What Does it Mean When a Puppy Poops Blood?

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Puppy Poops BloodThe presence of blood in dog poop can be worrying to dog owners and will often indicate that something’s wrong with the dog’s digestive tract. As such, it’s important to know what a dog’s bloody stool looks like, the most common causes behind your dog’s condition, and how you can treat it. In this article, we share all the details you need to know while answering the question, “What does it mean when a puppy poops blood?”   

What Does Bloody Poop Look Like? 

Blood in a dog’s poop can differ in appearance depending on the cause of blood loss and where it’s occurring in the body. It’s possible for bloody dog stool to have varying characteristics inside a single stool sample. However, there are two different types of blood found within a pet’s stool; digested and fresh blood.  

Fresh Blood

This type of blood is also known as hematochezia and will look like streaks of bright red blood, big clots, or red diarrhea. When this happens, the blood has yet to mix with stomach acid when it retains a vibrant color and will indicate that it’s coming from the lower digestive tract. A small amount of bright red blood can appear around hard stool, normal stool, and diarrhea and it’s not uncommon for a small amount of blood to pass with straining as a result of diarrhea or constipation. 

Digested Blood

This refers to blood that’s been through the digestive system and has taken on a darker color. Tarry blood, or melena, found in the stool will appear black and often come with a bad odor. Common causes of melena include bleeding that has occurred in the upper digestive tract, which allows the blood to become digested before it comes out of the body as tarry stools. 

Causes of Bloody Stool

Finding blood in your dog’s stool can be a sign of various medical conditions or situations rather than an actual problem in their blood. The possible causes behind bloody stools in canines can range from life-threatening to relatively harmless. 

Parasitic, Viral, or Bacterial Infections

Intestinal parasites and contagious diseases can cause diarrhea and bloody stool in our dogs. Some of the most common explanations for blood in a dog’s poop include the following:

  • Parvovirus
  • Hookworms
  • Whipworms
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis

Both unvaccinated dogs and young puppies are most at risk when it comes to infectious diseases. As such, pet owners should stay updated with their dogs’ parasite prevention and vaccinations to protect them from various diseases. Moreover, healthy adult dogs may not show symptoms of worms, so it’s best to give them regular diagnostic tests. 

Dietary Indiscretion

When your dog eats something it shouldn’t such as rat poison, coffee grounds, and other things outside of their normal diet, they can experience dietary indiscretion. In some cases, our canine companions may develop symptoms after eating garbage or table scraps; a sudden change in their diet may also upset their gastrointestinal tract, leading to bloody stool. Spoiled food can also irritate intestinal microflora, which may also upset the GI tract. 


Bodily injury and trauma may cause blood to appear in your dog’s intestines. Swallowing objects or getting physical obstructions stuck somewhere in their body may cause blood to appear in their stool. Getting a mouth or tooth injury may cause blood to pass through the upper small intestine and may end up in the stool.   

Other Medical Conditions

Pet parents should also know that there are other reasons behind these internal health conditions and non-communicable diseases which may cause large amounts of blood in your dog’s stool. These may include the following conditions:

  • Straining from diarrhea or constipation
  • Inflamed anal glands
  • Kidney failure 
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia
  • Cancer
  • Heatstroke
  • Clotting disorders
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Excessively straining from constipation or diarrhea can irritate the rectum or colon, resulting in temporary blood in the feces. Moreover, serious conditions that affect internal organs such as kidney disease and intestinal blockages can also lead to bloody stool. 

What to Do if Your Puppy Poops Blood

If you see blood in your dog’s poop, be sure to look for the underlying cause of your dog’s bleeding and how much blood there is. While small amounts of blood could be a fluke in an otherwise healthy adult dog, it may be a good idea to contact your vet if other symptoms are present such as lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, or a change in gum color. Other things to look out for include the following:

  • Large amounts of blood present in the stool
  • A black and tarry stool
  • Bodily trauma such as getting hit by a car
  • Your pup has an underlying health problem
  • The bloody poop occurs in a small puppy 

Finally, if the blood doesn’t stop appearing in the stool after 24 to 48 hours, contact your vet, especially if it doesn’t have other symptoms. 

Do Bloody Stools Mean an Emergency? 

The presence of digested blood or severe bloody diarrhea is never a good thing and will indicate that your pup needs urgent medical care. Dogs that pass frequent, small amounts of clots or bloody diarrhea should also be taken to an emergency vet. Moreover, bleeding that lasts any more than 24 hours in your dog’s poop must be taken to their vet, even if you don’t see any other symptoms. 

How Will a Vet Treat Bloody Poop? 

Because bloody stool is a symptom with various causes rather than being an actual diagnosis, your vet will need to address any underlying issues to get to the root of the problem. As such, your vet may need to do some blood work and administer blood tests on your dog; they may also need your dog’s medical history and look for other signs of illness for a proper diagnosis. Moreover, depending on your dog’s symptoms, your vet may also take a sample of your dog’s feces, and perform an abdominal ultrasound to determine the source of the bleeding. 


As their owners, it’s up to us to ensure that our dog’s environment is safe and that they’re kept away from things that may upset their stomachs. It’s also important to avoid the sudden switch of their food and it’s best not to offer them food scraps; if your dog needs to change its diet, make sure to do it slowly to keep their tummy healthy. Finally, keep dangerous items such as trash and sharp items out of their reach so that they don’t get an obstruction in their digestive tract.