Should I Worry if My Dog’s Stool Has Blood or Mucus?

Person holding their dog's head up

Seeing blood or mucus in your dog’s stool (poop) can be alarming, but what does it mean and should you be concerned?

What does it mean to see blood or mucus in your dog’s stool?
There are many reasons why a dog’s stool would have blood or mucus. It can indicate:

Unfortunately, seeing blood and mucus in your dog’s stool is only a symptom of something wrong. It doesn’t identify the actual cause of the problem.  

What should you do about blood or mucus in your dog’s stool?
With so many possible causes, ranging from the benign to the deadly, the best thing to do is to take your dog to the veterinarian. After performing a complete examination, your veterinarian will probably want a stool sample. Be sure to bring a fresh stool sample from your dog. Click here to view 7 hilariously wrong ways to collect a poop sample.

Of course, if your dog is not eating or drinking or appears lethargic, it is imperative that you bring him to the veterinarian immediately rather than waiting to collect a stool sample.

Diagnosis of blood or mucus in my dog’s stool
Your veterinarian will do a thorough examination to check your dog’s overall health and look for signs of illness. In addition, your veterinarian will likely check your dog’s stool for intestinal parasites by performing a fecal flotation. Intestinal parasites are rarely seen because they live inside your dog’s intestinal tract. However, they do pass microscopic eggs or spores in your dog’s stool. A fecal flotation, also called a fecal, enables your veterinarian to determine if your dog has intestinal parasites. Parasites that can cause blood or mucus in your dog’s stool include:

Depending on your dog’s other symptoms and examination findings, your veterinarian may also want to test for viral diseases, such as parvovirus, or do screening blood work to look for other illnesses. If your veterinarian suspects a foreign body obstruction, she will likely suggest a radiograph (x-ray) or other type of imaging, like an ultrasound.

Treatment of dogs with blood or mucus in the stool
Treatment of course depends on the cause:

  • If the blood and mucus are merely a result of a night of eating garbage, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet for a few days and medication.
  • If parasites are the cause, your veterinarian will prescribe medications to deworm your dog and discuss how to safely clean up the environment to prevent reinfection.
  • Viral infections, like parvovirus, can be life threatening and often require hospitalization, intravenous fluids, antibiotics (for secondary infections) and additional medications to control pain and vomiting.
  • Foreign body obstructions are also deadly and emergency surgery is usually indicated. Ultimately, your veterinarian will determine the best treatment based on your dog’s diagnosis and overall condition.

If you notice that your dog has blood or mucus in his stool, remember to see your veterinarian and be sure to bring a fresh stool sample too.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Reviewed on: 
Tuesday, March 24, 2015