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5 Important Signs That Your Dog May Be Anemic

Just like people, dogs can become anemic. Anemia is the loss or reduction of red blood cells whose job is to carry oxygen through your dog's (and our) bodies. We often think of anemia as a disease, but anemia can be a result of many other factors such as:

1. Blood loss from trauma or injury; internal or external bleeding

2. An autoimmune disease

3. Inflammation

4. Medications

5. Ingestion of a toxic substance, such as rat poison

6. Certain tick-related diseases

5 signs that your dog may be anemic

1. Loss of appetite. Not eating or sudden weight loss could be your first clue that something’s not right.

2. Listlessness. Most dogs are standing by the door when it's time for their daily walk. Take note if your pup is sleeping more than usual, appears lethargic or is avoiding exercise.

3. Bruising. Check for discoloration or bruises on the skin.

4. Dark Stools. If you notice dark blood in his stool, or even his vomit, it’s important to get him to the vet immediately.

5. Pale pink or white gums. If you see a change from normally healthy pink gums into pale-looking tissue, it could be anemia.

What to do if your dog is anemic

If your dog displays any of these worrisome symptoms, the first thing to do is to make a trip to the vet. The doctor will administer a simple blood test to determine what could be causing the anemia, check your dog for parasites, give a urine test and evaluate her kidneys, liver and pancreas.

To prevent anemia, it’s important to keep your dog free of fleas and ticks, make sure toxins (like rat poison, human prescription drugs and painkillers, and human foods that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate), are well out of reach. And be sure to keep a regular schedule of yearly checkups with your vet.