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Blood in Dog's Stool: Is It an Emergency?

Blood in Dog's Stool: Is It an Emergency?

Our Mechanicsburg emergency 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, my dog is pooping blood!

Noticing blood in a dog's stool is bound to be worrying, and could be a sign of a serious health problem.

If you notice blood in your pet's stool, contact your regular veterinarian. The more pressing question is whether blood in your dog's stool is an emergency that necessitates a trip to the nearest 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.

Call your regular vet within normal office hours, or visit our Mechanicsburg emergency animal clinic after hours.

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

Before you take your dog to the vet, examine his stool. If you can provide an accurate description of your dog's stool, your vet will be able to diagnose your dog's condition more quickly. When it comes to blood in your dog's stool, there are two kinds:


Hematochezia is the presence of bright red blood or fresh-looking blood in dog stool that originates in the lower digestive tract or colon. Hematochezia can manifest as firm stool or 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.

Common causes of hematochezia include viral diarrhea, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.


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, the 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 call your vet immediately, after hours contact our Mechanicsburg emergency vets at Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center. 

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center you never need an appointment to access our full complement of emergency services. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

Contact Us

Contact (717) 796-2334