Causes of Blood in Dog Urine
It is not uncommon for dog owners to get alarmed upon seeing traces of blood in their dog's urine. They often rush their dogs to the vet fearing the worst. Although more often than not the cause is something minor that can be easily treated, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If treatment is necessary, the quicker it is started the shorter the recovery time will be.
What does blood in the dog's urine look like? Blood that is actually mixed with the urine often tints the urine pinkish. Bright red blood (“frank blood”) is usually not coming from the urinary tract, but rather the vaginal or rectal area.
So it is important for owners to try to detect whether the blood is coming out with the urine, or coming from some other source. It’s always best to play it safe and see the vet to ensure your dog gets the most appropriate treatment.
There are several causes of blood in a dog's urine and finding the most likely one, will require investigation from the vet. Collecting a urine sample to bring to the vet would be an important first step.
How to Collect a Urine Sample From a Dog
Causes of Blood in a Dog's Urine
The following are some common (and some not-so-common) causes of blood in the urine in dogs. Please see your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
- Urinary tract infections have symptoms including blood in the urine, often accompanied by frequent urination, painful urination, straining, licking the genitals, and fever. UTIs are more common in female dogs due to their anatomy. The condition can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics. Diagnosis is through a urine sample. A culture may be needed to identify the exact bacteria causing the infection so that the most appropriate antibiotic may be prescribed.
- Bladder stones (also known as uroliths) are fairly common in dogs. The two most common types are struvite stones and calcium oxalate stones. Dogs with bladder stones will develop painful urination, straining, and bloody urine. Treatment mainly consists of dietary changes, and in the case of large stones, surgical removal.
- Prostate infections occur only in intact (not fixed) male dogs. Symptoms may include bloody urine, an enlarged prostate, difficult and painful urination, straining, lack of appetite, and fever.
- Tick-borne diseases may cause bloody urine among other symptoms.
- Poisons may cause bloody discharges. The most common cause is the dog having eaten the rat poisons. Rat poisons cause blood clotting disorders, and may cause bloody urine.
- Other possible causes of blood in the urine include trauma to the bladder, and cancer involving the urinary or reproductive system.
Bleeding That May Be Confused With Blood in the Urine
Estrus cycle: Novice dog owners might not be aware that an intact (not spayed) dog will bleed during her heat cycle. A dog will go in heat at about six months of age and will produce some vaginal swelling and bleeding during her first week. The bleeding will stop after approximately 7-10 days and be replaced by a straw-colored fluid. At this time the dog is generally ready to mate.
Uterine infection (pyometra): This condition occurs only in intact female dogs. Often owners confuse pyometra with the dog's heat cycle; they mistake a second episode of vaginal discharge, only a few weeks after the last heat, for a new heat cycle. Pyometra may be associated with a foul-smelling, mucus-filled, bloody vaginal discharge that resembles tomato soup.
Pyometra can quickly become life-threatening, so take your dog to a vet. Dogs may be given antibiotics to clear up the infection, and fluids to hydrate them. Often the uterus is removed.
Veterinarian Discusses Causes of Blood in a Dog's Urine
What to Do
Dogs exhibiting blood in the urine should always be seen by a veterinarian. A urine sample may help a veterinarian make a diagnosis.
A teaspoonful or so of urine should be collected in a sterile container, labeled if needed with the pet's name and the time it was collected.
Urine samples should be very fresh, no older than four hours, and refrigerated if there is any delay. For more detailed instructions on how to collect a urine sample in dogs, read this article about dog urinalysis.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
My four-year-old female red cattle cross has trouble urinating and tries frequently. Sometimes nothing comes out, other times there is a normal flow, and sometimes I see blood. There are no other symptoms. She is still active and eating. Also, she is spayed. Can you suggest what she may have?
Only your vet can really determine this. Bring a fresh urine sample along so they can have it tested.
Generally speaking, this sounds like a urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are very common in female dogs due to their short urethras which make it easy for bacteria to reach. A round of antibiotics is often needed.
Another possibility is the presence of bladder stones. See your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.Helpful 23
- Helpful 2
How long after taking antibiotics will my female dog's urinary tract infection get better?
In general, antibiotics can take up to 3 to 5 days to start killing the infection, although many dogs show signs of improvement roughly around day 2. If her signs of urinary discomfort are not better by 4 or 5 days into treatment, you should report to your vet. She may need a different antibiotic or further diagnostics such as an x-ray taken of her bladder, to check for stones and/or an ultrasound.Helpful 2
Will a silent heat cause get blood in urine?
Good question. During a silent heat , the dog's body still undergoes hormonal changes but nothing very obvious occurs from the outside appearance of the dog. Therefore, bleeding does not occur or if it occurs, it is very minimal. However, keep in mind that some dogs when in heat are very fastidious cleaners, and will lick traces of blood promptly, meaning that you never get to see it.
© 2009 Adrienne Janet Farricelli