As a dog owner, it can be distressing to see your furbaby vomit blood. The sight of blood in your dog’s vomit can be alarming, and you may even start panicking and calling the vet’s office right away.

While it is always important to consult a veterinarian when your dog experiences any health issue, understanding the potential causes of a dog vomiting blood can help ease your worries and guide you in seeking appropriate medical attention for your four-pawed family member!

Common Causes of Dog Vomiting Blood

Dog vomiting blood is medically known as hematemesis. The ‘hema’ in the word hematemesis stands for blood, whereas ‘emesis’ refers to vomit. There can be several underlying causes of dogs vomiting blood.

One common cause is gastrointestinal irritation or inflammation. This can occur due to various factors, such as the ingestion of foreign objects, consuming toxic substances, or an adverse reaction to certain medications. These irritations can lead to ulcers or erosions in the stomach or intestines, resulting in blood in the vomit.

Another possible cause of dog vomiting blood is gastrointestinal bleeding. Conditions like gastric ulcers, tumors, or inflammatory bowel disease can cause this. In some cases, blood clotting disorders or the use of certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can contribute to bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.

Read on to learn about some other causes of dog vomiting blood:

Gastroenteritis

Another common gastrointestinal issue in dogs is gastroenteritis, which involves inflammation of both the stomach and intestines. Infections, dietary changes, or the consumption of contaminated food or water can cause gastroenteritis. This inflammation can lead to blood in the vomit, along with other symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain.  Here are the common signs and symptoms to watch out for:

  • Vomiting: Dogs with gastroenteritis may vomit, and the vomit may appear foamy and yellow once the stomach has been emptied.
  • Diarrhea: Loose or watery stools are a hallmark of gastroenteritis. Pay attention to any changes in frequency or consistency.
  • Stomach Pain: Your dog may exhibit signs of abdominal discomfort, such as restlessness or sensitivity when you touch their belly.
  • Lack of Appetite: A decreased interest in food is common during gastroenteritis episodes.
  • Gagging or Dry Heaving: Dogs may repeatedly try to vomit or retch without producing anything.
  • Lethargy: Gastroenteritis can make dogs feel tired and less active than usual.

Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of your dog developing gastroenteritis:

  • Discourage Scavenging: Prevent your dog from eating food scraps or garbage, which may be spoiled or harmful.
  • Proper Diet: Feed your dog a balanced diet suitable for their age, breed, and health status. Avoid sudden changes in their diet.
  • Regular Vaccinations: Keep up with your dog’s vaccinations, including those that protect against viruses known to cause gastroenteritis.
  • Parasite Control: Stay current with deworming treatments and flea control to prevent parasites that can cause digestive issues.
  • Avoid Toxins: Keep toxic substances, including certain plants, chemicals, and human foods that are dangerous for dogs, out of reach.
  • Clean Environment: Maintain a clean living space and regularly wash your dog’s bowls and toys to reduce the risk of bacterial infections.

Infectious Diseases  

Infectious diseases can also be culprits behind dog vomiting blood. Canine parvovirus, a highly contagious viral infection, can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting blood. This virus primarily affects young puppies and un-vaccinated dogs, and prompt veterinary care is crucial to their survival. Knowing the signs and symptoms of parvovirus can help you to take fast action, which is crucial for saving their lives: 

  • Lethargy: The first sign is often lethargy. Your dog may become less active, retreat to a corner, and seem weaker than usual.
  • Fever: Dogs with parvo usually develop a high fever. You might notice warm ears, a warm nose, red eyes, or use a thermometer to check their temperature.
  • Severe Diarrhea: Parvo-associated diarrhea is particularly severe, often with a unique smell and blood in the stool.
  • Signs of Anemia: Parvo can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, leading to anemia. Check your dog’s gums—if they take longer than two seconds to return to normal color, anemia may be present.

Another infectious disease that can lead to dog vomiting blood is canine leptospirosis. This bacterial infection can be transmitted through contact with infected urine or contaminated water sources. Leptospirosis can cause liver and kidney damage, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially bloody vomit. Here are the signs and symptoms to watch out for:

  • Lethargy: Dogs with leptospirosis may become lethargic and less active than usual.
  • Poor Appetite: A decrease in appetite is common.
  • Tender Muscles: Dogs may exhibit muscle tenderness.
  • Changes in Urination: Dogs might urinate more or less frequently than usual1.
  • Dehydration: Leptospirosis can lead to dehydration.
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms: These include diarrhea and vomiting1.
  • Fever: Elevated body temperature is often present.
  • Shivering: Dogs may shiver due to discomfort.
  • Eye Swelling: Painful swelling in the eye area can occur.
  • Increased Thirst: Dogs may be thirstier than usual.
  • Jaundice: Yellowing of the eyes, skin, and gums (jaundice) may occur.
  • Blood in Urine or Feces: Occasionally, blood may appear in urine or feces or as small bruises on the skin and whites of the eyes.

