Dog diarrhea with a little blood is unsettling when you spot it. While occasional diarrhea in dogs is not usually a cause for concern, when there is blood in the stool, it can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.
We outline potential causes of dog diarrhea and a little blood, along with the associated symptoms and when to seek help.
Here’s what causes dog diarrhea and a little blood
Dog diarrhea and a little blood may occur due to many different conditions which include gastrointestinal parasites, bacterial or viral infection, stress, gastrointestinal trauma, toxin ingestion, disease, and esophageal or stomach tumors.
What is dog diarrhea and a little blood?
Dog diarrhea and a little blood are characterized by loose runny stool with the presence of blood. In some cases, a little blood and diarrhea may occur together, which indicates a serious underlying condition.
Blood in the stool can occur when there is bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract and can be caused by different conditions.
Diarrhea, on the other hand, is characterized by loose or watery stools and can be caused by a wide range of factors.
The blood in the loose stool may appear as bright red blood or black and tarry blood. This appearance provides an insight into what part of the gastrointestinal part has a problem.
The appearance of bright red blood comes from the lower end of the intestines, that is the colon, rectum, and anus.
Black and tarry blood that looks like coffee grounds is partly digested blood that is from the stomach and small intestines.
Is it normal for dogs to have diarrhea with a little blood?
No, it is not normal for dogs to have diarrhea with a little blood and it is a sign of an underlying condition that affects a dog’s digestive tract.
Symptoms of dog diarrhea and a little blood
Dog diarrhea and blood are symptoms of underlying conditions therefore they may be accompanied by other symptoms including:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry heaving or retching
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss if it is chronic diarrhea
- Fever or hypothermia
Causes of Dog Diarrhea And A Little Blood
The most common causes of dog diarrhea with little blood are:
Intestinal parasitic infection
Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea with a little blood in a dog. The parasites irritate the lining of the gut, causing bleeding and also diarrhea.
This includes intestinal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms.
Bacterial or viral infections
Gastrointestinal infection by bacterial or viral infections can cause diarrhea with blood. Bacterial infections by Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and other bacterial agents cause this to occur.
Viral infection by parvovirus commonly affects unvaccinated puppies but it can also infect older dogs. Parvovirus infection causes bloody diarrhea and severe vomiting.
Dogs explore their environment by smelling, licking, and swallowing items. This includes non-edible foreign objects such as rocks, toys, sticks, or sharp bones.
These items can cause injury along the digestive tract as they move within it causing gastrointestinal bleeding and also upset the stomach and causing diarrhea with a little blood.
Therefore the internal trauma and the upset stomach lead to diarrhea with blood.
Stress can cause a dog to have diarrhea with little blood in addition to other symptoms including constant pacing, yawning, licking, barking, drooling, crying, and avoidance.
Stress colitis is a condition that causes large bowel diarrhea due to the inflammation of the colon and reduced absorption and holding of feces.
This causes small amounts of diarrhea which is often accompanied by mucus or blood.
Conditions that cause inflammation of the bowel cause diarrhea and vomiting and can also cause bloody diarrhea.
A dog may also ingest a toxin which may irritate their gastrointestinal lining and lead to bleeding. Toxin ingestion as well leads to diarrhea and this results in diarrhea with blood.
Several diseases or conditions that a dog might have can cause diarrhea and a little blood as a symptom. This includes kidney or liver disease, bleeding disorders, hormonal disorders, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, immune system diseases, ulcers, and cancer.
Ulcers in the stomach or intestines can cause bleeding, leading to blood in the stool. Ulcers are sores that form on the lining of a dog’s stomach or intestines and can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, certain medications, or chronic diseases such as gastritis.
Esophagus and stomach tumors
Tumors in the esophagus and stomach can cause diarrhea and blood in several ways.
One common way is that the tumor can grow in the intestinal wall or rectum and lead to inflammation, ulceration, or bleeding in the digestive tract. This can result in the appearance of blood in a dog’s stool.
In addition, some types of tumors in dogs can produce hormones or substances that affect the gastrointestinal tract and cause diarrhea, which may also be bloody.
Cancer can also weaken a dog’s immune system, making them more susceptible to infections that can cause diarrhea and a little blood.
Dog diarrhea and a little blood: What to do and when to seek help
Seek medical care as soon as possible when your dog has diarrhea mixed with blood, as this can indicate a serious underlying health condition.
Here are other signs that indicate that you should see a veterinarian immediately:
Severe diarrhea and blood loss: If your dog’s diarrhea is severe and if there are signs of severe blood loss, immediate veterinary attention is required.
Presence of other symptoms: Other symptoms may accompany diarrhea with a little blood. Other symptoms to look out for include lethargy, lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, signs of pain or discomfort, fever, and signs of dehydration, such as a dry nose or mouth and sunken eyes.
If your dog is vomiting along with diarrhea, this can quickly lead to dehydration and other complications. This requires immediate medical attention.
If your dog is a puppy or an older dog: Puppies and older are generally more vulnerable than healthy adult dogs so delaying treatment could result in their condition worsening or becoming more difficult to treat. Therefore, it is essential to seek immediate medical care.
A dog with preexisting conditions: If your dog has a history of chronic diarrhea or preexisting health problems.
Bloody diarrhea can be a symptom of a serious condition, therefore prompt diagnosis and treatment are important.
It is important to understand that this is not a normal occurrence and should be addressed by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
The veterinarian will conduct a physical examination, perform diagnostic tests, and treat the underlying condition accordingly.
Treatment for dog diarrhea and a little blood
Treatment for dog diarrhea and blood or bloody diarrhea depends on the diagnosis of the underlying cause. Treatment consists of:
- Diarrhea treatment
- Administration of fluids to correct dehydration
- Administration of medication (antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication)
- Deworming to treat intestinal parasites
- Treatment of disease
Hospitalization may be required in severe cases of dehydration for the administration of intravenous fluids and also if surgery is required for the removal of tumors.
Key Takeaway: Dog diarrhea and a little blood
Dog diarrhea and a little blood is concerning and is a serious symptom that can indicate a variety of underlying health conditions.
It is important to seek professional help from a veterinarian as soon as possible when your dog has diarrhea and a little blood. Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to a better outcome.