Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dog Medical Emergencies Survey: Is Fresh Blood in Stool an Emergency?

66.67% survey participants agreed that blood in stool is an emergency.


I already elaborated earlier that blood belongs into blood vessels and has no business being anywhere else. That includes external bleeding, internal bleeding, blood in vomit or blood in feces.

It is interesting that a majority of people seems to agree that blood in vomit or stool is serious, and only very few feel that bleeding, in general, is an emergency.


As I explained before, the urgency mostly depends on the amount of bleeding.


Diarrhea can aggravate the gut lining enough to cause small amounts of fresh blood in the stool. You need to understand that this happens because there has been enough damage to the gut tissue to cause it to bleed. Then the question remains what is behind all the damage. Is it an infection? Is it parasites? Is it an inflammatory disease? Trauma? Foreign body? Is blood not clotting properly? Or even more serious things such as cancer?

Just because the stool might be solid doesn't mean the reason for blood on it is not serious.

The thing is that you have no way of knowing.


If you find blood in your dog's poop, you absolutely need to see a vet.

If there is a tiny amount and there are no other serious symptoms such as signs of pain, vomiting, lethargy etc, you might be able to wait till the morning or next day to see your vet.

The more blood and the sicker your dog appears, the more urgent it is they get medical attention. If your dog is a young puppy, also don't wait at all.

If you found blood in your stool, would you seek a doctor?


Same should apply to your dog. I recommend higher caution with a dog because unless like with yourself you can't always know how your dog is feeling exactly. You may or may not be able to read signs of pain, weakness and other serious symptoms.


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?
Is Bleeding an Emergency?
Is Blood in Vomit 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.

29 comments

  1. Another great tip! Whenever something is wrong, it always makes me head to the vet or take a photo and message my vet! My vet says she gets more photos of poop than any other image!

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    1. That is the best approach.

      LOL Gotta love poop photos. When hubby took Jasmine out by himself, he always had to come back with poop photos for me to evaluate.

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  2. Thanks for the background info on this. If I saw blood in my dog's stool I would call my Vet right away. You just never know.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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    1. Yes. Even though SOMETIMES it might be a one time thing that means little, you never know what it does or doesn't mean.

      Jasmine had blood in her stool twice through the years, always as a result of an IBD flare-up.

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  3. Seeing blood in your dog's stool is one of the scariest things ever. Ringo found a spot in the yard where apparently the people who used to own our house buried their pets.. and over the years the bones surfaced. And Ringo ate them. We had no idea that he had found them and suddenly had dark, bloody stool. It took weeks of meds and special G/I food to get his system back in order after that. I was relieved (and also a bit grossed out) when we figured out what he had eaten. Spent two whole days raking and sifting dirt after that. Thanks for sharing about this important topic!

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    1. Wow, what a crazy story. I'm glad everything worked out, though.

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  4. This happened to our foster dog and we took him to the ER. They thought he might have bad gastroenteritis or HGE.

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    1. Yes, HGE is one of the possible reasons; it's a very serious condition.

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  5. Great post, and it makes complete sense. I am lucky to not have had this issue as yet but will keep it in mind for future reference.

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    1. I'm glad you didn't have any such issues and hope you never will.

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  6. I thankfully haven't found blood in my dog's stool, but yes, I would absolutely be alarmed and take her to the vet immediately.

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    1. That is the right thing to do. I'm glad you never had this problem and I hope you never will.

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  7. Fantastic tip as always, and each time I call the vet when it has happened his reply to me, is she eating and drinking, acting like normal and if its only once then don't panic but watch her stools to make sure it does not happen daily

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    1. Yes, with most issues, one event = no event, with the absence of other signs. With something like blood in the stool, though, I don't apply that rule unless I already know what caused it and it's being treated.

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  8. Monte had an anal gland burst last year... and yet we saw no signs at all until the fatal day. Now i am that crazy pet parent that takes a GOOD look at his rear every night and at his poop! I don't care if people think I am crazy.

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    1. If it helps, I don't think you're crazy. Particularly after such an experience, it's understandable that you'd be extremely cautious. Paying close attention is always a good idea.

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  9. Seeing blood anywhere is a cause for alarm here and a trip to the vet would be the immediate result.

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    1. Yes, blood only belongs into blood vessels, nowhere else.

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  10. I am definitely one of those nutty pet parents who rushes her dogs to the vet at the first sign of blood in their stool. I figure if it's not supposed to be there, it's getting checked by a professional!

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    1. It might not always be a "true" emergency but that is the best policy for sure.

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  11. If I found blood in my cats' stool (or in my own for that matter) I would be very concerned. Honestly, I would panic more if it happened to my cats than if it happened to myself. I can feel what is happening in my own body to draw conclusions about the immediacy of the problem, but with the cats, it is more of a guess. I think I would call the veterinarian right away and get their insight on just how panicked I should be. The sight of dried blood in the stool would probably concern me more than fresh blood because dried blood would have come from an area further up the digestive tract. Fresh blood could be indicative of a cut or a hemorrhoid closer to the rectum.

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    1. LOL I know what you mean by being more concerned about the same thing in your cats than in yourself. I have the same reaction. I think part of that is that you know how you yourself feel which provides further indication of the seriousness of the situation. With an animal, you may or may not be able to see signs telling you how your pet actually feels.

      You're totally correct about dry (more accurately digested) blood being a bigger problem, my next post is about that.

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  12. My dog Sophie had blood in her stool one morning, and I called the vet right away. It turned out to be something relatively minor, but I was not going to take a wait and see approach with that one.

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    1. Yes, fresh blood, in small amounts, can be from something relatively minor. It can also get worse such as with hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (they renamed this recently). It is always best to err on side of caution.

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  13. I continue to love reading your responses to the survey questions you sent out. I agree, blood anywhere, is definitely a reason to see a vet quickly.

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    1. Thank you, this project kind of got a life on its own after I looked at the survey results.

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  14. Good advice! I like the way you related this to humans......"what would you do if....?" For some reason, people often don't think of issues related to their pets that way when making decisions.

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    1. Thank you, Karen. I have to admit I'm more likely to rush my dog to a vet than go to hospital myself. But as a general rule, if you'd be calling an ambulance for yourself, you better be on the way to a vet if same happens to your pet.

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  15. I got a fright on the weekend as I thought Kilo had blood in his stool. However it turned out that he had stolen some of my daughter's cooked red pepper and not digested it at all. He was absolutely fine. Phew

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