What Does Blood in Dog Urine Mean?

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Introduction to What Does Blood in Dog Urine Mean?

Dog urine contains a variety of chemicals that can react with the chemicals in the carpet, which can leave stains.

However, the most common dog urine stains aren’t caused by urine itself.

A dog’s diet can have a big effect on the smell of its urine. The most common causes of blood in dog urine are bladder infections and stones.

It is more than just a smelly nuisance.

Dog pee can contain bacteria and other microscopic organisms that can cause real problems for both you and fur friend.

While it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for blood in dog urine, it’s also a good idea to watch out for other possible signs that Fido might be ill.

Any dog that pees blood should be checked out by a veterinarian right away, especially if he or she has experienced pain while urinating.

Blood in your dog’s urine can be a cause for concern, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms like urinating more frequently, straining to urinate, or pain.

However, it can also be completely harmless in all but a few cases.

For example, some dogs do have naturally red urine, and some dogs have blood vessels near the urethra that can rupture, causing bleeding.

Dogs with a blood disorder or who have eaten something that gave them a urinary tract infection can also bleed in their urine.

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What is Blood in the Urine?

Blood can appear in a dog’s urine at any age, but age can be a good indicator of the cause.

For instance, dogs can suffer from familial hematuria, which means that blood in the urine is hereditary, and this is the most common cause for blood in the urine of young dogs.

However, the most common cause of blood in the urine of an older dog is cancer.

Another indicator can be gender because the blood in the urine may be caused by a urinary tract infection, from which females are more likely to suffer than males.

Blood in the urine is a condition medically referred to as hematuria.

Blood in the urine is a symptom that can indicate various underlying causes, some of which are very serious.

These include cancer, familial hematuria, and urinary tract infections .

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What Is Hematuria in Dogs?

The technical term for blood in urine is hematuria.

The presence of these red blood cells in your dog’s urine can be detected either visually or by using diagnostic testing.

Oftentimes, we don’t notice bloody urine right away.

After all, it’s not like we really want to be staring at our dogs while they pee.

Sometimes, though, bloody urine is obvious, especially if your dog urinates on a light-colored surface, like snow, carpet, or the floor.

This discoloration can present as almost normal, amber, orange, red, or brown.

Other times, blood in the urine is not this obvious, and it takes a diagnostic test to discover red blood cells.

Your dog’s urine may appear normal and still contain blood.

There are other conditions that can lead to discolored urine, so the first thing you should do if you notice your dog’s urine is a funny color is contact your veterinarian.

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Causes of Hematuria in Dogs

Blood in the urine is one of those symptoms, like vomiting and diarrhea, which are present in a wide range of conditions. Here are just a few of the conditions that can lead to blood in your dog’s urine to give you an idea of the extent of possible causes.

  • Clotting disorders
  • Toxins, like certain kinds of rat poison
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Kidney diseases such as kidney stones, cystic kidney disease, and structural disease
  • Trauma
  • Nephritis (inflammation of the kidney)
  • Inflammatory disease
  • Infections such as urinary tract infections
  • Anatomical malformations in the kidney or urinary tract
  • Infectious diseases
  • Chemotherapy
  • Estrus
  • Tumors
  • Cancer

This list can feel a little overwhelming, which is where your veterinarian steps in to help with her diagnostic differentials.

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Diagnosing Hematuria in Dogs

Diagnosing the cause behind your dog’s hematuria can be complicated, as you can guess by looking at the extensive list of possible causes, but most veterinarians are well equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to pinpoint the underlying condition.

Placing a piece of white paper or cloth beneath your dog as they urinate.

This will show you if the urine is discolored, and he also recommends attempting to collect a urine sample in a container for your veterinarian.

If you can’t get the sample to your veterinarian immediately, he suggests placing it in the refrigerator until you can take it to your vet.

Your veterinarian may begin this process with a physical examination. In the exam, she may visually inspect your dog’s genital areas; palpate your dog’s abdomen, bladder, kidneys, and prostate; and check your dog for any other symptoms that appear out of the ordinary, like bruising.

Once the physical examination is complete, there are several different diagnostic tests that your veterinarian may perform, depending on the findings of the physical exam and any other symptoms your dog may present with.

Some of these tests may include a dipstick colorimetric test, urinalysis, ultrasound, radiograph, blood pressure measurement, catheterization, a blood chemistry workup, coagulation profile, cystourethroscopy, endoscopy, biopsies, and in some cases, exploratory surgery. These tests, ultimately, will provide your veterinarian with the information she needs to narrow down the potential causes of the blood in your dog’s urine.
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Upper Urinary Tract Causes

