It is recommended to check up on your dog's urine color from time to time to make sure everything is running normally. The normal color of dog urine is dark yellow, and any discoloration should be taken into consideration. But what if you have noticed that your dog peeing blood?
First thing first, do not panic since this might upset your furry friend. A quick search on the internet will usually inform you that it could be something simple as a urinary infection, and some other sources will alert you that it might be a sign of some serious health issue as kidney failure or tumor.
Anyhow before making any rush conclusions take a deep breath and calm down. A clear mind will help you approach this problem in the best possible way. To find out why this can happen to your dog, read below and learn more about what else you need to look out for, what you can do, and how to help them.
Last Updated: October 4th 2023
What Is Haematuria?
Haematuria is a medical term used to describe blood in the urine. When this happens, the urine usually looks pink or red, and occasionally, blood clots can be seen. In some cases, bleeding can be on a microscopic level, and it won't be so visible in the dog urine, so it can only be detected by laboratory analysis.
Dogs have two kidneys that produce urine and send it down through ureters in the bladder where it is stored until it is peed out through the urethra. In case bleeding occurs in the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or any other body part that interacts with the urinary tract, the blood will appear in the urine.
What causes blood in the urine?
Blood in dog's urine is one of those symptoms that are present in a wide range of health issues and conditions. Here I will present to you the most common causes, and health disorders that cause blood in dog's urine.
- Kidney diseases (kidney stones, kidney infections, cystic kidney disease, etc.)
- Nephritis (inflammation of the kidney)
- Anatomical malformations in the kidney
- Upper or lower urinary tract infections
- Urinary bladder stones and infections
- Prostate problems
- Clotting disorders
- Trauma and stress
- Estrus (heating cycle)
How Do You Know If Your Dog Has A UTI?
In most cases, dog peeing blood is a clear sign of a urinary tract infection. The infection can be located in the upper or lower urinary tract, and it is incredibly common for dogs. These issues happen more often to female dogs since they have a shorter urethra than males. Also, UTI is more common in dogs who are over the age of 7.
There are a few warning signs that will help you recognize a dog with UTI or if dog peeing blood as a result of some other health complication.
One of the most obvious signs that something is wrong is if your dog strains and whimpers when urinating.
If your dog wants to go outside more often than usual, of course, there is always the possibility that your dog is bored and needs some attention, but just to be sure, check if he or she pees more often than it usually does.
House-trained dogs do not do potty at home without reason. If this happens, that is a clear sign that something is wrong and that they couldn't resist the urge to pee. This way, your dog is telling you that he needs help.
If your dog is licking genitals more than usual, call your vet immediately.
Any other change in overall behavior should be treated as a sign of some problem, so do not ignore it and contact your veterinarian.
Upper urinary tract diseases
The upper urinary tract includes kidneys, and these conditions usually trigger the bleeding in the upper urinary tract:
- Idiopathic renal hematuria – In this case, the blood in the urine appears from the kidney due to medicine consumption, as a result of an infection, or if the immune system is compromised. This is considered a benign condition, and it is usually hereditary.
- Kidney infection – In this case, blood will appear in the urine if some type of bacteria infects one or both of your dog's kidneys. This condition is also known as pyelonephritis.
- Kidney stones – Also known as nephrolithiasis. They are not as common as bladder stones in dogs, but they can still occur from time to time. The stones can stay still in the kidneys or pass into the ureters. In both cases, the blood in the dog's urine will appear.
- Kidney cancer – This disease is very rare, but in case your dog suffers from it, it will for sure cause blood in dog urine. The problem with this disease is that cancer can easily spread to other parts of the body.
- Renal telangiectasia – Some dogs have a genetic predisposition to the unexpected widening of blood vessels in the kidney. When this happens, blood in their urine will occur.
Lower urinary tract diseases
The lower urinary tract includes the bladder and the urethra, and these diseases can cause blood in the urine:
- Bladder infection – This lower urinary tract infection is, by far, the most common cause of blood in the dog's urine. The main reasons for this infection are - the anatomy of the urethra, vulva or prepuce, skin allergies, and hormone-related incontinence in females that are spayed.
- Bladder stones – These are very common in dogs, unfortunately. They can be formed for a variety of reasons. Usually, they are a result of bad genetics, poor nutrition, and chronic infection.
- Bladder cancer and bladder tumors – Sadly, bladder cancer in dogs often seems like a UTI. If the dog suffers from it, the accidents in the house will be more frequent, or they will experience difficulty when they try to urinate. Blood in the urine is prevalent as well.
- Prostate problems – Prostate enlargement and inflammation are the most common benign problem for male dogs who haven't been neutered.
Diagnosis And Possible Treatment
When you notice that your dog is peeing blood, the general rule is to contact your vet and make an appointment within 24 hours.
Your vet will try to diagnose the causes of the blood by examination of your dogs abdomen, by analyzing your dog's urine sample, and the urine culture to see if there is any sign of the harmful bacteria. Also, it is common to order a blood tests, cytology, X-rays, or ultrasound.
If the vet confirms UTI or any other health issue, he will recommend the treatment according to it. For example, if the problems are related to some bacteria, the vet may prescribe antibiotics and probiotics. In cases of benign prostate enlargement, they will, for sure, recommend neutering.
If the causes of blood in the urine are bladder stones or some anatomical irregularities, the vet will suggest surgery. Also, your vet will prescribe some anti-inflammatory and pain medicine to ease your dog's discomfort.
For tumors and cancers that occur in kidney or bladder, alongside the surgery, your vet will prescribe chemotherapy or radiation. If the blood in urine is caused by trauma or stress, usually there will be no treatment since these issues are transient.
The best possible way to prevent any disease for your dog is to take them to regular veterinary checkups. This way, your vet can tell you if your dog is predisposed to urinary tract issues, and if they are, they can routinely test your dog's urine sample from time to time to make sure everything is still running up fine. With the first signs of complications, your vet will be able to act on time and prevent more severe issues.
The next thing is making sure your dog always has clean and fresh water at disposal. The more water they drink, the healthier they will be. Also, I know this might sound too much but monitoring your dog's urinary habits is crucial, especially when they are recovering from UTI. If you let an issue like blood in the urine repeat, it can lead to more severe consequences.
Don't be surprised if your vet recommends a change in food, and prescription diet since nutrition is vital for preventing and treating urinary tract issues. Certain food will help in reducing stone formation in optimizing the urine pH. Also, weight loss for obese dog is crucial in fighting urinary tract infections.
Remember, the best prevention is love and attention, so make sure you find the time for your pup and help him stay healthy and happy.
In The End, Is Dog Peeing Blood An Emergency?
Well, yes and no.
It depends on the current overall health condition of your dog. If you notice significant changes in your dog's behavior or see them suffering, take them to the vet immediately. In case there are only minor changes in discoloration of the urine, contact your vet and make an appointment as soon as possible.
Yes, you are your dog's first line of defense when it comes to health, but it is crucial to stay calm and not upset them more. As I already said in most cases, blood in dog urine is a sign of benign UTI that can be easily treated and not harmful to your dog.