If you recently spotted blood in dog urine, you may be wondering if everything is okay with your dog’s health. Bloody urine, scientifically known as hematuria, can be caused by a handful of things. In most dogs, hematuria is probably caused by a urinary tract issue, a prostate issue, or poisoning.
As with most health-related issues, it’s helpful to look at the full picture, take note of any other symptoms, and call your vet for advice.
What Does Blood in Dog Urine Look Like?
You may not notice bloody urine right away. Since most dogs urinate outside, you aren’t likely in tune with the nuances of their urine color.
If you suspect that there is urine in your dog’s blood, make sure to accompany them outside or take them on a walk the next time they urinate. This will allow you to get a closer look at the stream of urine.
Healthy urine is a transparent, pale yellow. Bloody urine, aka urine hematuria, will often look darker.
It can be amber, orange, red, or brown. Some bloody urine will look perfectly normal. Your vet may only discover red blood cells in urine sediment after doing diagnostic tests with the aid of a microscope.1
Potential Causes of Blood in Dog Urine
If your dog has dark urine one day and normal-looking urine the next, there’s a chance that they could have just been dehydrated.
Just like humans, the color of a dog’s urine can fluctuate depending on hydration. This is where it’s important to pay attention to other symptoms and environmental factors. If you have any doubts at all, call your vet for tests.
Here are a few common causes of canine hematuria:
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs in Dogs)
If your dog is urinating blood, there’s a good chance they are suffering from a urinary tract infection, or UTI. Generally, UTIs happen when bacteria climbs up the urethra and enters the bladder. UTIs can also be caused by high blood glucose levels.2 A UTI refers to an infection anywhere in the urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder, uterus, or ureters.
Urinary tract infections give an aching, urgent feeling of needing to urinate, only to have only a few drops dribble out.
Look for these symptoms:
- Urinating blood
- Obsessively licking genitals
- Wincing or crying out during urination
- Straining to urinate
- Frequent urination3,4
What to Do About UTIs in Dogs
Call your vet. They’ll want to look at a urine sample. White blood cells in the urine might indicate an infection. That urine sample can also help identify which bacteria is present. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics or a special diet.
For your part, you’ll want to start giving your dog a probiotic supplement if you don’t already. Probiotics encourage the growth of good bacteria. They enhance the immune system’s response to infection-causing bacteria.5 Probiotics can also help prevent recurring UTIs.
Bladder or Kidney Stones
Minerals in the urine, like calcium oxalate, can form stones when they aren’t adequately absorbed or diluted.6 Stones often form after a bladder infection. Bladder stones are more common than kidney stones in dogs.7
Female dogs are much more likely to develop stones than male dogs. Some breeds, like Beagles and Pekingese, are more prone than others. But all dogs can develop them.
Look for these symptoms:
- Hematuria (blood in the urine)
- Straining to urinate with little output
- Licking the genitals
- Obvious pain while urinating
- Vomiting or weight loss8
What to Do About Bladder or Kidney Stones in Dogs
Call your vet. If the stones were caused by an undiagnosed bladder infection, they’ll want to treat that first – likely with antibiotics. Your vet may recommend a special diet to help dissolve the stones. In some cases, they’ll recommend surgery.
Left untreated, stones can get stuck and block the urethra opening, so it’s important to call your vet.9
Prostate and Urethral Issues
Prostate infections are common in male dogs. With many prostate conditions, the prostate gland becomes enlarged. This could be caused a cyst, a bacterial infection, or several other reasons.10In cases like this, the enlarged prostate will push into the urethra, making urination difficult and uncomfortable.
Here are other symptoms to look out for:
- Blood in the urine
- Strained and prolonged urination that only produces a thin stream of urine
- Difficulty passing bowel movements
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
What To Do If You Suspect a Prostate Infection
Prostate gland enlargement is a common occurrence in older dogs. In fact, by the time they’re nine years old, a majority of dogs may have an enlarged prostate. Sometimes, infections indicate more serious health conditions and need to be treated quickly.11Always call your vet and seek advice.
Your vet will examine your dog and will likely order blood work, a complete blood count, electrolyte panel, and a urinalysis. This will help them determine if there is blood in the urine, bacteria in the body, or an increased white blood cell count.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Urine in the blood can be a symptom of high blood pressure, or hypertension. Hypertension can affect many systems, including the heart, kidneys, eyes, and the nervous system. If your dog has high blood pressure, your vet may put them on medication indefinitely.
Other Symptoms of High Blood Pressure:
- Circling, disorientation
- Retinal detachment12
Blood in your dog’s urine may be a sign that they have ingested something toxic, like rodenticide or pesticides. If you suspect this could be the case, call your vet immediately.13
Other Symptoms of Toxin Ingestion:
- Difficulty breathing
Physical trauma – meaning an injury from a fight or an accident – could cause your dog’s urine to have blood in it. Make sure you tell your vet about any recent trauma when you call them.
An unfixed female dog will find herself “in heat” twice a year. If your female dog is not spayed, the bleeding that you’re seeing may be vaginal discharge, aka “doggie period” – not bloody urine. Are there drops of blood left when your dog sits down? It may be discharge.14
The Importance of Spaying and Neutering Your Dog
A quick note here – spaying and neutering your dog has many health benefits. These procedures can help prevent uterine infections, breast tumors, and prostate issues in male dogs. They can extend your dog’s lifespan. And they help prevent the problem of overpopulation that causes so many dogs to end up in shelters.
What To Do When You Notice Hematuria
Call the vet as soon as you notice blood in dog urine. Try to make a note of things like frequency of urination, visible signs of discomfort, or other symptoms. These notes will all help your vet make their diagnosis.
Your veterinarian will likely want to conduct a full examination.
They’ll check for inflammation or abnormal growths. They may perform an ultrasound or an x-ray.15 A complete blood count will measure white and red blood cells and platelet levels.16 A urinalysis will test pH levels and for the presence of minerals in the urine.
You can do your part at home to make sure your pup stays healthy. Always feed your dog an all-natural, balanced raw diet with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Supplements containing probiotics and omega-3’s can help strengthen their immune system. And last but not least: make sure they drink plenty of fresh water!
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