As in humans, a dog’s upper urinary tract contains two kidneys. Blood in urine originating in this part of the urinary tract tends to affect the kidneys. Some causes for bleeding in the upper urinary tract include: Idiopathic renal hematuria: This is blood in the urine that results from the kidney for an unknown reason. It could be due to medicine, an infection or an issue with the immune system. This is generally considered a benign condition with a hereditary element. Kidney infection: If your dog is peeing blood, one or both of your dog’s kidneys could possibly be infected. Kidney stones: While uncommon, kidney stones can affect one or both kidneys resulting in the presence of blood in the urine. Kidney cancer: While uncommon, kidney cancer can affect dogs and cause blood in dog urine. The cancer can remain in the kidney or spread to other parts of the body. Renal telangiectasia: Some dogs, including Welsh corgis, have a genetic predisposition to this spontaneous widening of blood vessels in the kidney, which can lead to blood in their urine.
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Lower Urinary Tract Causes

The lower urinary tract includes the bladder and the urethra, the tube that connects the bladder to the outside world and allows urine to exit the body. Causes for bleeding here include the following: Bladder infection A lower urinary tract infection (UTI) is by far the most common cause for a dog peeing blood. It can be caused by skin allergies; the anatomy of the urethra, vulva, or prepuce; and hormone-related incontinence in spayed females Bladder stones: These can form for a variety of reasons, including genetics, nutrition, and chronic infection. Bladder cancer Bladder cancer in dogs often look similar to a UTI; it can cause accidents in the house, difficulty urinating and blood in the urine. Prostate problems: Benign prostate enlargement and prostate infection are the most common prostate problems in male dogs who haven’t been neutered. Causes for blood in dog urine that can affect both the upper and lower urinary tracts include a ruptured bladder, which can happen if they’re hit by a car or attacked by another dog; coagulopathy (a scientific word that essentially means clotting problems); and vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels.
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Diagnosing Blood in Dog Urine

After a complete physical examination by your veterinarian, a urine sample will be collected and analyzed for abnormalities.

Sometimes there isn’t enough blood present for you to see in your dog’s pee without the use of a microscope so your dog may even have blood in its urine without you knowing it.

Other times the urine will be so red that you think it contains nothing but blood. 

If you see your dog peeing blood, contact your vet to make an appointment as soon as possible. As a general rule, any dog peeing blood for the first time should be seen by a vet within 24 hours.

At the visit, the vet will try to diagnose the underlying cause of the blood by analyzing your dog’s urine.

A urine culture may be recommended to see if bacteria might be causing the issue.

They may also conduct a blood test or take an X-ray or an ultrasound.

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Risk Factors

Certain breeds of dogs are predisposed to having bladder or kidney issues that can cause a dog to pee blood.

For example, Dalmatians, Shih Tzus, Miniature Schnauzers, Bichon Frises, Lhasa Apsos, and Yorkshire terriers are at-risk breeds for developing bladder stones and West Highland white terriers, Scottish terriers, Shetland sheepdogs, beagles, American Eskimos, and wire fox terriers are at risk for developing bladder tumors.

Any breed of dog may be affected by bladder or kidney issues though so the problem of peeing blood is not exclusive to any breeds of dogs.

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Treatment will be varied and designed to address the underlying cause of the blood in your dog’s urine once your dog has been stabilized.

Stabilization may require intravenous fluids to treat dehydration and/or a blood transfusion if your dog’s red blood cell count is dangerously low.


Antibiotics are the treatment of choice for bladder, kidney, urinary tract, and other infections.

Specific antibiotics that your vet may prescribe will depend on your dog’s history with antibiotics and the site of the infection.


Bladder and kidney stones may be treated through a diet low in protein, phosphorous, and magnesium and designed to promote acidic urine as well as encourage increased water intake, or in more severe cases, removal of the stones through nonsurgical or surgical means.


The treatment of tumors will depend on the site and diagnosis.

The veterinarian may refer you to an oncologist for a more specialized diagnosis and treatment.


Treatment for poisoning will depend upon the substance ingested.

If your dog has ingested rodenticide and is experiencing vitamin D poisoning, she will need to remain on an IV until her electrolyte, calcium, and phosphorous levels have stabilized.

Your dog may be given a phosphate binder such as aluminum hydroxide in order to allow her to excrete the excess phosphorous in her system more quickly.


If the blood in your dog’s urine is the result of trauma, the treatment will depend upon the extent and location of the internal damage that is found during diagnosis.


Treatment of prostatic disease will depend upon the diagnosis, as there are several possible diseases.

For primary or secondary bacterial infections, your dog will be prescribed aggressive antibiotic therapy that may be much longer than a typical antibiotic regimen.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, cystic metaplasia, testicular tumors, and cystic hyperplasia generally occur only in dogs that have not been neutered, and neutering is often the only treatment necessary.

Paraprostatic cysts and prostatic abscesses must be surgically removed and drained.

Recovery of Blood in the Urine in Dogs

No matter the diagnosis, it is most important to follow the veterinarian’s instructions for follow-up care and monitoring.

If the symptom was determined to be the result of a dietary abnormality, the veterinarian will advise you on an appropriate diet.

It is always important to consult the veterinarian before adding a nutritional or vitamin supplement to your dog’s diet.

No matter the cause, it is important to always have fresh, clean water available and encourage your dog to stay hydrated.

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