Canine Hematuria: Blood in Urine. Why Is There Blood in My Dog’s Pee?

By now, it should be your mantra–blood doesn’t belong outside the blood vessels. Urine is no exception.

There should never be any visible blood in your dog’s pee.

Canine Hematuria: Blood in Urine. Why Is There Blood in My Dog's Pee?

Frank blood

When you see blood and recognize it as such, it is referred to as frank blood. In other words, it is the blood that is fresh, bright red, and looks like blood. The longer blood spends outside the bloodstream, the darker it gets. It can turn brown, even black.

All your dog’s blood passes through the kidneys. That’s where waste and excess fluid get filtered out. Then, the filtered blood goes back into the bloodstream while the waste, in the form of urine, is eliminated. When everything is functioning normally, the kidneys are designed in such a way, so that blood cells don’t make it through.

How does fresh blood get in the urine?

The two major scenarios that can result in blood in the urine are diseases that lead to damage of tissues in the urinary tract or conditions that cause abnormal bleeding.

Any condition that messes with normal clotting can result in bleeding anywhere in the body, including the urinary tract.

The potential reasons behind abnormal clotting are toxicity, infections, or auto-immune disease. In addition, inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) can cause blood vessels to be unable to contain the circulating blood.

Potential causes of blood in urine

The most common cause is blood leaking into the urinary tract due to tissue damage.

Number one suspects are a urinary tract infection (UTI) or urinary tract stones. The damage from urinary tract stones seems self-explanatory. But how does an infection cause bleeding? The presence of bacteria triggers an immune response that triggers inflammation, allowing blood to leak from vessels.

Trauma, inflammation caused by things other than infection, or cancer too can cause bleeding into the urinary tract. This is not a complete list of potential causes. But it illustrates the importance of recognizing that blood in your dog’s urine is a serious symptom.

Summary of causes of hematuria in dogs

The complete list of potential problems that can lead to blood in your dog’s urine include:

  • urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • urinary tract stones
  • kidney disease/failure
  • poisoning
  • prostate issues in male dogs
  • heat in female dogs
  • recent surgery
  • trauma
  • cancer
  • clotting disorders

Further reading: Blood In Your Dog’s Urine? Here’s What To Do

Other symptoms

The most likely other changes you might notice include increased frequency of urination (not increased volume) and straining.

Depending on the cause, other accompanying signs you may notice include:

  • urinary accidents
  • increased thirst
  • cloudy urine
  • licking of the genitals
  • restlessness
  • lethargy
  • weakness
  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • changes in stools
  • pale gums
  • bad breath
  • and more

Related articles:
What’s In The Urine?

Further reading:
Blood in the Urine in Dogs
Blood In Your Dog’s Urine? Here’s What To Do

Categories: Blood in urineSymptoms

Tags: :

Jana Rade edited by Dr. Joanna Paul BSc BVSc

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience. Dr. Joanna Paul BSc BVSc is our wonderful sponsor and has been kind to edit and fact-check my important articles.

  1. I love how thorough you were with the possible causes of blood in the urine. I feel like most people only think of urinary conditions. But sometimes it’s actually not the primary issue, and dog will not even show signs of straining to urinate. I know in our veterinary clinic we saw a dog for an orthopedic concern (hind limb lameness), but actually ended up finding blood on the floor of the exam room. A few diagnostics later – we found a large prostate mass!

  2. Always important info Jada. I’ll be sharing this over on my Pinterest board. I am familiar with UTIs with my one girl as she aged. So important to keep an eye on these things.

  3. I appreciate your list of causes and symptoms. People hate wading through words and more words to find what might be causing their dog’s issue. Lists are the best, you check, you see what might be wrong, and you head to the vet.

  4. This is great information about blood in urine. It reminded me of one of my favorite horses. I got a call at work that he was sick. I suspected colic and raced home while the mobile vet was called. When I got there he was pacing. Then he looked at me and peed, which was all blood. He gently laid down and was gone.

    A few years prior to that he had a HUGE calcified stone in his poop about the size of a softball. He was sick for about 10 days prior to that softball appearing. A very scary 10 days! After that he’d pop out little quarter sized calcified stones in his poop every so often. The vet carried the softball stone around as show and tell for years. She was always perplexed how Hank got such stones because they don’t happen with Nevada horses and he was a native Nevada horse. Apparently, they are common with California horses.

    This article really made me think of my Hank and how he much have suffered more than we even knew. We ran every test available at the time. Apparently, he waited to see me before going. Such a sweet boy.

    I’m so glad to know what to look and what could be the cause of blood in the urine. I’m sharing this with all my pet parents.

  5. This is such important information! Anytime we see something concerning like blood in our dog’s urine, it can lead to panic and concern. But, recognizing what it COULD mean and how to proceed can make a significant difference in how quickly your dog is able to get the help it needs. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. Very informative. My dogs have had UTIs before, but never blood in their urine, at least that I could see. I do make sure to look at their urine when they go, just in case. This is a good reminder that it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s…output…for signs of anything abnormal.

Share your thoughts