Dog Bleeding


"Dog bleeding and how to treat it depends on the area of your dog, the underlying cause and the size of the wound. In all cases apply pressure to the wound and consult with a veterinarian. Only the smallest surface wounds can be treated at home by applying pressure and then irrigating the wound."


When you see your dog bleeding, it's easy to panic, but it's important for you to stay calm. Certain parts of your dog's anatomy will bleed easily and more heavily than others - for instance, the feet will bleed heavily because there are so many blood vessels there, and the ears will bleed heavily because the skin over the ears is so thin.

It is important to be prepared to apply first aid for dog bleeding if necessary. The type of first aid depends on the location and extent of the bleeding.

You may need to restrain your dog in order to apply first aid. To safely restrain your dog, put a leash around his neck, then put the leash around a stationary object. Pull your dog against that object and tie the leash so that your dog can't move his head.

For dog bleeding on any part of the body, apply pressure with a gauze dressing or clean towel. If bleeding soaks through the dressing, don't remove it; just put another dressing on top. If bleeding does not stop in five minutes, continue to apply pressure and take your dog to the vet. Apply pressure for 5 to 10 minutes. If you see any swelling in the limbs lessen the pressure. Transport your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

DO NOT put hydrogen peroxide on a wound as it might start the bleeding again. Also, do not wipe a wound that is stopped bleeding.

Dog Bleeding
Dog bleeding from eye wound
Source: Washington State University

Stop Dog Bleeding - Wound Care

There are several steps to treating a bleeding wound:

  1. Stop the Bleeding - If your dog is bleeding from a simple scratch or a wound that is under 1/2 inch in length, apply pressure using a sterile lint free bandage, gauze squares if you a clean cloth if that is all you have.

  2. Clean the Wound - The wound should be flushed with either isotonic saline, Chlorhexidine diacetate 0.05%, Nolvasan, or Betadine 10% solution (not as effective against all bacteria). If it looks like the wound will not close or the skin that is closing the wound looks pale or wrong, then you should take your dog to a veterinarian for stitches. Small wounds can be helped with a topical cream such as Furacin, Silvadene or antibiotic such as bacitracin, neomycin and polymyxin B (triple antibiotic). These can be placed on the wound or can be put on the gauze first and then placed on the wound. Do not use hydrogen peroxide as this will keep the blood from clotting in the wound. 

  3. Wound Irrigation - After using Nolvasan or Betadine, you need to flush the wound with water (your can add a drop of Betadine or Nolvasan). The wound should be "lavaged" or rinsed using a Bulb Syringe, water pik, large syringe, kitchen sprayer or controlled stream from a hose. The goal is to clean dirt out vs. forcing it in.

  4. Protect the wound if needed - If treating at home, bandages should be used to protect the wound area. Bandages should be wrapped around your dogs body and then taped from the end of the bandage to the rest of the bandage to keep it closed. Initially a "wet to dry" bandage (a bandage with a layer of saline soaked bandage) should be used. Once healing commences switch to a dry to dray bandage. The bandage should be changed 1x per day. Not all areas are easy to bandage. Use a bandage or Shirt if your dog is licking the wound.

For minor scratches some owners like to apply an ointment made from natural substances to promote natural healing after the application of antibiotics. Pet Alive Wound Dr. is all natural and made specifically to help heal dog wounds.

Types of Dog Wounds

Dog Paw Bleeding

Injuries to the paw are often caused by glass, thorns, and other sharp objects. If necessary, clip the hair around the injured area so you can see it better. If you see any foreign objects, try to remove them with your fingers or with tweezers. If the tissue below the wound appears to pass by when you move the skin, it probably needs stitches.

Flush the wound with water and apply a clean dressing. If the bleeding doesn't stop in five minutes or if you think the wound may need stitches, take your dog to the vet.

Dog Bleeding - Mouth

A dog bleeding from the mouth may mean that there is a severe wound. Take your dog to an emergency veterinary care center.

