Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dog Medical Emergencies Survey: Is Bleeding an Emergency?

48.48% survey participants checked bleeding as an emergency. What do you think? 



Blood, naturally, belongs inside the blood vessels and has no business being anywhere else. The deciding factor with bleeding is the volume and the location.

Severe or continuous bleeding is always an emergency.


Substantial blood loss can lead to shock, collapse, and death. This is no laughing matter. The smaller the dog and the faster the blood loss, the more your dog's life is at stake.

There are, of course, situations when your dog might get a little nick or cut, where bleeding is minimal and stops on its own. Whether or not you should see a veterinarian with minor wounds depends on the type and depth of the wound. With an active dog, you might have learned how to treat minor wounds at home. However, even a tiny nick in the skin from a bite can prove much more serious than it looks and it can blow up with a huge infection.

I recommend treating all animal bites as an emergency.


A tiny amount of fresh blood in feces might not be an emergency. But it is a major red flag as it does indicate damage to the gut lining whether from an infection, foreign material or inflammatory process. You might not need to seek veterinary care immediately but do it as soon as you can. Remember it could turn bad in a hurry such as with a foreign body or hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (note this one now got renamed to Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea Syndrome).

Blood in urine or urine that has any color other than shades of yellow is a reason to seek medical help as soon as possible.

Nose bleeds may or may not be an emergency depending on duration and the amount of bleeding but always call for veterinary attention.

The bottom line is that there should not be any blood coming out of your dog anywhere.


While not every bleeding constitutes an emergency, meaning you need to see a vet immediately, they all do require veterinary attention.

The more severe the bleeding, the faster you need to get help.


That is, again good sense. If your dog is also lethargic, has pale gums, or showing other serious signs, time is of the essence.

Related articles:
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey
Dog Medical Emergencies Survey Results
Is Unproductive Retching an Emergency?
Is Difficulty Breathing an Emergency?
Is Panting an Emergency?
Is Severe Pain an Emergency?
Is Limping an Emergency?
Is Vomiting Bile in the Morning an Emergency?
Is Profuse Vomiting an Emergency?
Are Convulsions or Seizures an Emergency?
Is Loss of Appetite an Emergency?
Is Reduced Activity an Emergency?
Is Severe Lethargy an Emergency?
Is Inability to Stand an Emergency?
Is Inability to Urinate an Emergency?
Are Cuts and Abrasions an Emergency?



Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog now available in paperback and Kindle. Each chapter includes notes on when it is an emergency.

24 comments

  1. Good advice! Dog parents should be able to recognize what is an emergency.

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  2. Thank you for the advice! Great post, keep them coming!
    Henry
    :)

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  3. I was worried when he got scratched by a cat and was bleeding but the vet thought it was minor and not to worry. I'm glad I called though.

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    Replies
    1. Scratches may or may not lead to trouble but bites, particularly cat bites, almost always do.

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  4. I am extremely queasy with blood and definitely take it as an emergency. If I am not sure, I call the vet and ask for advice.

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    1. That is always the best thing to do. For me, it's not really the blood itself that sets me off but the fact that my baby got hurt.

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  5. Anything other than a cut the cat would be at the vet so far it's paws wouldn't touch the ground!! I am not a 'blood' person but if my cats needs help I would do what I needed. Me being squeemish would be an impediment not a help.

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    1. Tolerance to blood and other like things increases with exposure. But substantial blood loss is an emergency even when it doesn't bother you as such.

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  6. After raising 5 human kids and as well as living with dogs most of my life, I like to think that I would recognize an emergency if I have one. However, I didn't know (until this series) that a dogs' gums are a good indicator of an emergency. Thanks!

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    1. Gums is something one needs to know to check. Gums reflect blood loss even when no bleeding is visible, such as with internal bleeding, or from destruction of red blood cells such as with autoimmune disease ... Definitely a think to check when a dog seems to feel poorly.

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  7. I recommend taking a first aid course. It can help you feel less panicked if you know what to do while getting your pet to help.

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    1. That is a great thing to do, thank you for pointing that out.

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  8. Great post. I would probably head to the vet for a nose bleed if there wasn't a reason why it was bleeding. I would worry about a tumor or something inside.

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    1. Yes, tumors are a common cause of nose bleeds.

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  9. I too might not have looked at gums for bleeding. So scary raising kids and furkids. I am always worried about something.

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    1. Gums, being pale, signify anemia. Which means major blood loss whether from external bleeding, internal bleeding, or even destruction of red blood cells with no bleeding at all. Pale gums = an emergency.

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    2. Bleeding gums directly, of course, is commonly sign of dental disease.

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  10. I'm taking a first aid course right now. I tend to be a nervous cat mom!

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  11. Very good points! There is only one time that one of my kitties started bleeding and I freaked out (cats are not as tough on themselves as dogs are). He had gotten his claw stuck in the mechanics of our recliner and ended up managing to break his claw off. It wasn't a true emergency, but I did rush to the vet with him because I wasn't sure if he had done any other damage. Better safe than sorry!

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    1. Recliners can pose a serious risk, that's for sure.

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  12. Great information! Seeing your pet bleeding can definitely be scary, and it's important to know what to do and to be able to recognize if it's an emergency or not. I also agree with your advice about bites always being an emergency. My parents' dog was left with a dog-sitter one time, and he got bit by another dog while in their care. The pet-sitter didn't notify my parents or take Luke to the vet about it (they said they didn't notice), and the bite ended up getting infected, and he passed away because of it. It was terribly tragic. And my parents will obviously never use those pet sitters again!!!

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    Replies
    1. So so sorry about the tragedy. Yes, infections are a huge risk with bites.

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  13. I definitely viewed this as an emergency. Thank you for sharing the information.

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