A dog throwing up blood is suffering from hematemesis. If your dog is puking blood, don’t panic. This is an alarming site, but it’s crucial to remain calm so as not to cause your dog further stress. Hematemesis in dogs is more common than you might think, and likely indicates an injury to the upper digestive tract. Here’s what you need to know to keep your dog safe and help him feel better soon.
Why Is My Dog Puking Blood?
For a dog, throwing up blood is an indication that he’s bleeding somewhere along his digestive tract. In Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, James M. Griffin, MD, and Liisa D. Carlson, DVM, say, “Red blood in the vomitus indicates an active bleeding point somewhere between the mouth and the upper small bowel.”
The brighter the blood, the closer to the mouth the bleeding likely is occurring. Light, bright red blood is likely occurring from a bleeding point in the mouth or throat. Dark red blood in your dog’s vomit means the bleeding point is probably slightly farther down the gastrointestinal tract. If your dog is vomiting mucus and blood at the same time, this means the issue is in the stomach or upper intestines. Dark, tarry vomit, which can sometimes look like coffee grounds and might have a fecal smell is digested blood.
Reasons a Dog Throws Up Blood
Here are a few of the reasons why a dog might have blood in his vomit. Remember: If your dog is puking blood, it’s helpful to be informed, but you shouldn’t diagnose this issue yourself. Instead, call your vet to seek professional help.
- Ingesting foreign object
- Antifreeze poisoning
- Chewing on sharp sticks and bones or swallowing the shards
- Bacterial infection
- Blood clotting disorder
- Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (often accompanied by bloody stool)
- Stomach inflammation
- Kidney disease
- Addison's disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Respiratory tract disorder
What to Do if My Dog Is Throwing Up Blood
There are so many reasons why a dog might be vomiting blood, many of them serious, so it’s important to call your vet as soon as possible. Be as clear as you can about any of your dog’s other symptoms, paying close attention to what the blood looks like in the vomit (color, presence of mucus, etc.), and collect a sample of the vomit to bring in if possible.
Until your dog can be seen, it’s best to withhold food and water (unless your vet instructs you otherwise). Keep your dog warm and calm and give him lots of love, of course!
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