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What should I do if there's blood in my dog's stool?

Our Norristown vets know that responsible dog owners spend a lot of time picking up their dog's poop. For that reason, you likely have a pretty good idea of what a normal stool looks like for your dog. But what should you do if you notice blood in your dog's poop? 

Help, there's blood in my dog's poop!

Noticing blood in your dog's stool may result in you thinking "oh no! My dog is pooping blood!" And you would be right because it could be a sign of a serious health problem.

Whenever you see blood in your pet's stool it's a good idea to call your regular vet. The bigger question is whether blood in your dog's stool is actually an emergency that requires a trip to the closest emergency veterinary hospital.


If you have a young puppy with blood in its stool, visit your vet immediately! Parvovirus is common in unvaccinated pups and can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Assess Your Dog's Overall Health 

Seems Normal

If your dog has blood in their stool but otherwise appears to be happy, eating well, and behaving normally, call your regular vet and ask for advice. Your regular veterinarian will be able to assess the severity of the situation and advise you on whether it is necessary to bring your pet into the office for an examination.

Seems Unwell

If you've noticed blood in your dog's stool and your dog also vomiting, refusing to eat, and looking unwell, it's time for an immediate trip to the vet. During normal business hours contact your regular vet and book an emergency appointment, after hours you should call your emergency vet.

Assess Your Dog's Stool

Take a moment to examine your dog's stool before heading to the vet. Your vet will be able to diagnose your dog's condition more quickly if you are able to provide an accurate description of your dog's stool. When it comes to blood in your dog's stool, there are two distinct types:


Hematochezia is the presence of bright red blood or fresh-looking blood in dog stool that originates in the lower digestive tract or colon. Hematocheza can be found in both firm stool and diarrhea. Hematochezia's distinctive bright red color indicates that the blood originated in the lower part of the digestive tract and traveled only a short distance through the dog's body.

Viral diarrheas, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer are all common causes of hematochezia.


This blood has been digested or swallowed, indicating an upper digestive tract problem. Melena produces a black, inky stool with a jelly-like consistency. Melena does not usually cause diarrhea; instead, stool forms.

Common causes of melena include stomach inflammation, stomach ulcers, and cancer.

Possible Causes of Blood in Stool

It is important to note that a red stool does not always indicate the presence of blood. If your dog ate a red nonfood item, such as a crayon or lipstick, he or she may pass a red stool. Red icing and cakes may have the same effect on your dog's feces.

Streaks of bright red blood in your dog's stool could be caused by an infection or injury to your dog's sensitive rectal area, such as a ruptured anal sac. 

Other causes of blood in stool include:

  • Viral and bacterial infections 
  • Parvovirus
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HG)
  • Cancer
  • Parvovirus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Severe food intolerance

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog has blood in their stool and is showing other signs of illness or has bloody diarrhea, contact our Norristown vets

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Trooper Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients in Norristown. Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of your animal companions. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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