My Dog Has Blood in His Stool - What Next?

When a dog has blood in his stool there can be several causes and a number of treatment options available. If there are only a few drops of blood in the stool there is probably no need to worry, but keep checking the stool in the future to see if any further blood appears. By looking into the various symptoms, causes and treatments of bloody stool owners can better identify what might be harming their pets and what can be done to stop it.

Associated Symptoms

  • Bright red blood streaks or blood drops in stool
  • Black or tarry stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Straining to move bowls
  • Vomiting, fever, weight loss, excessive eating or drinking, and lethargy can accompany bloody stool, and are signs of a more serious problem that should be looked into by your vet.

Potential Causes of Bloody Stool

  • Parasites, like hookworm or whipworm
  • Bowel cancer
  • Anal sac infection
  • Bone pieces or sharp objects
  • Tumors
  • Twisted stomach
  • Foreign objects
  • Ulcers
  • Overfeeding or eating food that has gone bad
  • Allergies or toxicity
  • Colitis or proctitis
  • Bacteria or infections
  • Liver or kidney failure
  • Addison's disease
  • Enlarged prostate

If the blood is red and outside the stool the problem is most likely in the colon or rectum, like an enlarged prostate, an obstruction or a cut on the anus. This condition of fresh red blood on the stool is known as hematochezia.

Black, tarry stool is called melena and can be a sign of serious problems in the gastrointenstinal tract. Dogs should be brought to the veterinarian immediately is melena is seen. Repeated signs of hematochezia or a large amount of fresh blood in the stool should also be addressed by a vet. Bring a stool sample when visiting the vet to help determine the cause.

Treatment options vary depending on what is causing the blood in your dog's stool. A vet will most likely perform a physical exam on your dog and examine and test the stool for parasites, broken bone pieces, bacteria and viruses. Further procedures may include x-rays, blood tests, ultrasound, colonoscopy and endoscopic exams.

Possible Treatments

  • Antibiotics for infections
  • Deworming for parasites
  • Cancer treatment
  • Changes in diet and feeding
  • Changes in medication
  • Surgery and intestinal biopsies
  • Enemas
  • IV fluid therapy

With such a variety of possibly causes and treatments, it is important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible and to know which symptoms to recognize with bloody stool in order to diagnose any serious conditions early.