Is Your Canine Vomiting Blood? This is What to Do Subsequent

Imagine: It’s 11 p.m. on a Saturday evening. The sound of your dog vomiting on the bedroom floor will wake you up from your sleep. With a deep sigh, crawl out of bed, turn on the light, and kneel down to clean it up. But wait, you see something dark in the vomit. Blood. Your heart skips a beat. Your dog throws blood. Is a dog who vomits blood life threatening? Do you need to take your dog straight to the emergency clinic?

What to do about a dog that is vomiting blood?

What are the next steps for a dog vomiting blood? Photography © Rasulovs | Thinkstock.

A dog vomiting blood can be a sign of a major emergency or minor problem. “It sounds gross, but you should take a close look at the vomit,” says Kelly Diehl, DVM, Dipl.-Ing. ACVIM, scientific communications consultant for the Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit that funds animal health research. “Is it just a thread or a few streaks of red blood? Is it a volume of liquid that is very red, like fruit punch? And is there anything that looks like coffee grounds? “

A small amount of red blood in your dog’s vomit can be caused by simple stomach irritation. “If [your dog has] an upset stomach and [he’s] Vomiting a lot, the stomach becomes so irritated that [he] can bleed easily, ”explains Dr. Diehl. “We sometimes see gastric bleeding in pets that take nonsteroidal drugs [anti-inflammatory] Drugs. So a dog who is vomiting blood that looks like a few spots or red streaks of blood isn’t necessarily very serious. As long as the bleeding and / or vomiting doesn’t get worse, you may be able to wait until the next day to see your vet to contact.

Is your dog vomiting blood and showing these symptoms?

In some cases, a dog vomiting blood requires an immediate trip to your veterinarian (or the emergency clinic if it’s after hours). A dog that vomits blood that is uniformly bright red is indicative of profuse bleeding. Black or dark brown blood that looks like coffee grounds indicates that the bleeding has been going on for a long time, which is very worrying. “Many people don’t realize that it is dried, partially digested blood,” explains Dr. Diehl. “It’s almost always serious, even more serious than a streak of red blood.”

Another factor to consider in a dog vomiting blood is your dog’s behavior. Is your dog acting fairly normally other than throwing blood, or is he very sluggish and depressed? A dog who vomits blood and is also acting very ill should see the vet right away, even if it is the middle of the night.

In addition, a dog that is vomiting blood should be checked for other sources of bleeding. “For example when [your dog] ate something like rat bait, which can cause [him] Vomit blood, however [he’s] It usually bleeds elsewhere, too, ”says Dr. Diehl. “[He] may bleed from your mouth or nose and swallow it. Any type of bleeding that doesn’t seem to be slowing, from the nose or mouth, or any other signs of bleeding, including bruising on the skin or blood flow in the stool, is an emergency. You don’t wait – you’re going right in. “

The quintessential vet attention for a dog vomiting blood

The answer is simple if a dog vomits blood during normal business hours. Call your vet, describe the blood you saw, and ask if your dog needs to come in right away or if you can wait.

However, if your dog is throwing blood in the air outside of business hours, consider the appearance and amount of blood, how your dog is behaving, and whether he has known medical problems or is taking medications that may be contributing to the bleeding. “If there is really a lot of red-looking vomit, as opposed to a streak or patch, you should come in immediately,” advises Dr. Diehl. “If you see that much bleeding, go inside even if your pet seems fine. And if your dog is feeling really bad even after you’ve just seen a bit of blood, you should go inside right away. “

If you want to wait until morning, always call your veterinarian to report what you’ve seen, even if your dog seems to be feeling better. “Never just blow it off completely,” says Dr. Diehl. “Even if you no longer see the blood, call and talk to your vet about what your next step should be.”

Tell us: Have you ever dealt with your dog who is vomiting blood? What made your dog vomit blood and how did you treat it?

Thumbnail: Photograph by Kickers / iStock.

This piece was originally released in 2018.

Did you know already? Vomiting blood or coffee-like material can be a sign of gastritis in humans. Learn more >>

About the author

Pet expert Jackie Brown spent 20 years pursuing her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. She is the author of National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness: The Veterinarian’s Approach to Pet Care at Home (April 2019) and author of Raining Cats and Dogs: A Sense of Animal Phrases (Lumina Press), 2006) . Jackie is a regular contributor to the animal and veterinary media and is the past editor of numerous animal magazines including Dog World, Natural Dog, Puppies 101, Kittens 101, and the Popular Cats Series. Before Jackie began her career in publishing, she worked in veterinary clinics for eight years, helping veterinarians treat dogs, cats, rabbits, pets, reptiles, birds, and a memorable baby lion. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and Toy Poodle Hunter. Contact her at

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