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What is Bleeding from the Mouth?

It can be very upsetting to find your dog bleeding from the mouth.  A small amount of blood from a nick should not cause you to be concerned.  However, if your dog is continuously bleeding from the mouth, he must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. A foreign object could cause breathing difficulties and a condition such as an abscess could quickly become painful. 

Bleeding from the mouth may be caused by:

  • Laceration on the dog’s tongue or mouth
  • Oral trauma
  • Canine ulcerative paradental stomatitis (CUPS)
  • Abscess or fractured tooth
  • Gingivitis
  • Foreign object lodged in gums or throat
  • Blood clotting disease such as Von Willebrand’s Disease

It is important to find the cause of the bleeding.  Excessive bleeding is a serious condition which can cause your dog to go into shock. A bleeding dog with a clotting disorder may need to have an emergency blood transfusion.

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Why Bleeding from the Mouth Occurs in Dogs

Laceration on the Dog’s Tongue or Mouth

Your dog may have cut his mouth or tongue by chewing on toys, sticks or even rocks.  A laceration can be caused by another animal bite (dog, cat, raccoon, rat or possum).  If your dog got into the garbage, he may have cut himself on a can or other sharp object.

Oral Trauma

Oral bleeding may be caused by a fall, impact with a car or by being physically hit on the mouth. Additionally, tongue trauma can occur during freezing temperatures; a dog licks metal and must then rip his tongue free (tongue gets stuck). 

Canine Ulcerative Paradental Stomatitis (CUPS) 

Canine ulcerative paradental stomatitis is a disorder that causes painful ulcers on the lining of the dog’s mouth. The ulcers are triggered by plaque on your dog’s teeth.  The ulcers can open and bleed.  Breeds that are more predisposed to CUPS are the German Shepherd, Dachshund, Labrador Retriever and the Maltese.

Abscess or Fractured Tooth

An abscess or a fractured tooth may be causing your dog to bleed from the mouth. The abscess may cause additional symptoms such as facial swelling, fever, pain and loss of appetite.

Gingivitis 

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums due to bacteria and plaque. Gingivitis is a very common condition in dogs.  The infected gums can become very painful, swollen and can also start to bleed.

Foreign Object

Dogs can get a piece of toy or stick stuck in between their teeth.  Grass seeds, fishing hooks and porcupine quills can also pierce the tongue, face, under the tongue or the gums. Foreign objects lodged in your dog’s mouth can cause great discomfort and bleeding.

Blood Clotting Disease 

Von Willebrand’s disease is the most common inherited, blood clotting disorder in people and in dogs. It is caused by the deficiency of a clotting protein. There are three different types of Von Willebrand’s disease. They are classified by whether the clotting protein is reduced, moderate or completely absent. Without the clotting protein, the platelets are unable to bind together to stop bleeding. Without proper medical treatment, the patient can bleed to death.

What to do if your Dog is Bleeding from the Mouth

If your dog has prolonged or repeated bleeding from the mouth, he should be examined by a veterinarian. 

If your dog is heavily bleeding, the veterinarian team will first need to stabilize him. They may administer an IV to help keep your dog hydrated.  If the patient has lost a lot of blood, he may need a blood transfusion. 

After the patient is stable, the veterinarian may recommend a complete blood count (CBC) and x-rays.  If the CBC determined a low platelet count, the veterinarian may recommend a buccal mucosal bleeding time test and a specific blood test for Von Willebrand’s disease, which measures the levels of the clotting protein.

Dogs with dental or gum conditions may be referred to a veterinarian dentist.  Deep and large lacerations may need sutures.  The mouth will need to be cleaned several times a day with a disinfectant.  Your pet will not be able to eat hard kibble. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent a bacterial infection.

If the veterinarian finds a foreign object in the dog’s mouth he will remove it.  Your dog will need to be sedated during the procedure.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Von Willebrand’s disease in dogs but the disease can be managed and controlled.  The veterinarian may also recommend soft, wet food instead of dry kibble, which can cause gum bleeding. Hard chew toys and rough housing should be avoided.

