Diarrhea in Dogs Is Bloody Diarrhea an Emergency

Dogs are cherished members of our families, bringing joy and companionship to our lives. However, like humans, dogs can experience health issues, and one common concern among dog owners is diarrhea. While diarrhea itself is not uncommon in dogs, the presence of blood in the stool can be alarming. In this article, we’ll delve into the causes, signs, potential complications, and when bloody diarrhea in dogs warrants immediate attention.

Read More: Common Injuries in Dogs: How to Treat Them

Introduction to Diarrhea in Dogs

As a dog owner, it’s not uncommon to encounter health issues with your furry friend. One concern that often raises alarm is diarrhea in dogs, especially when it’s accompanied by blood. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the topic of bloody diarrhea in dogs, its potential causes, and how to determine whether it’s an emergency.

Understanding Diarrhea in Dogs

The Benefits of Dog Heartworm Test at Home

Diarrhea in dogs is characterized by loose, watery stools that occur more frequently than usual. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including dietary changes, infections, and underlying health conditions. While occasional bouts of diarrhea might not be cause for concern, it’s crucial to pay attention when the blood appears in the stool.

Types of Diarrhea

Acute Diarrhea

Acute diarrhea is sudden and short-lived, often caused by dietary indiscretion or consuming spoiled food. It usually resolves on its own within a couple of days.

Chronic Diarrhea

Chronic diarrhea, on the other hand, persists for several weeks and could indicate a more serious underlying issue. It’s essential to address chronic diarrhea promptly to prevent further complications.

Bloody Diarrhea

Bloody diarrhea is a distinctive and alarming sign that warrants special attention. If you notice red or dark blood in your dog’s stool, it could indicate an underlying health issue. The consistency and color of the blood can provide clues about the possible source of the bleeding.

Causes of Bloody Diarrhea

Several factors can contribute to bloody diarrhea in dogs. Parasitic infections, such as hookworms or coccidia, can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding. Dietary indiscretions, such as consuming spoiled food or foreign objects, can also result in irritation and bleeding. Additionally, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can cause chronic inflammation of the intestines and lead to bloody stools.

Parasites and Infections

Parasites like hookworms and infections like parvovirus can lead to bloody diarrhea. These conditions require immediate medical attention.

Dietary Indiscretion

Ingesting toxic substances, spoiled food, or foreign objects can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and cause bloody diarrhea.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD is a chronic condition that can lead to inflammation of the digestive tract, resulting in bloody diarrhea among other symptoms.

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)

HGE is a severe condition that causes sudden onset of bloody diarrhea in dogs, vomiting, and lethargy. It’s considered an emergency.

Recognizing Emergency Situations

Bloody diarrhea should be treated as an emergency when it’s accompanied by certain signs, such as lethargy, weakness, pale gums, and a distended abdomen. These symptoms may indicate severe internal bleeding or dehydration, both of which require immediate medical attention. Ignoring these signs could lead to life-threatening complications.

Signs of Severe Illness

If your dog exhibits symptoms like weakness, severe vomiting, abdominal pain, and collapse in addition to bloody diarrhea, it could be indicative of a critical condition.

Dehydration and Shock

Bloody diarrhea can lead to rapid fluid loss, resulting in dehydration and shock. If your dog appears weak and lethargic, seek immediate veterinary care.

Diagnostic Process

Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and may recommend laboratory tests to determine the cause of bloody diarrhea. These tests could include blood work, fecal analysis, and imaging studies. The results will help guide appropriate treatment.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

It’s crucial to consult a veterinarian if your dog experiences bloody diarrhea, especially if it’s accompanied by other concerning symptoms. Your vet will conduct a thorough examination and recommend appropriate tests.

Home Care and Remedies

ACL (CCL) Injuries & Surgeries in Dogs

The treatment for bloody diarrhea depends on the underlying cause. Parasitic infections may require deworming medications, while dietary issues might necessitate a temporary change in diet. In cases of inflammatory bowel disease, anti-inflammatory medications, and dietary modifications may be recommended.

Hydration and Fasting

Keep your dog well-hydrated to counteract fluid loss. Fasting for 12-24 hours can give the digestive tract a chance to recover.

Bland Diet

After fasting, gradually introduce a bland diet consisting of boiled rice and lean protein to soothe the stomach.


Probiotics can help restore the balance of gut bacteria, aiding in the recovery process.

Prevention Tips

Prevention plays a key role in maintaining your dog’s digestive health. Providing a balanced and appropriate diet, avoiding feeding table scraps, and keeping your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date can help prevent many cases of diarrhea. Regular veterinary check-ups can also detect any early signs of potential health issues.

Read More: Heat Rash on Dogs: How to Recognize and Treat It


  1. Can I treat bloody diarrhea at home? While mild cases might improve with home care, it’s best to consult a vet to rule out serious underlying issues.
  2. Is bloody diarrhea always an emergency? Not always, but it could be indicative of a serious condition. If in doubt, seek veterinary advice.
  3. What tests might the vet perform? Your vet might conduct faecal exams, blood tests, and imaging to diagnose the underlying cause.
  4. Can stress cause bloody diarrhea in dogs? Yes, stress can contribute to gastrointestinal upset, but it’s essential to rule out other potential causes.
  5. How can I prevent bloody diarrhea? Maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and preventive healthcare measures can reduce the risk of bloody diarrhea.


In conclusion, while bloody diarrhea in dogs can be distressing, it’s essential not to panic. Swift action, proper communication with your veterinarian, and following their advice can help ensure your furry friend’s well-being. Always be attentive to changes in your dog’s behaviour and stool, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help when needed. Bloody diarrhea in dogs can be concerning, but by understanding the potential causes and taking prompt action, you can ensure your furry companion receives the necessary care. Always prioritize your dog’s well-being and consult a veterinarian when needed.