Causes of Blood in Dog Stool and Steps on How to Treat Bloody Diarrhea Naturally

Basically, as a pet owner, I dread bloody diarrhea in dogs. But we knew that dogs are scavengers by nature and always get into things they’re not supposed to and because of their curiosity, they often get hurt directly or indirectly. 

blood in dog stool
Diarrhea signals that the body is in a state of imbalance or needs to cleanse. One of the familiar issues we see in the veterinary clinics is Gastrointestinal (GI) upset or diarrhea. 

I could understand how quickly pet parents panic and will rush their dogs to the clinic due to some loose stool but it isn't a serious problem. Perhaps partly because they don't want to clean up the mess or maybe they are truly worried that the cause may be something life-threatening.

Causes Of Diarrhea in Dogs?

So what causes diarrhea in dogs? Are there natural approaches for diarrhea in dogs before you see a vet? When should you worry and consult your doctor? 

There are lots of causes of diarrhea, numerous of these are harmless but some of them can be fatal.  As per my experience, there's no need to panic if your dog has a bloody stool (fresh blood) as this may be a symptom of hemorrhagic colitis which can be remedied by changing the dog's diet. But there are some cases that are life threatening as well.

Our job as pet parents is to recognize the changes in their behaviour and to read the signs as soon as we suspect that something is wrong.

However, for the causes of diarrhea, there would be a long list but we'll mention the top ones here.
Blood in dog stool

Blood in Dog Stool : What to Look For?

The first thing you need to look for is the color of the blood, is it bright red  or dark, tarry color?

The next thing to do is to check the dog's tail or the anus. Rectal injury or an infection near the anal area can also lead to streaks of fresh blood.

Thirdly, check the stool if it is normal in consistency (firm not loose), recognize if your dog is acting or eating in a normal energy level. If yes, you can wait the next day to pursue medical action.

Some pet owners basically assume their dogs have hemorrhoids the moment they notice fresh blood on dog stool. But unlike humans, dogs don't get hemorrhoids but are more susceptible to anal gland infections. 

This is due to the anal gland in the rectum herniates through the side of the anal sphincter as a result of an infection or impaction.

Note: If your dog is young or still a puppy and experiencing diarrhea
combined with lethargy and lack of appetite, bring your dog to the veterinarian immediately as this could be a sign of parvo infection.
The blood in dog stool is medically known as Hematochezia or Melena. But it all depends on whether the rectal bleeding comes from the dog's upper or lower digestive system. 
blood in dog stool
Dog Hematochezia vs. Melena - Check the Difference
Fresh blood
Digested blood
Bright, red, raw blood in stool
Black, tarry stool
Derives from colon or rectum
Derives from esophagus, stomach, or upper small intestine
a.) Hematochezia is the presence of bright red, raw blood present in your dog’s feces.  In humans, such a sign tells doctors that the person is suffering from hemorrhoids.

In dogs, it is highly likely that the blood comes from the colon or rectal area. Once the dog owner spots blood in stool, the vet should be notified immediately. Hematochezia is a serious condition.

b.) While Melena is black, smelly, and tarry stool where old blood which has been digested is passed, basically from the effect of bleeding in the upper digestive tract.

1.) Causes of Hematochezia 

Common Causes
Drastic changes such as staying in a kennel, a new dog in the house, or moving to a new place can all trigger stress, hence can cause blood in the stool.

The dog usually develops colitis, accompanied by diarrhea with mucus and blood.
This pathogen is usually found in Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and other black and tan breeds.

Both puppies and adults can contract this virus, but puppies suffer more because of their immature immune systems.

Vets should treat unvaccinated adult dogs and puppies to prevent fatal outcomes.
Rectal Polyps
If the poop is coated with blood, the dog could have rectal polyps, which could protrude from the dog’s anus. These polyps bleed easily.

The vet could feel them when they perform rectal examination. Polyps could also be internal, confirmed by an endoscopy. These polyps may be cancerous.
Dietary Indiscretion or Diet Change
Diet indiscretion including overeating can irritate the colon. This causes the dog to have bloody stools with mucus and diarrhea.
If you also change the dog’s diet abruptly, they'll have similar results, along with vomiting.

It is best to change the food gradually over several days. 
Human food, allergies, and spoiled foods can also cause this and colon inflammation.
Rectal Injuries
A dog may ingest a sharp object such as a stick or a bone. The said object may scrape the rectum or the lining of the lower part of the colon as it joins the feces.

It may protrude from the feces once the dog defecates. Once the object is out, the bleeding stops eventually. 

Look for any protrusions, swelling, or injuries around the anus or anal glands.
These are the most common causes of hematochezia. Coccidia (protozoan), roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms usually cause blood in the stool.

Once the vet identifies the right parasite, the proper de-wormer can help eliminate these organisms.
Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)
This condition manifests through abundant amounts of blood in the stool, accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting.

The vet would treat the dog with proper medications and intravenous therapy.
Food Allergies
Dogs develop allergies to proteins as they become older. Colitis manifests when the allergies become severe.

The inflammation usually leads to the damage of the intestinal tract, resulting in hematochezia. The dog owner should consult the vet to resolve this health issue.
Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia
This is an uncommon disease, which can be fatal if not addressed early on. The dog’s immune system eats up the platelets responsible for proper clotting.

This then brings forth profuse bleeding. Other cases result in the consumption of the red blood cells, leading to anemia.

The gums of the dog usually appear pale and not pink. The dog owner should seek vet care immediately.

2.) Causes of Melena 

This type of blood in stool is usually described as coffee grounds. The blood may come from the upper part of the small intestine, lungs, esophagus, pharynx, or the stomach.
Common Causes
Post-Surgery Complications
Black colored stool within 72 hours after surgery means that there could be internal bleeding.

