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What is Spotting Blood?

Spotting blood in dogs is simply small amounts of blood coming from a number of places in the canine body that you will likely see around the house.  Reasons why blood spotting might be seen:

  • Ear infection
  • Foot or toenail injury
  • Oral issues
  • Urinary or bladder infection
  • Intestinal or rectal issues
  • Prostate problems
  • Pregnancy or heat cycle

Why Spotting Blood Occurs in Dogs

There are various reasons and conditions which can cause your dog to spot blood from a number of places on his body.  Here are some of the most common:

Ear Infection

Severe ear infections can cause the ear(s) to spot blood.  Various traumas to the ears also have the ability to produce spotting of blood from the ear area.

Foot or Toenail Injury

Canines are investigators of all things within their view and can, in their investigative endeavors, cut or scrape their paws or foot area by stepping on sharp objects. Sometimes foreign bodies can become imbedded into the pads of their feet.  A broken toenail will cause spotting of blood as well.

Oral Issues

Various types of dental problems can cause spotting of blood.  Broken teeth, gum disease, loss of teeth, oral masses and oral trauma are some things which can produce blood spotting

Urinary or Bladder Infection

Canines can contract infectious organisms in their urinary systems. When this occurs, much like humans, spots of blood can be seen in the urine and sometimes discomfort occurs as well.  When this blood spotting is seen in the house, it can have the appearance of pure blood. Bladder stones are another potential cause for spotting of blood in the urine.

Intestinal or Rectal Issues

Spotting of blood from the rectum can occur when your pet strains to defecate when he is constipated. Bouts of diarrhea can also produce spotting of blood.  Inflammatory bowel disease and gastrointestinal diseases are also conditions which can produce bloody stools. 

Prostate Problems

Blood spotting from the penis in males can indicate some prostate issues.  Cancers, depending on their location, can also produce blood spotting or other discharges from virtually any opening in the body

Pregnancy or Heat Cycle

Spotting of blood from the vagina of a female can be indicative of a heat cycle.  When the spotting of blood changes color, she is usually ready to mate.  Spotting of blood from the vagina of a pregnant female can, but not always, be indicative of a pregnancy issue.  Some breeds and females can spot blood throughout the pregnancy and still produce healthy puppies.

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What to do if your Dog is Spotting Blood

The occasional spotting of blood may not be something about which a pet parent should be alarmed but should elicit an attitude of increased watchfulness.  If the spotting becomes more frequent or if the amount of blood being spotted increases, you should seek medical attention urgently or as soon as possible.  

When the spotting is observed, examine your canine for possible injuries or foreign bodies.  For some paw injuries or broken toenails, for example, cleaning the area and removing the foreign body may be all that is required in the moment.  A trip to the vet may not always be immediately necessary.  

For the conditions which are generally related to various infections, veterinary medical care is recommended as soon as possible to avoid the progression to a more serious stage or condition.  Your veterinary professional will perform a physical examination and may do some testing of blood, fluids or tissue samples to ascertain the infective organism.  He will most likely need to provide some sort of treatment, though the specifics will be dependent upon the organism found at the root of the infection.  

In the event that your pregnant female is spotting, your vet may wish to utilize imaging modalities like x-rays, CT scanning or MRI to ascertain the cause.  Safety for the mother and the unborn pups will be of primary concern in these studies.

Imaging modalities may also be required for the male who is spotting from the penis to determine if the cause is prostatic or cancerous. Appropriate treatments will be recommended based upon the findings.

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Prevention of Spotting Blood

So, what can you do to prevent spotting blood in your canine? Daily or frequent regular examinations of your pet at home, with attention given to: 

  • The condition of the ears (especially in those breeds whose ears hang down)
  • Dental inspection of color of gums and condition of the teeth 
  • Examining the feet of your canine companion regularly and removing any surface debris and foreign bodies 
  • Inspection of the feces and the urine of your pet on a regular basis and keeping up with fecal and urine testing with your vet
  • Noting and reporting any abnormalities in the usual habits and behaviors of your pet to your veterinary professional

Close inspection and observation of your canine companion should parallel that given to your children as you monitor and take necessary steps to ensure their health and safety.  In most cases, these examinations of your pet can be done easily when you pet them, groom them or just play with them without making a big deal of it to them.

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Cost of Spotting Blood

There are, of course, some costs involved with utilizing appropriate veterinary medical care, just as with our human maladies.  Here are the estimated costs associated with a few of the conditions known to cause spotting of blood in dogs:

  • Ear infection and inflammation costs can range from $200 to $3,500
  • Urinary tract infection treatment costs range from $300 to $1,000
  • To treat inflammatory bowel disease, those costs can range from $300 to $6,000
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Spotting Blood Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Labrador Retriever

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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Loss Of Appetite, Bad Breath

My dog (male) has been sleeping a lot lately, and hasn’t been eating as much as usual but still gets 2 meals a day. He just takes hours to finish them. We’ve never really had an issue with his breath but the last couple days it’s been pretty bad. And he yawns a lot with a quiver in his jaw right after like he’s trying to swallow something. We didn’t think it was much to think about until we found a little bit of what looked like blood on his bed this morning. No change in urine or stool, no yelping or whining.

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. From your description, it sounds like your dog probably has some periodontal disease that needs attention. If it is affecting his life to the point of pain, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine him, look at his teeth, and let you know what needs to happen so that he is comfortable and pain-free again. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 6, 2020

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australia shepard

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Blood Spots

my dog has just randomly tonight been having blood spots in the bathroom and i'm very worried about him

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. This could be a urinary tract infection. It would be best for your vet to see your dog. They can check for an infection and start your dog on medication to help him feel much better. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 24, 2020

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Shepherd

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Eight Months

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0 found helpful

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Blood In Urine

I see blood drops on floor but can't find any injuries on her

July 13, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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It is likely that she’s going through her first heat cycle. Heat cycles usually last between 2 and 4 weeks and you will notice a bloody vaginal discharge as well as a swollen vulva. During this time she will be receptive to intact male dogs so you need to keep a very close eye on her so that she doesn’t become pregnant. If the blood is only occurring when she’s urinating then I would recommend you see a veterinarian to rule out a UTI. If you were not planning on breeding her it would be a good idea to have her spayed approximately six weeks after the end of her heat cycle.

July 13, 2020

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Zuchy

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German Shepherd

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10 Years

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Fair severity

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Bloody

This morning I woke up to have blood on the bed .I checked the dogs and saw no visible blood. I cannot seem to find the soruce of the blood. he is an older dog , but where can I check besides anal area etc