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Home > Dogs > I Found Blood in My Dog’s Urine: What It Means & How to Treat It

I Found Blood in My Dog’s Urine: What It Means & How to Treat It

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Dr. Lauren Demos

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Your dog should see a veterinarian within 24 hours after you notice blood in the urine (hematuria). But what does blood in dog urine look like? You will notice a red or pink discoloration in their urine, which indicates blood is present. It can be caused for various reasons, like a urinary tract infection or even cancer, which is why so many owners panic when they notice it. Below, we’ll discuss what blood in your dog’s urine could mean and how it’s treated.


Causes of Blood in the Urine

Blood in the urine can be easily missed, so don’t feel guilty if it’s detected at a regular vet check-up and not at home, but let’s move on to the potential causes of blood in your dog’s urine.1

dalmatian dog looking sick
Image Credit: Alexander Hagseth, Shutterstock

Upper Urinary Tract

If the problem is in the upper urinary tract, it will involve the kidneys; just like humans, dogs have two kidneys.

  • Idiopathic renal hematuria: “Idiopathic” means unknown, so this refers to an unknown reason for blood in the urine that originates in the kidneys. It could be due to an infection, issues with the immune system, or medication, amongst other things.
  • Kidney cancer: It’s uncommon, but cancer could be behind the blood in your dog’s urine. The cancer might be only in the kidney or have spread to other parts of the body.
  • Kidney infection: One or both of your dog’s kidneys could be infected.
  • Kidney stones: Blood in the urine could indicate kidney stones in one or both kidneys.

Lower Urinary Tract

The bladder and urethra are parts of the lower urinary tract, and potential causes of blood in the urine might include:

  • Bladder cancer: This can look similar to a UTI with your dog finding it difficult to urinate or having accidents in the house when they previously didn’t.
  • Bladder stones: This is when crystals will form in your dog’s bladder, which leads to potential urethral blockages, bleeding, and inflammation. This can be due to chronic infections, diet, or genetics.
  • Prostrate problems: Males suffering from a prostate infection or benign prostate enlargement commonly have blood in the urine.
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): A bladder infection is one of the most common causes of blood in a dog’s pee. You might also notice pain while urinating, trouble emptying the bladder, a strong odor to the urine, loss of bladder control, and your dog constantly licking the urinary opening.
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Image Credit: kolokoso, Shutterstock

Other Causes

Lastly, the reason for blood in your dog’s urine could be caused by the following:

  • Estrus: When a female is in heat, an owner might mistake the blood for being in the urine as it comes from the same area. Other signs your dog is in heat will help you distinguish, like if she hasn’t been spayed, drops of blood are left behind when she’s been sitting, and a swollen vulva.
  • Poison: Blood in the urine could indicate your dog has ingested something toxic. You might notice other symptoms such as coughing, a swollen abdomen, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance.
  • Trauma: An injury could cause blood to appear in your dog’s urine.

How Will Your Vet Treat Blood in the Urine?

The treatment for bloody urine will depend on the cause,2 but the most important part you’ll play is getting your dog seen as soon as possible. The faster treatment begins, the better.

Your vet might recommend neutering for prostate neoplasia and benign prostate enlargement. Bladder stones might require surgery, and antibiotics will treat an infection like a UTI if the issue is related to bacteria. Your vet could also prescribe pain or anti-inflammatory medication to help your dog’s discomfort.

Depending on the diagnosis, a change in your dog’s diet might be a possibility. Certain foods will optimize urine pH and reduce stone formation, and consuming wet food will produce more dilute urine.

a shih tzu dog being checked by two vets
Image Credit: KongNoi, Shutterstock

How to Prevent Urinary Problems Reoccurring?

The most important thing you can do is keep up with your regular vet checkups. If your vet determines your dog is predisposed to urinary issues, they can routinely test for them.

At home, monitor your dog’s urinary habits and urine color. Unfortunately, our dogs can’t communicate with us when something is going on with them, so careful monitoring is critical in keeping our dogs happy and safe.


Final Thoughts

It can be incredibly worrying when you notice blood in your dog’s urine, and some of the potential reasons for the blood can be frightening, like cancer. However, remaining calm is vital because some causes are more severe than others.

You are your dog’s voice and their first line of defense, so it’s crucial that you get your dog to the vet so they can get to the root of the problem. If your vet practice is closed when you notice the blood, take them to the nearest emergency vet so they don’t have to wait to be seen.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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