Dogs with clotting disorders should not be given nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), estrogens, heparin or sulfonamide antibiotics. 

Additionally, if your dog ever requires surgery, let the surgeon know that your companion has a clotting disorder.  The surgical team is then prepared and will have blood transfusions available.  It is also a good idea to know your dog’s blood type, in case of a bleeding emergency.

Prevention of Bleeding from the Mouth

Regular visits to a veterinary dentist may help prevent a tooth abscess, plaque and gingivitis.  It is a good idea to keep an eye on your dog when he is playing outside. Unsupervised dogs can chew on things they should not be chewing on (sticks, rocks grass seeds). Additionally, they can be attacked by wild animals or exposed to physical abuse. 

Von Willebrand’s disease is an inherited genetic condition.  The only way to prevent the disease is to not breed carriers of the disease.

Cost of Bleeding from the Mouth

The cost of treatment will depend on the veterinarian’s diagnosis.  The treatment of canine ulcerative paradental stomatitis may range from $500 to $4500.  The cost of treating gum disease can be $800.

Bleeding from the Mouth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Shevy
English Springer Spaniel
14 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding
Bleeding, loss of apetite

My dog is an English springer-spaniel with teeth in horrible condition and shes had a red substance(maybe blood) coming from her mouth along with a loss of appetite, shes otherwise a healthy dog and very calm, can someone help?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1823 Recommendations
If Shevy’s teeth are in a bad condition, you should have them checked by your Veterinarian as poor dental hygiene can lead to pain whilst eating which in turn leads to a loss of appetite. You should try to clean her teeth with a toothbrush and dog toothpaste (not human toothpaste) and examine the mouth for growths, dental anomalies or anything else that shouldn’t be there. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thank you!

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Buboo
Pit bull
18 Years
Moderate condition
1 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

My dog has been bleeding from her mouth since breakfast (about 8 hours now), on and off, or at least slowing down at times. I can’t see any obvious cuts, but she’s an 18 yr old pit/black lab mix who I got a year ago. Her teeth are in horrible shape, so it could be her gums? She’s not on any meds and is acting and eating normally. She’s on wet food diet because she’s thrown up dry food in the past.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1823 Recommendations
It is possible that Buboo has some issues with her gums or has a clotting disorder; either way you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination of her mouth to look for any issues with the teeth/gums or signs of any tumours as well as for a blood test to check thrombocytes etc… Once the underlying cause is detected, it may be treated or managed accordingly. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Teko
Miniature Italian greyhound
17 1/2
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Not Eating
Losing weight fast
Not eating,
Bleeding gums
Lathargic

Medication Used

Sreroids, stomach meds

Teko is a miniature Italian Greyhound generally ranging around 6 lb. He has been on steroids for about 1 1/2 years due to his degenerative nervous spine condition, which left him disabled in his back legs. A few days ago he started bleeding from the mouth, when I started feeling him Scence Diet ID dig food. Not sure if this is the cause, but today the vet found open lacerations on his upper gums. He hasn't eaten much in the last few days, and he is dehydrated. Today he weighed at 3.1 lb and his body temperature was low.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1823 Recommendations
The cause of the lacerations inside the mouth need to be identified, these lacerations may cause pain during eating which would cause Teko to not want to eat. Also, given Teko’s age, there are many other possible causes for a loss of appetite; if appetite doesn’t increase soon, further investigation would be required to look for other possible causes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Boomer Thueson
Beagle
13 Years 1 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

Medication Used

none

Small amount of blood typically in the morning on his bed. Not throughout the day, but he could be swallowing it. Gums look red.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1823 Recommendations

There are various different places where a dog may bleed from including the mouth, nostrils, ears, eyes, genitals, anus and skin wounds; it is possible that there may be bleeding from the mouth which is being swallowed during the day but leaks out during the night. It is important to thoroughly examine Boomer’s mouth, nose, ears and the rest of his body for any signs of bleeding; regardless of whether you find the location of the bleed, it would be best to visit your Veterinarian and possibly get a blood test to determine platelet counts and other parameters. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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