Seeing blood in your dog’s vomit is an alarming experience for any pet parent, but we don’t want you to panic!
Hematemesis (hee·muh·teh·muh·suhs) is the umbrella name for the dog medical condition of vomiting blood. It has many causes along the spectrum. While it is common, hematemesis could signal a serious medical problem that needs to be addressed.
The following chart is to try to diagnose the issue in front of you. It is meant to calm your anxieties and may save you from an unnecessary trip to the emergency clinic in the middle of the night.
Below, you see three options: the wait-and-see approach, wait until morning to contact your vet, or take your dog to the emergency clinic NOW.
DISCLAIMER: This chart is not meant to replace or diagnose as your official veterinarian. If you have any doubts or questions, immediately call your veterinarian or the emergency clinic.
Keep in mind:The lighter the blood, the lighter the emergency.
The darker the blood, the more chance you need to call your vet NOW!
Dog Vomit Self-Diagnosis Chart
Wait Until Morning
Normal bleeding from daily medication
Medical issues that cause normal bleeding
Recent cut in their mouth?
Mucus with flecks of blood, pink-tinged blood, or bright red mucus
Any other sign of bleeding, such as bruising or stool/diarrhea
Swallowing blood and regurgitating it
If You Need To Go NOW
Take your dog to the emergency veterinarian clinic which is open 24 hours a day and does not need a scheduled appointment.
Ultimately, you should always contact your vet, even if the blood and/or vomit lessens. Describe the blood that you saw and ask if you should come in for tests. Depending on the source/cause of the blood, the veterinarian will know how to heal your dog, and if you can continue the recovery at home.
Causes of Hematemesis
Hematemesis in dogs derives from a variety of sources and disorders, including the following:
Ingesting Foreign Object
Your dog might ingest many objects. Vomited blood can derive from a cut in the mouth, a wound in the esophagus, or an ingested toxic chemical. If your dog is choking, use quick home remedies such as removing the object from the opened throat or trying the dog Heimlich maneuver. Call your vet before you induce vomiting.
Vet Solution: Sedate the dog to perform gastrointestinal surgery. Call ASPCA poison control if your dog ingested something poisonous.
Dogs can have an allergic reaction to any dog food due to the ingredients and do your research before giving human food to your pet as a snack. Allergies can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloody vomit in extreme situations.
Vet solution: Diagnose your dog’s food allergy with a skin, saliva, or blood test.
Stomach ulcers are extremely painful. They are caused by an excessive amount of stomach acid that erodes the gastrointestinal lining of the stomach. This can cause severe bloody diarrhea or hematemesis that looks like dark coffee grounds, which is a sign of digested blood.
Vet Solution: Prescribe effective medication to reduce stomach acid and treat ulcers. Some medications include Famotidine and Sucralfate.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease resembles stomach ulcers where excessive stomach acid erodes the gastrointestinal lining of the stomach causes severe pain. It also causes inflammation and swelling. Your dog might also have a pre-existing condition that causes bloody vomit.
Vet solution: Prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Metronidazole, Flagyl, or Sulfasalazine.
Antifreeze, or ethylene glycol, is liquid drainage often used as brake fluid, motor oil, removing wood stains, solvents, and paint. It can be found in the kitchen cabinet and as an automotive radiator coolant. Left untreated for 8+ hours, a dog may develop kidney disease and die. Call your vet!
Vet solution: Send to poison control or prescribe ethanol or fomepizole to flush out the antifreeze.
Tiny parasites like hookworms and heartworms can attach themselves to the dog’s intestinal lining and ingest his nutrients. A significant amount of parasites can cause bloody puke.
Vet Solution: Prescribe a medication with pyrantel pamoate that prevents and controls the parasites in dogs, such as Sentinel and Trifexis.
Leptospirosis from salmonella, campylobacter, or E. coli can result in severe bloody vomiting.
Vet Solution: Send the dog for immediate hospitalization and aggressive treatment. Fluid therapy for dehydration, antiemetic for anti-vomiting, and blood transfusion for hemorrhaging. Prescribe antibiotics, such as Ampicillin, for at least four weeks.
Blood clotting disorder
This can be a pre-existing condition of your dog that causes internal bleeding and throwing up blood. Liver failure, cancer, and ingestion of toxins can cause the dog’s blood clotting ability. Blood clots can cause severe abdominal pain and large amounts of vomited blood.
Vet Solution: Blood or platelet transfusions, but there is no specific treatment.
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and other related issues can cause bloody vomit and diarrhea. The cause is bile and mucus buildup that disrupts the intestinal lining. Before taking him to the vet, try to hydrate your pup since he lost as immense loss of water. You can use such digestible products as NaturVet Anti-Diarrhea for Dogs.
Vet Solution: Intravenous fluid therapy.
Bilious vomiting syndrome
A buildup of yellow or green bile can irritate the dog’s gastrointestinal tract and lead to specks of blood in their vomit. This happens if a dog is not fed for a long time.
Vet Solution: Prescribe a medication that improves digestion, such as Metoclopramide, or a medication that protects the stomach lining.
If diagnosed with stomach or esophageal cancer, your dog may experience bloody vomiting, weight loss, and diarrhea.
Vet solution: Critical tests, such as surgical removal, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Canine Parvovirus (CPV) Infection
CPV is a highly contagious viral illness that affects mostly puppies from 6 weeks to 6 months. It can manifest as gastrointestinal or cardiac issues. The resulting dehydration and loss of electrolytes can cause severe bloody vomiting or diarrhea. The survival rate is 70% with veterinary intervention.
Vet Solution: Since there is no cure, the dog requires hospitalization with aggressive emergency treatments such as intravenous fluid, anti-vomiting medications, and antiviral medications.
What can cause a dog to vomit blood?
Kidney disease, Addison’s disease, pancreatitis, respiratory tract disorder, and metabolic/neurological/viral infections. A pet owner may also see blood in a dog’s vomit following a traumatic incident such as heatstroke, head wound, severe burns, major surgery, or interaction with metal toxins or toxic plants.
Why is it an emergency if the vomit looks like fruit punch or coffee grounds?
If the vomit looks like fruit punch (bright red and a large amount), the source is the esophagus, stomach, or upper gastrointestinal tract. If the vomit looks like coffee grounds (dark and dried), the assumption is that this oxidized blood has been partially digested and the bleeding has been going on for a while.
Is your dog vomiting blood and having diarrhea?
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, allergic reaction, stomach ulcer, or cancer are common results. Your dog needs an immediate visit to the vet or emergency clinic NOW!
Is your dog vomiting blood and mucus?
Check the color and the amount of blood. If you see light-colored specks of blood in the mucus, use the wait-and-see approach and wait for behavioral change or if the situation worsens. If you see fresh to digested blood (i.e., looks like coffee grounds), go to the vet or emergency clinic NOW.
What information should I have available for the vet call?
The color of the blood, any dietary changes, any recent traumas, and any new lifestyle transitions.
What should I bring to the veterinarian for a check-up?
It's a good idea to take a sample of the vomit (with the mucus, if available), a picture of the vomit, and to provide the details. All can lead to an accurate and speedy diagnosis.
How do I clean up my dog’s bloody vomit mess?
PetCareRx’s Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover is safe for pets and children, eliminates vomit odors and bloodstains permanently, and leaves a fresh citrus scent.
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.