Blood in Dog Vomit: Why Is There Blood in My Dog’s Puke?

Vomiting is a mechanism of purging things the stomach is not happy with.

With most dogs, their stomachs get plenty of reason to complain. Therefore, in general, when my dog throws up once, I don’t panic.

Profuse or consistent vomiting is a problem in itself. However, the problem grew tremendously if you found blood in your dog’s vomit.

Further reading: Severe Vomiting in Dogs: What Happens in a Dog’s Body with Severe Vomiting?

Blood in Dog Vomit: Why Is There Blood in My Dog's Puke?

Finding blood in your dog’s vomit

Blood belongs in blood vessels, nowhere else.

When talking about blood in the vomit, what you usually picture is finding what looks like blood–bright red specks, streaks, or clots in the vomit.

That is what it looks like when the bleeding is in the top part of the gastrointestinal tract, usually the esophagus or the mouth (and sometimes from the nose or lungs if it has been swallowed). Partially digested blood, such as from the stomach and further down, doesn’t look like blood at all—it is often brown or black. Your dog’s vomit would then look like it had coffee grounds in it. While that might look much less impressive, it can be the scarier scenario of the two.

Fresh versus digested blood

The appearance of the vomited blood depends on where it came from and how long it remained in the GI system.

Like fresh blood in the stool, it can result from direct damage to the lining tissues, whether from irritation, inflammation, or injury. In addition, profuse vomiting itself can do enough damage to cause bleeding.

Some direct reasons for fresh blood in vomit include:

  • trauma
  • ulcers
  • foreign objects
  • or severe enough inflammation

That makes sense, right? If that wasn’t bad enough, anything that messes with blood clotting or the ability of the body to keep blood where it belongs could do it as well.

Other potential causes include:

  • metabolic issues
  • infections, liver failure
  • kidney disease
  • parasites,
  • toxins
  • cancer, etc.

Don’t forget that is possible that for any blood you do see, there can be further bleeding you don’t see.

For me, blood in the vomit, whether fresh or digested, is a reason to see a vet right away. Even without any other apparent symptoms in the mix.

Seek veterinary attention

A problem severe enough to cause blood in vomit is a problem serious enough to require medical attention.

Even with everything else aside, severe blood loss in itself can be life-threatening. And then there is the reason why this is happening.

Before you figure that you might just wait and see, let me ask you this – would you know that your dog hasn’t eaten rat poison, hasn’t swallowed something sharp that is now poking holes in his tissues, doesn’t have liver failure, isn’t bleeding internally all over the place, or is safe from any other potential disaster that can lead to blood in vomit?

Throw in other potential signs such as lethargy, pain, severe diarrhea, and pale gums, and you have a dire emergency on your hands.

Related articles:
My Dog’s Vomiting: Why Is My Dog Throwing up?

Further reading:
Vomiting of Blood in Dogs (Hematemesis)

Categories: Blood in vomitSymptoms

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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. Always good info. I remember blood in vomit, and poo, and always called my vet. Luckily, I had such a great relationship with them, they were in my phone and accepted texts…and did house calls! Will be Pinning to share this info!

  2. This brings flash backs for me – in clinic I’ve only seen two cases of severe blood in vomit. A case of rat bait poison, liver failure and trauma. But I’ve seen blood in vomit before with severe dental disease and just chronic vomiting as well.

  3. I think that if I saw blood anywhere in vomit or faeces I would be t the vet before my dog could even blink! Now i know why I would want to do so. Education about these things is critical (and the removal of ignorance) Yes I would worry and take my dog to the vet but also knowing what could cause the issue gives me an element of reassurance when I did visit the surgery as I would be prepared for the vet’s assessments.

  4. Thank goodness Henry has only vomited twice in the four plus years I’ve had him. Both of those times was very minimal and mostly clear because we assume he drank water too fast after playing too hard. If I ever saw any signs of blood in vomit from him, I’d definitely rush him to the vet. To me that would be an emergency situation. I didn’t realize that parasites could cause blood in vomit. That was new to me. Your articles are always so informative and I always learn so much from them. Great job again! I’m sharing this article with all my pet parents.

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