Every dog throws up from time to time, usually because they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have and their body is trying to get rid of it. This type of occasional regurgitation is pretty common and generally harmless if unaccompanied by other symptoms. However, if you ever see blood in your dog’s vomit, it’s time to take action. Here’s what to do about a dog puking blood.
Causes of Bloody Vomit
The vomiting of blood -- also known as hematemesis -- is a sign that something is wrong. The bloody vomit may appear as red and fresh, formed into clots, or partially digested with a resemblance to coffee grounds.
The medical conditions that could cause your dog to throw up blood include:
Tumors of the stomach or esophagus
Stomach ulcers (which can be caused by some medications)
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Toxin ingestion (certain plants or heavy metals)
Bacterial or viral infection
Gastritis (chronic or acute severe vomiting)
HGE or Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
Clotting disorders (ingestion of rat poison can cause improper clotting)
Trauma (including eating something that injures the gastrointestinal tract, also called foreign body ingestion)
What You Should Do
It can be scary to see your dog puking blood, but the best thing to do is stay calm and take your dog to the nearest veterinarian right away. Severe blood loss -- especially if it is happening quickly -- can lead to serious problems for other organs, and can also be fatal. A dog who is vomiting blood requires immediate medical attention.
A veterinarian will usually take a full history of your dog’s health, perform a thorough exam, and order certain health tests to determine the underlying cause of the bloody vomit as well as the degree of blood loss and your dog’s ability to clot blood. These tests may include complete blood work, x-rays, a clotting profile, internal organ function screening, and fecal analysis.
Treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause. In some cases, emergency procedures may be necessary.
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This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.