The dog owner should bring the canine patient back to the vet immediately.
Pepto Bismol
Giving Pepto-Bismol can make your dog’s stool tarry temporarily.

Gastric bleeding is a common side effect of this medication. As soon as the dog stops taking it, the stool color returns to normal.
NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like aspirin can develop ulcers along the dog’s digestive tract.

Bleeding ulcers are manifested by black stools. 

Blood has already been digested and has gone through the dog’s stomach. The dog owner should bring the dog to the vet immediately.
Ingestion of Blood
Licking some blood from a wound or eating blood stew can make a dog’s stool appear tarry.

It is always best to bring the dog to the vet to be certain of the real cause.
Blood Clotting Disorder
When the dog suffers from blood clotting disorders, the tarry stools may be accompanied by purplish skin.

The color change indicates bleeding underneath the skin. 

A common cause of clotting disorders in dogs is the accidental ingestion of rat poison. If this is the case, bring the dog to the vet immediately.
Tumors / Cancer
This is common in senior dogs. Once the dog owner spots dark stools coming from their pet, they should see the vet right away. This is to rule out bleeding polyps or even the possibility of cancer.

Other Causes of Dark, Tarry Stool

  • Bacterial Infections caused by Clostridium perfringens or Campylobacter
  • Intestinal Blockages
  • Trauma
  • Fissures

Natural Remedy for Dogs Diarrhea and Bloody Stool

This natural remedy is for dogs that have suffered from diarrhea not longer than 48 hours combined with lethargic or deficient of energy and alertness.
  • 1.) Subject your dog to a 12 - 24-hour fasting, and then you can gradually introduce food like boiled mashed butternut squash or pumpkin or chicken broth for 24 to 48 hours (with 1 to 2 meals a day). By then, you can change your dog's meal to lean meat and vegetable blend ( fish or poultry is the best) for a day or two before giving regular food.
  • 2.) How to cook the mashed Butternut squash or Pumpkin? Boil or steam butternut squash (you can also use yams or pumpkin). Mash them and add chicken/vegetable broth to enhance the flavor and to create consistency.
  • 3.) Make sure your dog is well hydrated while it also helps feeding him adequate levels of “good” bacteria (like non-dairy Probiotic food) in his intestines to counteract the bad bacteria as well as to replenish the intestinal flora.
Here's the Recipe for Non-Dairy Probiotics Foods for Dogs:

1.) Coconut Kefir

blood in dog stool
You may have seen or bought kefir made with cow's milk or goat's milk however, it's possible to create your own coconut kefir (or water kefir) at home which is non-dairy and gluten-free.
For Coconut Kefir: 
  • 4 to 5 Fresh young coconut water (or little brown coconut water)
  • 1 pack Kefir Starter (or Activated Water Kefir Grains) you can buy this at  Amazon
  • Warm (low heat) the fresh coconut water into the container making sure it just touches 92° in body temperature (hotter than this will kill the bacteria and it won't ferment).
  • Pour the Kefir starter in the coconut water and wake the bacteria up by stirring and dispersing them evenly using a wooden spoon.
  • Pour the mixture in a glass container and let it sit or store in a cupboard (70°-75° environment) within 3 days.  Note: No further cooler or hotter than this temperature otherwise, the bacteria will fall asleep or go dormant and will go bad.
  • It will look like milky white when it's done.

2.) Slippery Elm Bark

As dog owners, we always look for a good organic solution for many canine health issues. Fortunately, slippery elm bark exists to meet their needs. This natural remedy treats hematochezia, especially when it’s associated with colitis.

You should observe the pet if it stayed in a kennel for a while. Stress colitis can manifest with stools with blood.

GastroElm Plus is a product that has 80% slippery elm bark powder.
This is often used for gastrointestinal issues (diarrhea and vomiting) in animals including ulcers in horses and pancreatitis in canines.

This product is not exotic, meaning it is manufactured in the United States, utilizing only the highest quality human grade ingredients.
bloody diarrhea in dogs

Benefits of Using Slippery Elm Bark on Dogs

  • Emollient—it protects and soothes the skin
  • Astringent—it dries, binds, and constricts
  • Nutritive—it provides special nutrients
  • Tonic—promotes the healthy function of various organ systems
  • Demulcent—it forms mucilage and comforts
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
The mucilage the bark produces coats the damaged, irritated, or inflamed tissues inside the dog’s body, thereby creating a barrier.

Outside the dog’s body, the bark can serve as a poultice to eliminate infection and heals wounds more quickly.

Slippery elm bark is excellent in treating colitis, inflamed bowels, stomach ulcers, and gastritis. It also helps treat constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, mouth ulcers, arthritis, tonsillitis, asthma, bronchitis, cystitis, and kidney diseases.

Feeding Directions:

  • Give 1 tsp of powdered herb per 20 lbs of body weight, 3 or 4x a day.
  • Mix the powder with water and give it as a liquid with a dropper.

Pointers in Providing Care for Dogs at Home:

The presence of blood in a dog’s stool is a serious condition. If your pet has blood in his or her stool, here are some of the things you should do:
  • Keep an eye on the dog’s stool, if there’s an improvement or if it is worsening.
  • Administer the prescribed medications at home properly.  Observe the dog’s appetite and activities.
  • Follow the dietary changes. Notify the veterinarian about any changes.
Pathogens, parasites, and harmful objects will always surround dogs. We, as pet owners are responsible for our dog’s health and safety. Bloody diarrhea in dogs should be addressed quickly so that dogs can have longer lives and optimal health.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are for informational and educational purposes only.

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