Dog Bruise On Belly: Is It A Bad Health Condition Sign?

A weird dark discoloration suddenly appears on your dog’s belly while you are petting him. As a pet parent, you will surely panic and be clueless.

It was exactly my feelings when I saw a bruise on my lovely pet child.

There are different reasons that can cause your dog to bruise, which should not be neglected.

So why do dogs bruise? How to diagnose, and what is the proper course of action upon detecting a dog bruise on belly?

Keep reading to find answers to your concerns.

Is Dog Bruise On Belly A Normal Sign?

dog bruise on belly

Bruising on dog belly can be a symptom of several unusual health conditions, some of which are quite serious.

For example, trauma, bleeding disorders, vasculitis, cancer, thrombocytopenia, or rodenticide poisoning.

What Is It?

Bruises on dogs, basically, are injuries under the skin where the blood vessels rupture and bleed.

It is the reason why you tend to see the discoloration in purple or blue from the underlying hemorrhage that we usually call “bruising”.

What Do Dog Bruises Look Like?

Bruising in dogs can appear in different shapes and sizes, depending on its location and the underlying cause.

Normally, they are divided into two main types: Petechiae and Ecchymoses.

The former are pinpoint hemorrhages that look like small red/purple dots. Meanwhile, the other refers to larger bruising with purplish blotches.

Not only the soft underside of a dog’s belly, bruises can be found anywhere on the canine body.

Other places where dogs commonly bruise are gums, thigh regions, ears, or even the white of their eyes.

Common Causes Of Bruising In Dogs

Similar to dogs’ belly turning black in the summer, various conditions or diseases can result in bleeding under the skin in dogs, including the bruise on dog belly.

Here are the most common causes of subcutaneous hemorrhage:

  • Trauma: Obviously, it is the most potential reason you can think about, regarding bruising in dogs. Although dogs are protected by their thick coats, significant bumps or severe accidents can still leave bruising injuries.
  • Bleeding Disorders: or clotting disorders, is another possible culprit of subcutaneous bleeding in dogs, classified into two main types – acquired and congenital. The acquired disorder might happen in a pooch as a result of liver or kidney failure. Meanwhile, inherited disorders, for example, Von Willebrand Disease and Hemophilia A & B, are present from canine birth. Certain breeds such as German shepherds, Doberman pinschers, Shetland sheepdogs, or Scottish Terriers bear a higher risk.
  • Cancer: Sometimes, bleeding under the skin may be a clinical sign of lymphoma and leukemia, which lead to abnormal cell proliferation and destroy platelets. These cancers are not rare diseases in pups. In addition to bruises, they might experience inflamed lymph nodes, lethargy, appetite loss, and weakness.
  • Thrombocytopenia: There is a chance that your furry friend gets bruises due to thrombocytopenia in dogs – an autoimmune disorder where the function of blood platelets is impaired. One concern is that thrombocytopenia is just the secondary effect of dogs’ immune reaction to initial issues such as tick-borne diseases, infectious agents, cancer, certain medications, or toxins.
  • Vasculitis: Similar to thrombocytopenia, vasculitis results from infection, autoimmune disease, drug reactions, food hypersensitivity, tick-borne disease, or insect bites/stings. In these cases, a dog’s blood vessels might be inflamed and ruptured, leading to the appearance of bruising on dog’s belly.
  • Poisoning: I witnessed some cases where canines have symptoms of excessive bleeding and bruises because of rat poisons. Toxic substances called anticoagulants in rodenticides cause a medical emergency of subcutaneous bleeding from any body openings, ending in fatal death if not promptly treated.

How To Diagnose Bruises In Dogs

bruising on dog belly

Canine bruises are no joke, as they likely indicate severe health issues. Hence, the prompt diagnosis will contribute most to the later remedy.

For Pet Owners

Dog owners can make their initial assessment if in doubt about bruising in their pets. Here are some symptoms of canine bruises that you should pay attention to:

  • Obvious breathing difficulty or rapid breathing, especially without heavy activities
  • Blood/red hue in the back of eyes
  • Abnormally high heart rate
  • Non-stop bleeding
  • Uncontrollable nosebleeds
  • Black spots in waste products
  • Growling when being moved

My pro tip that I usually use to check my dog’s bruising is to press the fingertip gently into the discolored area and observe how the color fades.