Dog Bleeding from Rear or Dog Anal Bleeding

Dog anal bleeding can be caused from a minor scratch or from something more serious such as parvovirus. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

Dog Pregnant but Bleeding

Bleeding from the vulva could mean a miscarriage or gynecological infection.

Female Dog Bleeding

A female dog that is bleeding and who is not in heat may be suffering from a gynecological infection called Pyometra. This condition involves an infection in the womb resulting in green or red thick discharge. This is a serious problem that may require surgery to save your dog's life and in severe cases removal of the ovaries and the womb.

If the blood is thin then it could be an Ovarian Cyst. Treatment involves hormone therapy or a hysterectomy.

Dog Ears Bleeding

If your dog has an itchy ear, it may result in scratching. Too much scratching will cause bleeding in the area between the skin and the cartilage of the ear flap (called a aural hematoma). The ear flap itself would be painful, warm to the touch and swollen.

It is not known what causes aural hematomas. Treatment involves surgery to remove the blood clot causing the condition. While surgery is not needed in all cases, most cases require this course of treatment. If you do not do the surgery the irritation may not go away.

Dog Bleeding from Penis

Dog bleeding from the penis can be due to a bladder infection or prostate problem. Injuries to the penis such as if your dog was in a fight with another dog could also be the cause. Given the need for treatment see your veterinarian immediately.

Bleeding Chest or Abdomen

If there is an injury to the chest and you can hear a "sucking" sound, bandage the wound tightly enough to prevent air from entering and take your dog to the vet immediately.

If you see the wound and it is smaller than 1/2 inch, then apply pressure and see if the bleeding stops. If it doesn't then a stitch might be needed. Wrap a crepe bandage around your dog's body and then hold in place with tape on the bandage surface only.

If there is a protruding object, like an arrow, do NOT try to remove it. Instead, put gauze dressings or clean towels around the entry point and tape them in place. Take your dog to the vet immediately.

Otherwise, treat as you would any other dog bleeding. Apply pressure and if the wound does not stop bleeding in five minutes or if you think it may need stitches, take your dog to the vet.

Dog Blood in Urine

Dog health - blood in urine can be due to multiple causes including infection, internal bleeding, bladder or kidney stones, problems with the urethra (tube that connects bladder to the outside of the body), tumor or from unknown causes.

Your veterinarian will look for an infection or stones first, which are the most likely causes.

Dog Blood in Stool

Dog blood in stool is usually caused by parasites (hookworm, whipworm) or from some type of gastrointestinal problem such as a food intolerance or if your dog ingested a foreign object. Treatment involves removing the underlying cause and possibly dietary change. In rare cases the condition can be caused by a tumor.

If blood in on the stool (vs. mixed into the stool) then the issue is usually caused by some type of problem that is localized to the anus such as an obstruction or from your dog straining to defecate.

Dog Blood Information

Dog Blood Type

There are 12 dog blood types. Dog blood is different than human blood in that it doesn't naturally have antibodies. Without antibodies most dogs have compatible blood. After the first transfusion this changes and only specific types of blood can be transfused to what is called "cross matched" dogs. Blood comes from either dogs owned by your veterinarian or from donor pets.

Dog Blood Pressure

Your veterinarian may check your dog's blood pressure dog's blood pressure as part of an examination for bleeding. Pressure is either taken with a cuff on the leg or with a stethoscope like device. Taking accurate readings is a challenge. Even when you have an accurate reading, their are no established norms by breed for what is normal. High readings where levels are over 160 (systolic) and over 100 (diastolic) are cause for concern and warrant further examination for the causes of high blood pressure.

Dog Blood Transfusion

Canine blood transfusion is necessary in cases of anemia (low red blood cell count), hemorrhage (bleeding), surgery, or other dog blood disorders. Depending on the problem, canine blood will be transfused as whole blood or with just part of the blood such as plasma or platelets.


Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
G. Ter Haar, DVM, DECVS

Department of Clinical Sciences of Companion Animals
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
PO Box 80 154, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands

Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook
Eldridge, Debra M. DVM
Liisa D., Carlson, DVM
Delbert G. Carlson, DVM
James M. Giffin, MD