several reasons, including a long term infection, nutrition, and genetic background
- Cancer of the bladder
- Prostate issues – these occur in unneutered male dogs and include prostate infections and benign prostate enlargement
These problems tend to have very similar symptoms, and it can be hard for the average pet owner to figure out what their dog’s particular problem is. They all result in the dog straining to urinate, displaying signs of being unsettled and maybe wandering around the yard trying to find the right spot to pee. The dog may whimper when he does go – as with a UTI in humans, it can sting when he passes urine. Because it causing your dog pain to urinate, he will often hang on as long as possible – which ironically makes the infection worse, and this can lead to accidents in the house. Although the likelihood is that blood will be present in the urine, in some cases you may not actually spot any and it can only be seen under a microscope by your veterinary surgeon.
BLOOD FROM THE UPPER URINARY TRACT
Blood from the upper urinary tract, while less common than from the lower, can be a more serious problem, tending to involve the two kidneys. The presence of blood can signify a number of issues, including:
- Idiopathic renal hematuria – this term is used to indicate blood that stems from the kidney, but that lacks a known reason
- Kidney infection – an infection can affect just one, or both of your dog’s kidneys. This can often be the result of a UTI that remains untreated
- Kidney cancer – fortunately rare, cancer cells can stay in the kidneys or spread to other areas of the body
OTHER CAUSES OF BLOOD IN DOG URINE
Other than upper and lower urinary tract problems, blood in your dog’s urine can signify other problems. If your dog has been involved in a road accident, internal bleeding from various organs, including a ruptured bladder, can lead to bloody urine. Problems with the clotting of blood or inflammation of the blood vessels can also manifest in bloody urine. Blood in the urine can also be a symptom of anemia.
Unspayed females dogs can suffer from a uterine infection called pyometra. This can prove fatal if not dealt with as an emergency so at the first sign of blood in your dog’s urine or blood around the urethra opening, call your vet.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SEE BLOOD IN YOUR DOG’S URINE
If you spot urine that is pinky/red, has streaks of red, or your dog is having problems urinating, it’s important to contact your vet as soon as possible. It can help with the diagnosis if your vet has a little background information.
It is a good idea to try and collect a urine sample in a container to take to your vet. This can be refrigerated for a few hours if necessary. You can also slip a piece of white cloth or paper underneath your puppy as they urinate which can help with any diagnosis as the color of the blood indicates how far up the urinary tract the blood originates from. But if these actions seem to be holding you up, don’t worry, and head for your vets as quickly as possible.
CAN DOGS PEE BLOOD FROM STRESS?
Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or FLUTD, has many causes, including stress, prostatitis (infection), or hyperplasia. Seek advice from your veterinarian if you are concerned.
IS BLOOD IN DOG URINE AN EMERGENCY?
It can be an emergency, so it's always best to assume it is, until you know otherwise. Contact your veterinarian to be on the safe side.
HOW CAN I TREAT MY DOG'S UTI AT HOME?
There are several effective home remedies for a UTI. A little daily solution of apple cider vinegar mixed with some warm water and given to the dog to drink can help, while giving a daily cranberry supplement can make a positive difference. However, as always, if you're concerned, visit your veterinarian.
This helpful video provides some useful tips on how to deal with your dog’s urinary tract infection: