If you notice blood in your dog’s urine, it could be indicative of a major problem that needs to be addressed. Seeing bloody urine can be alarming. What could be causing the problem? Is it an emergency? What does blood in dog urine look like? There are a number of causes for bloody urine that range from mild to severe. The first thing you should do is contact your vet to make an appointment for your dog to be checked.
This guide will cover the most common causes of bloody urine in dogs, what bloody urine looks like, other symptoms to look out for, and what to do when you spot blood in your dog’s urine.
What Does Blood in Dog Urine Look Like?
Blood in your dog’s urine can present in a number of different ways. Blood can be very slight or very heavy. It can be hard to spot bloody urine if your dog does its business outside without close supervision, but you may notice your dog peeing more frequently and sometimes inside if there is something wrong. Bloody urine can appear pinkish, amber colored, brown, orange, or red. The redder the urine, the more blood is present.
It can be very hard to tell at a distance if your dog is peeing blood, especially in small amounts. If you have suspicions that your dog could be peeing blood, try to get a better look when they next relieve themselves or catch a sample for closer examination. Sometimes blood in your dog’s urine is not obvious to the naked eye and vets will do a diagnostic test to pick up the red blood cells in the urine.
Common Causes of Blood in Dog Urine
1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
The most common cause of blood in a dog’s urine is a urinary tract infection. Although uncomfortable, many UTIs are mild and can easily be treated by your veterinarian. UTIs can be connected to larger problems or larger infections.
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria working their way up the urethra ( the tube that takes urine out of the body). Female dogs are more at risk of getting these infections due to their shorter and wider urethra.
Dogs with underlying health issues, such as kidney disease, Cushing’s disease and diabetes have an increased incidence of UTIs.
If left untreated urinary tract infections can go on to cause serious problems.
2. Bladder Stones
Bladder stones ( also known as cystic calculi) are a collection of minerals that vary in terms of their composition and size. They develop in a dog’s bladder and can cause bloody urine, urinary tract infections, pain and even obstruction of the urinary tract. Treatment options depend on the size and type of stone/s. Some bladder stones require surgery to remove them ,others a change in diet (to dissolve the stones) or medication.
3. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are also mineralized formations like bladder stones but they develop within the kidney. Kidney stones are less common than bladder stones but some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to certain types of kidney stones than others. As well as blood in the urine, other signs that may be seen include recurrent UTIs, painful and frequent urination.
4. Prostate Issues
Male dogs can present with blood in the urine due to prostate issues. The most common prostate problem is an enlargement of the prostate called benign prostatic hyperplasia and is seen in older unneutered male dogs. Dogs can also get prostatitis (infected prostate) , prostate cancer and paraprostatic cysts. Prostate issues can cause blood in the urine, difficulty passing urine as well as constipation or straining to pass feces.
Another cause of bloody urine in dogs is trauma, get struck by a vehicle, or have another similar accident can end up peeing blood. Sometimes the trauma is visible around the dog’s genitalia, but other times, it can be internal. If your dog has recently had an accident or bodily injury and is peeing blood, you should of course seek veterinary care immediately.
One uncommon but serious condition that can cause bloody urine is cancer. Dogs can get bladder cancer , kidney cancer, or prostate cancer. Any of these types of cancer can progress and cause blood to appear in your dog’s urine. Cancer is not the most common cause of bloody urine, but it could be an underlying cause.
If your dog already has cancer and is being treated with chemotherapy, it could also be causing bloody urine. Some anticancer drugs can cause irritation to the bladder leading to cystitis and blood in the urine. Your veterinarian or oncologist should have alerted you to the fact that this is a potential side effect and it is important to contact them straight away if you see blood in the urine.
What to Do If You Find Blood in Your Dog’s Urine
Finding bloody urine will always result in a trip to the vet. You should plan on taking your dog in for a checkup if you see blood in their urine. It is generally recommended getting your dog seen by your vet within 24 hours depending on the severity of their signs and the amount of blood in the urine. Although many cases are a UTI that may not require emergency care, sometimes bloody urine can be more pressing. If you suspect that the bloody urine could be an emergency, you need to get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
When Is It an Emergency?
Bloody urine can be an emergency in a number of situations. If your dog’s urine is very red or looks like straight blood, you will likely need an emergency checkup. If your dog is experiencing other concerning symptoms in conjunction with bloody urine, such as lethargy, signs of pain, refusal to eat, inability to pee consistently, and elevated respiratory rates, it could be indicative of a more pressing issue that needs immediate care. If your dog is peeing blood after suffering bodily injury or trauma, it should also be considered an emergency.
What You Can Expect When You Go to the Vet
There are some common things that your vet will do in response to blood in the urine. It can be helpful to take a fresh urine sample from your dog to your appointment,in a clean sealable container. Depending on the signs your dog is showing, vets may recommend urinalysis, blood tests, a urine culture, X-rays, or an ultrasound. The urine examination will try to determine if there are any harmful bacteria in your dog’s urine or urinary tract. The X-rays or ultrasound will look at your dog’s kidneys and bladder for signs of tumors or stones.
Spotting blood in your dog’s pee can be very alarming, but it is a fairly common occurrence. In some cases, it is a sign of a simple UTI that is easily treatable. In other situations, it can be a sign of something serious like bladder stones or even cancer. Bloody urine should never be ignored. If blood is seen, you should take your dog into your vets to be looked at as soon as possible.