Can Blood in Dog's Stool be Caused by Stress?
Stressed dog? Keep an eye on your dog's stools for blood
Stress-related Bloody Stools in Dogs
Just as you may get a bout of diarrhea the day prior to an interview or an important exam, your dog may get diarrhea with bloody stools when stressed. Typically, the course of events is quite obvious. Your dog may get diarrhea when boarding, when he moves to a different place or just moments before entering the show ring. In this case, the cause of the diarrhea is quite obvious, it's episodic and clearly linked to the unusual event. The proving factor is that the bloody diarrhea happens exclusively during the stressful event and not typically in the absence of it.
In most cases, the colon is to blame. The colon is the large, lower section of the intestine. When a dog is stressed, the colon gets inflamed causing rapid transit times and the release of mucous. This condition is known as colitis. The dog typically has a soft stool that progresses into a gelatinous mass which often contains mucous. Mucous is a slimy substance normally produced by the intestines to keep the colon's lining well lubricated. However, when the mucous increases it's a sign of inflammation. Also, at times, small erosions may form as well causing bleeding. It is still not well understood why dogs are more predisposed to develop bloody stools compared to humans.
Other accompanying symptoms include: frequent bowel movements with a sense of urgency. Your dog may whine, pant and shiver to let you know he needs to be taken outside. After several bowel movements, some dogs may position themselves and strain with nothing coming out. This is called "tenesmus" and it's often confused for constipation. In reality, it's just a clinical sign,caused by the sensation of feeling the need to pass stools, despite an empty colon.
What Can Be Done About Stress-Related Bloody Stools in Dogs?
Fortunately, the bloody stool episode is often short lived and resolves within 24 to 48 hours, explains Just Answer veterinarian Dr. Marie. However, if it lasts longer than that and the dog starts acting lethargic, and refuses to eat, a vet should be seen. Keep in mind that even though you may assume it's just stress, at times the colitis may be caused by another health problem that needs addressed. In some cases, an underlying health condition may flare up when the dog is stressed. For instance, when a dog is stressed conditions such as coccidiosis, pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease may raise their ugly head.
How to take care of stress-induced diarrhea in dogs? First and foremost, try to resolve the source of stress! This should help go to the source of the problem. If this is not possible, consider that there are many calming aids for dogs such as DAP diffusers,calming CD's and tablets such as Composure by Vetriscience. Then, if there is diarrhea, but your dog is lively, has a great appetite and is his usual, happy self, you can try a 24 hour fast. This fast is helpful as it gives the colon a chance to rest. Feeding an irritated colon, only makes it more irritated!
However, it's not a bad idea to give some plain, canned pumpkin (not the pie type with spices added!) during this fast. Give 2 tablespoons per 10lbs body weight twice daily, recommends Just Answer veterinarian Dr. Fiona. During this time, clear fluids given a little bit at a time will help keep the dog well hydrated. Besides water, you can give unlfavored pedialyte, rice water (the water left over from boiling rice) or onion-free, garlic/free chicken or beef broth diluted 50:50 with water. Afterward, a bland diet for dogs can be started for a few days until better stools are formed. Afterward, the dog can be weaned off it by adding gradual amounts of his regular food.
It's important to note that sometimes the stress-induced colitis may be severe requiring a vet's intervention, In such a case, the vet may prescribe Flagyl (metronidazole) which helps reduce inflammation.
Warning: always keep an eye on your dog's stool! Also, consult with your vet if the blood in your dog's stool doesn't resolve or if the amount is increasing as your dog may develop anemia ! Signs of anemia are weakness, pale gums and lethargy (learn to recognize the normal color of your dog's gums so you know when there is trouble!).
*Note: you may feel compelled to try using pepto bismol to help solve the diarrhea, but don't! Pepto bismol contains aspirin which is a blood thinner, and therefore, it's known to increase bleeding, and you definitively don't want that!
Disclaimer: this article is the product of my research, It's not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinarian advice. If your dog is sick, please see your vet. By reading this article you accept this disclaimer.
Alexadry, all rights reserved, do not copy.
For further reading
- Natural Treatments for Dog Diarrhea
It can happen to even the healthiest dog fed the most expensive premium dog food. The pooch starts looking uncomfortable and within seconds it has this immediate urge to go outside. Once out, pudding like poop forms a nice cow pie, or worse, liquid..
- Home Remedies for Dog Diarrhea
Following are some effective home remedies for a dog's diarrhea I have learned after working at an animal hospital for some time. However, I have also learned that while mostly effective, these home remedies may not work for all dogs, and that in...
- Why is My Dog so Picky About Where He Poops?
So you own a dog who is very picky about where he poops? Learn why your dog may be so picky about his toilet habits and what you can do about it.
- Vet-Approved Dog Upset Stomach Home Remedies
Is your dog upset stomach becoming a problem? Learn some effective vet-approved natural home remedies to treat your dog's upset stomach at home. Easy to make dog bland diet recipe, straight from your kitchen's pantry!
- Bland Diet Recipes for Dogs
A time may come when your dog may benefit from a bland diet. You can easily prepare a bland diet for dogs by following these simple steps.
- Causes of Blood in a Dog's Stool
Learn several possible causes for blood in stools in dogs. If your dog is pooping blood please see your veterinarian.
More by this Author
Seeing blood in your dog's stool can be scary. If your dog is pooping blood, it's important to learn how to recognize the difference between fresh blood and digested blood in your dog's stool.
Learn the warning symptoms of a potential intestinal blockage in dogs and when to see the vet. Ask questions and post comments about your dog's intestinal obstruction.
Learn effective vet-approved natural remedies to treat your dog's stomach problems at home. Find an easy-to-make bland diet recipe for your pup that you can make with food from your kitchen's pantry!