Preventing leptospirosis in dogs is important to ensure their health and safety. Here are some key measures you can take:

  • Vaccination: Annual vaccination against leptospirosis is recommended. It’s important to note that the vaccine covers specific strains, so discuss with your vet if it’s suitable for your dog’s lifestyle.
  • Limit Exposure to Standing Water: Avoid letting your dog swim in or drink from standing water where the bacteria may thrive.
  • Rodent Control: Prevent rodent infestations as they can be carriers of the bacteria1.
  • Avoid Contact with Wildlife: Wildlife can be a source of infection, so try to prevent your dog from interacting with wild animals.
  • Environmental Management: Keep your environment clean and avoid areas known to be infected with the Leptospira bacteria.

By following these preventive steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of your dog contracting leptospirosis.

Bleeding due to Trauma or Internal Injuries

Physical trauma or injuries can result in a dog vomiting blood. Blunt force trauma, such as being hit by a car or falling from a height, can cause internal injuries that lead to bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, ingesting sharp objects or bones can cause tears or punctures in the stomach or intestines, resulting in blood in the vomit.

If your dog has experienced any form of trauma or injury recently, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care, as internal bleeding can be life-threatening.

Other Potential Causes of Dog Vomiting Blood

While gastrointestinal issues, infectious diseases, and trauma are common causes of dog vomiting blood, there are other potential factors to consider. These include:

  • Cancer: Some types of cancer, such as gastric tumors or cancers affecting the esophagus, can cause dogs to vomit blood.
  • Kidney disease: Dogs with kidney or liver disease experience gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting blood.
  • Ingestion of Toxins: Certain toxins, such as rat poison or ingesting a toxic plant, can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and result in bloody vomit.

When to Seek Veterinary Help for Dog Vomiting Blood

If your dog is vomiting blood, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. Vomiting blood can be a sign of a severe underlying condition, and prompt treatment is essential for your dog’s well-being. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination and may recommend additional tests, such as blood work, X-rays, or an ultrasound, to determine the cause of the vomiting.

Remember, delaying veterinary care can potentially worsen your dog’s condition and put their health at risk. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your furry friend’s health.

Diagnosing and Treating Dog Vomiting Blood

Once you seek veterinary help for your dog’s vomiting blood, the veterinarian will work towards diagnosing the underlying cause. This may involve a combination of physical examination, blood tests, imaging studies, and, in some cases, endoscopy or biopsy.

Treatment will depend on the specific cause identified. For gastrointestinal irritations or inflammations, medications to reduce stomach acid and protect the stomach lining may be prescribed. In cases of infections, antibiotics or antiviral medications may be necessary. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to address issues such as tumors or internal injuries.

It is essential to follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding medication administration and any dietary or lifestyle changes necessary for your dog’s recovery. Regular check-ups and monitoring will ensure that your dog is responding well to the treatment plan.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Dog Vomiting Blood

While not all causes of dog vomiting blood can be prevented, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk:

  • Supervise your dog and prevent them from ingesting harmful substances or objects.
  • Keep toxic plants, chemicals, and medications out of your dog’s reach.
  • Ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases
  • Provide a balanced and appropriate diet for your dog, avoiding sudden dietary changes or feeding them spoiled food.
  • Regularly inspect toys, bones, and other objects your dog plays with to ensure they do not have any sharp points and are not potentially dangerous when ingested.

By being proactive and taking preventive measures, you can reduce the likelihood of your dog experiencing gastrointestinal issues that may lead to vomiting blood.

In addition, while witnessing your dog vomiting blood can be distressing, understanding the potential causes behind it can help alleviate your worries. From gastrointestinal issues and infectious diseases to trauma and other factors, there are various reasons why a dog may vomit blood. It is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care if your dog experiences this symptom, as it may indicate a severe underlying condition.

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shreyasi datta
Meet Shreyasi with her 7-year experience as a responsible pet parent to a handsome Golden retriever, who she claims is the 'love of her life.' Found with her nose buried deep in research when she’s not discussing The Crown, you can trust her to answer your queries as a first-time pet parent! From possible signs of canine diseases to finding the best supplement for your fur baby, Shreyasi has an answer for all things dogs! Her dedication towards canine wellness, irrespective of the breed, is worthy of a PhD in Canine Companionship!

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