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What causes blood in a dog’s urine?

While a range of conditions can lead to blood in a dog’s urine, some are much more common than others. Diagnostic tests will be needed for your veterinarian to identify the cause, but information you provide them will help point them in a certain direction. 

Urinary tract infections and bladder stones would be among the most common reasons blood is seen. Less common causes include blot clotting disorders, which may be related to toxin ingestion, prostate problems, certain cancers or trauma. Other possible causes include:

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Some dogs experience recurrent urinary tract infections, and their owners quickly learn to recognize the signs. These may include blood in the urine, urinating in the house, dribbling urine, straining to urinate, vocalizing when urinating or licking at their hind end.

If it’s the first time you’ve seen any of these signs in your dog, keep calm and call your veterinary clinic for advice. They will likely book your dog in for the next available appointment, which may be that day or the next day. 

Kidney or Bladder Stones

Dogs can develop different types of bladder stones, which may be related to infection or abnormal urine pH (too acidic or too alkaline). The presence of these stones within the bladder can lead to blood being present in the urine as they irritate the tissue. Kidney stones can also occur, but are less common.

Crystals evident within your dog’s urine signal to your vet that x-rays are necessary to check the bladder for stones. Crystals are not always present, so your vet may suggest to proceed with x-rays whenever blood is visible in the urine. Depending on the type of bladder stone present, either surgery to remove the stone, or a diet change to dissolve the stone is necessary.

Toxins or Poisoning

Ingestion of toxins such as rodenticides can lead to clotting disorders. The older generations of these products work by causing internal bleeding in rodents. When dogs accidentally ingest them, bruising or bleeding may occur. Your veterinarian may run bloodwork and blood clotting tests if ingestion is suspected. 

Kidney or Bladder Cancer

Tumors of the urinary tract are rare but can occur. Abnormal cells may be evident in your dog’s urine sample that suggest this, and prompt your vet to recommend proceeding with further labwork and imaging such as x-rays and ultrasound. 

Prostate Issues

If your dog is an intact male dog, your vet will likely want to check his prostate. This involves a rectal exam to feel if it is enlarged or irregular feeling. X-rays or ultrasound would be the next step if they think the prostate could be causing the blood in the urine.

Recent Surgery

If your dog was recently spayed or neutered, or underwent any type of abdominal surgery, you should be monitoring for any urinary abnormalities including blood in the urine. Call your veterinarian or local emergency clinic immediately if this is the case.