When you own a dog, at some point, you are likely going to have to deal with doggy diarrhea. While in some cases this is simply a matter of your pup eating something he shouldn't have eaten, it can also be a symptom of something much more serious. In particular, black poo in dogs is a sign of a serious problem in your dog's gastrointestinal tract and needs veterinary attention.
Black diarrhea in dogs
A dog's normal poop should be brown in color. Black poo in dogs is typically caused by blood in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. This is called melena. By the time the red blood passes through your dog's system and is excreted, it is black in color.
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There are many things that may cause bleeding in your dog's digestive tract, and some of these conditions are life-threatening. If your dog has black diarrhea, take him to the vet right away.
Causes of black diarrhea
There are many conditions that may cause your dog to have bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of these include gastrointestinal ulcers, internal bleeding from trauma or recent surgery, ingestion of toxic substances, or intestinal parasites. It may also be a reaction to a medication. Never give your dog human medication without instructions from a veterinarian and contact your vet right away about any side effects.
Several diseases may also cause blood in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of these include anemia, liver or pancreatic disease, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, blood clotting disorders, and some metabolic disorders. Tumors or foreign bodies in the stomach or small intestine may also be to blame.
Other potential causes
In some cases, black diarrhea is not caused by an internal problem or disease. If your dog ingests blood from licking a bleeding wound, this can cause black diarrhea. In this case, you will likely be aware of the trauma but be sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure the injury doesn't require stitches or other treatment.
Another potential cause is activated charcoal. If your dog ingests something toxic, your veterinarian may give your pup charcoal to neutralize the toxin. As the charcoal passes through your dog's system, it can cause black stools. Fortunately, you will know that your dog has received this treatment and can expect that side effect.
Veterinary diagnosis for black diarrhea
Black poo in dogs always requires a trip to the vet. There are some symptoms for which to watch, such as vomiting, pale gums, petechia, lethargy, and weight loss, which increases the urgency for seeking treatment.
Be thorough when sharing your dog's medical history and be sure to include anything she may have eaten, any recent injuries, and her current medications. Your vet will perform a physical exam and additional testing as needed. Some tests your vet may recommend include a stool sample, blood tests, X-rays, and an endoscopy.
Treatment options and considerations
The cause of black diarrhea will determine the treatment for your dog. Surgery may be necessary to remove any foreign objects or tumors. Medication can help to manage underlying conditions, like anemia, and a dewormer will remove parasites from the intestines. Other potential treatments include corticosteroids, electrolyte therapy, and antibiotics.
There are a few things that may help regardless of the cause of black diarrhea. Withhold food for 24 hours and then reintroduce a bland diet. Probiotics can also be helpful to restore a healthy digestive tract.