Customer Service (1-855-981-8080)

Blood in the dog poo! Oh no!

Blood in the dog's poo

We know many of our customers and supporters are 💩 experts. Bun and guinea pig pawrents spend a lot of time looking at our furry family’s “production.” While this isn’t a tantalizing topic, it is essential to monitor poop for any health changes. One of the things you might see is blood… but what does it mean when there's blood in the dog poo?

Before we dig deeper (be prepared for all kinds of 💩 jokes), this article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for your veterinarian, diagnosis, or treatment. I you see signs of blood in the dog poo, there's no need to panic. But it does mean you should call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment to discuss right away. However, if your dog is not eating/drinking or appears lethargic, bring them to the vet immediately.

Bright Red Blood vs. Dark and Tarry Blood

puppy with magnifying glass

We can simplify the presentation of blood in your pup’s poo into two categories: Bright Red or Dark and Tarry. How do you know which is which? Unfortunately, seeing blood in your dog’s stool is only a symptom of something wrong. It doesn't identify the actual cause of the problem.

While it's not the most fun activity, if you inspect and correctly describe the blood in the poo this helps your vet determine the blood source.

Bright Red Blood

The scientific term for bright red blood is Hematochezia. Hematochezia describes fresh blood, most likely from the lower intestines/lower digestive system, and often from the colon or rectum. Some causes of hematochezia include:

  • Parvovirus (Parvo): A highly contagious and severe virus commonly found in puppies, but also in adult dogs. Other symptoms of Parvo include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Prompt treatment is critical but it can be prevented by the DA2PPC vaccination.
  • Parasites: This is the most common cause of blood in stools. A fecal analysis (poop sample) will show if parasites are present. The treatment plan is determined based on the organism.
  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis: Similar to Parvo, symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, this causes large amounts of blood in stools and dehydrates poochie quickly. 
  • Rectal injuries: If she ate something she shouldn’t have, i.e. a sharp object, there's potential for a rectal injury. The object can scrape the lower intestine during digestion or elimination. Anal gland injuries and rectal polyps can also result in bright red blood deposited on stools.
  • Stress: Stress upsets hooman tummies, and it can do the same for your pup. Concerning the digestive system, stress-induced colitis leads to blood and/or mucus in the loose (soft or diarrhea) stools.

📷 used with permission from 

Dark Red or Black/Tarry Blood in Stools

Time for another scientific term… Melena! Melena is the medical term for dark red or black/tarry stools. Obviously, as it is dark, it's harder to see. Additionally, the blood source originates higher up the intestinal tract so that by your BFF poops, the blood is almost totally digested. Melena may be caused by:

  • Blood clotting disorders: Several conditions can cause clotting disorders. Additionally, it can be caused by your animal eating rodent poison.
  • Use of NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs): Many dogs are prescribed animal safe versions of ibuprofen/Motrin to treat inflammation or mild/moderate pain such as Rimadyl. Unfortunately, your pet can develop gastric ulcers from the extended use of these medications.
  • Post-surgery complications: If you notice black, tarry stools up to 72 hours after any recent surgery, call your vet immediately! This could indicate internal bleeding.
  • Tumors or cancer: Older dogs are more prone to bleeding tumors or polyps, which can cause dark stools.
  • Ingestion of blood: Your dog isn’t a vampire but they may lick a bloody wound or have a mouth injury that causes them to swallow blood... crazy, but can be a cause for blood in the dog poo.

What Happens Next?

When you schedule your dog’s appointment, they will tell you to collect a fresh poop sample and bring it with you. My preferred method is to grab a disposable  plastic food container with a lid. I take my pup outside to potty, and I hold the box behind their bum to catch the poo. However, some dogs feel that’s an invasion of their privacy, which is understandable. Our vet says it’s OK if the poo hits the ground, and it's picked up in a poop bag, but make sure you check with yours.

Off to the vet you go, where your buddy will be thoroughly examined. The following is a list of possible questions you should be prepared to answer:

  • How long has there been blood in the dog poo?
  • Has this ever happened before?
  • Does your animal also have diarrhea?
  • If so, how long have you noticed diarrhea?
  • Are they vomiting?
  • Are they lethargic?
  • Are they still eating and drinking?
  • Do they roam free?
  • Do you know of anything they ate that they shouldn't have?

Additionally, the fresh sample will undergo a fecal flotation or “fecal” to check for intestinal parasites. Hookworms, whipworms and giardia, are rarely seen because they live inside your dog’s intestinal tract. However, they do pass microscopic eggs or spores in your dog’s stool.

After the examination and fecal, your veterinarian may want to test for viral diseases, such as parvovirus, or do blood work to look for other illnesses. If a foreign body obstruction is suspected, an x-ray/radiograph or ultrasound will show what's going on.

After all the testing is completed, your vet will recommend a treatment plan that makes him as good as new.

We sure hope bloody poo never happens to your dog, but knowledge is power. Again, if you notice your BFF pooping blood, don’t panic, but get an appointment with your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Choose your location

You can buy from Small Pet Select anywhere in the world! To get the best service, choose the store closest to you:

Take me there
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x