The underlying cause can also be revealed based on the location of the bruising sometimes.

For instance, bruising on dogs’ belly or larger bruises on the underside area might be a clue of vasculitis or a systemic disease.

Or a bruise on the pinnae (ear flaps) plus constant itchy ears at night tend to indicate ear hematoma.

Lastly, your reports of any physical trauma, toxin ingestion, medicinal intakes, parental history, or congenital disorders related to your pet will help vets to narrow down the range of suspects and pinpoint the root more easily.

For Veterinarians

Clinical diagnosis often depends on a dog’s medical history and physical examination.

A thorough physical examination will be performed based on the medical history the pet owner provides and the onset of the dog’s symptoms.

At this stage, a vet will likely take an array of diagnostic testing on a dog with bruising, as follows:

  • Blood sampling
  • Complete blood count – CBC, which measures the indexes of red and white blood cells, platelet count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and mean corpuscular volume – MCV. This will reveal the presence of lymphoma or thrombocytopenia.
  • Clotting testing (PT/PTT) and Buccal mucosal bleeding time (BMBT) – the two main tests of dog’s blood clotting ability, used for determination of Von Willebrand’s disease or acquired protein clotting disorder.
  • Urine testing for detection of any blood and elevated proteins in the dog’s urine. The condition of immune-mediated thrombocytopenia or lymphoma can be pinpointed through a urinalysis.
  • Chest and abdomen X-rays for any sign of foreign material, cancer, or liver disease.
  • Abdominal ultrasound to scan for the chance of cancer and/or any systemic issue like kidney/liver failure.
  • Tests of infectious disease to check whether bacteria, fungi, or ticks exist.
  • Bone marrow aspirates/biopsies to test if there are toxicity, cancerous or immune-mediated processes.

Guide of First-Aid For Bruise On Dog’s Belly

do dogs bruise

How to treat bruises depends entirely on the root cause of the bruising your pet is experiencing, which is determined after expert diagnosis.

Your improper responses to bruising can, to some extent, distort the quality of diagnosis and treatment accordingly.

Below is the suggested approach when you detect a sign of a dog bruise on stomach.

Step 1: Check Your Pet

Once observing an unexplained bruising on your dog’s belly, immediately scan from its head to its toes for detection of any other bruises or open wounds on its body.

Remember to brush back your dog’s hair and look carefully because its thick coat can cover the skin and hinder you from spotting bruises.

Step 2: Cold Compress

If you see swelling and red bruises, they are newly developing. In this case, cooling can help to slow down or cease the internal bleeding and reduce inflammation.

Use a silicone cold water bag or easily wrap some ice cubes inside a clean towel.

Then gently place the cold pack on the affected areas for 5-10 mins depending on your dog’s reaction.

Do not press hard on the bruises to avoid causing more discomfort to your pet. Some dogs can even suddenly bite as a natural defense when in pain, be careful!

Step 3: Monitor The Bruise

After cold compress, confinement and rest are essential to prevent further bruising and bleeding.

If your dog expresses no severe pain or physical abnormalities, you can monitor it at home for a few days.

Meanwhile, keep a constant eye on bruises and recall your dog’s recent activities, food and drug intake, etc., to make a list of potential suspects.

Step 4: Contact Your Vet

Reach out to your regular vet for consultation on further medical care.

If any one sign, including fever, appetite loss, lethargy, or difficulty breathing, happens to your pet, you’d better bring him to the vet without delay.

Final Thoughts

A dog bruise on belly must be highly suspect as it’s not common in most cases.

In some cases, dogs can recover from mild bruises after one to a couple of weeks. However, the sooner the issue is identified and treated, the better chance of recovery.

Treatment of dog bruises, for example, blood transfusions, plasma transfusions, steroids, Vitamin K1 therapy, symptomatic supportive care, etc., will vary by each underlying cause, according to thorough medical examination by vets.


Photo of author
Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

Leave a Comment