Have You Noticed Blood in Your Dog's Urine? Here's What it Means and How to Treat It
Seeing blood in your dog's urine can cause worry for even the most experienced dog parents, especially if your dog seems sick or uncomfortable as well. Some dogs with blood in their urine will show other signs, like peeing in the house or drinking lots of water. Others will seem just fine—other than that scary red tint to their pee. The good news is that blood in dog urine is often treatable with help from your veterinarian.
What Causes Blood in Dog Urine?
Blood in the urine is called hematuria. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, ureters, the bladder, and urethra, and bleeding can come from any of these areas and end up in the urine. In addition, blood in the urine can originate from the reproductive system if the dog is not spayed or neutered. There are many potential causes for this bleeding, but it's often caused by a condition that irritates the urinary tract.
Though uncommon, hematuria may also occur due to a bleeding or clotting disorder. In addition, some toxins, including certain types of rat poison, can cause clotting problems that lead to blood in the urine.
Some forms of cancer, such as transition cell carcinoma, are known to cause blood in the urine. In addition, chemotherapy may lead to hematuria in dogs.
Potential causes of blood in dog urine include:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Kidney infection
- Bladder stones
- Kidney stones
- Nephritis (kidney inflammation)
- Prostate issues in males
- Uterine or vaginal issues in females
- Estrus (heat) in unspayed females
- Thrombocytopenia (low platelets)
- Tumors or polyps
- Toxin exposure (like rodenticide)
- Anatomical malformations
If all conditions have been ruled out, your veterinarian may diagnose idiopathic renal hematuria. 'Idiopathic' means that the cause is unknown.
In cats, stress is believed to be a factor in a condition called feline idiopathic cystitis (bladder inflammation with unknown cause). While canine idiopathic cystitis is rare, stress can certainly impact urinary tract health and lead to a UTI with hematuria.
What To Do if There's Blood in Your Dog's Urine
Blood in dog urine usually ranges from bright red to reddish-brown in color, and it may seem shocking at first. Fortunately, it's not an emergency—there's no need to rush to the veterinarian unless your dog is unable to urinate or seems to be in significant pain. However, you will still need to contact your vet's office if you notice what appears to be blood in your dog's pee. They may advise you to bring in your dog for an exam and/or collect a urine sample for analysis.
Blood in Dog Urine Treatment and Home Remedies
Blood in dog urine is often a sign or symptom of another issue, so treatment really depends on the cause of the hematuria. It's important to work with your vet to determine the cause of the blood in the urine and treat it appropriately.
Urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics over a period of days to weeks. Blood in the urine usually clears up within the first few days of treatment, but your vet may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to provide comfort and reduce the irritation that's causing bleeding.
Many dog parents seek out natural and home remedies to reduce urinary tract inflammation and bleeding. Unfortunately, there are no natural or home remedies that directly treat UTIs (or other conditions that cause blood in the urine). However, some herbs and supplements can promote overall urinary tract health. Talk to your veterinarian before giving your dog any herbs or supplements.
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Preventing Blood in Your Dog's Urine and Ensuring Future Urinary Tract Health
The best way to prevent blood in your dog's urine is to keep your dog healthy. Provide plenty of fresh water and allow your dog to urinate at least three to five times a day. It's also important for your dog to have annual (or biannual) check-ups, during which your vet will run screening tests, such as bloodwork and a urinalysis. Your vet may be able to detect a small problem and begin treatment before it really starts to bother your dog.
For dogs prone to urinary tract issues, there are a number of dog-specific supplements available that support urinary tract health. Most of these contain cranberry extract, but some contain glucosamine or various herbs and roots. Ask your vet for guidance when choosing supplements or other over-the-counter products for your dog.