Canine Anemia

Anemia is a sign indicating that the dog is suffering from some health problem. There are several possible reasons why a dog may be anemic. For example, anemia in dogs can be caused by flea or worm infestations, injuries, or some more serious problems such as ulcers or even cancer. This page looks at some possible causes and symptoms of dog anemia, and some natural remedies that can encourage blood growth.

Anemia in dogs is a condition in which the dog does not have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen to different parts of his body.

Anemia is a symptom of an underlying problem. If your dog is anemic, be sure to take the dog to the vet for a thorough check-up to find out and accordingly deal with the root cause.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

When we think of anemia, many of us will connect the condition with iron deficiency.

While anemia caused by iron deficiency is common in people, this condition is rare in dogs, although it can sometimes be found in dogs with malnutrition and puppies with hookworm infestations.

Symptoms of Canine Anemia

It is not difficult to detect anemia in dogs. Here are the telltale signs:

  • The dog's gums and the insides of her eyelids are pale (or white);
  • The dog is lethargic and weak;
  • The dog is panting, has labored breathing and a fast pulse.

If anemia is caused by internal bleeding due to ulcers for example, the dog's stools are much darker - even black and tarry-looking.

If a dog has serious anemia, he may have heart murmur and rapid heart beat. If under exertion (e.g. strenuous exercise), the dog may collapse.

Causes of Anemia in Dogs

Canine Anemia In many cases, anemia in dogs is as a result of blood loss caused by any of the following:

  • Parasites, such as fleas and worms;
  • Wounds and traumas;
  • Toxic or chemical poisoning. For example, it has been found that use of "Spot-on" flea control can cause anemia (and liver damage).

Occassionally, canine anemia indicates some more serious diseases, such as:

  • Autoimmune disease (canine autoimmune hemolytic anemia - a condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys the body's red blood cells);
  • Tumors of the intestinal tract, kidneys, and urinary bladder;
  • Ulcers;
  • Some forms of cancer.

Natural Remedies for Canine Anemia

As mentioned above, canine anemia is a symptom or indication of another, usually more serious, condition. Instead of just dealing with the condition of anemia, it is important to get veterinary help so that the root cause can be properly diagnosed and dealt with.

While the underlying condition is being treated, natural remedies can be used to stimulate the growth of new red blood cells so that the strength and energy of the anemic dog can be restored.


Herbs that are rich in iron and are liver tonics (liver is important in producing blood cells as well as cleansing the blood) are effective in helping dogs with anemia.

Some herbs that fall into this category include:

  • Yellow dock (rich in iron; an effective blood cleanser);
  • Red clover (nutritive; an effective blood cleanser);
  • Burdock (nutritive; a liver tonic; an effective blood cleanser);
  • Raspberry (rich in iron and calcium).


Vitamin supplements should also be given to an anemic dog. In particular, B vitamins are essential in strengthening a dog's bone marrow, which is responsible for producing red blood cells. Supplementing an anemic dog with B vitamins (especially B12) is therefore helpful.

Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron from the intestinal tract.

An Effective Blood Building Natural Product

This formula contains ingredients such as liver powder, herbs like yellow dock, red clover, raspberry, etc., which are rich in RNA/DNA, iron and vitamin B12 - all essential for the formation of red blood cells.

Many dog parents have seen very positive results in their anemic dogs after supplementing them with this supplement. It's definitely worth a try if your dog has anemia.



A diet rich in iron, vitamin B12, and protein is essential in helping the production of red blood cells.

Suitable foods include:

  • Liver (iron, B-complex vitamins, protein);
  • Green vegetables (the chlorophyll in the veggies can help the body to produce healthier blood);
  • Kelp (iodine and trace minerals). You can sprinkle kelp powder over your dog's food daily. (Use 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon daily, depending on your dog's size.)

Homeopathic Remedies

In addition to the above natural remedies, you can also try one of these homeopathic remedies if your dog has anemia due to blood loss:

  • Phosphorus: This remedy is effective for treating bleeding and anemia. Dogs needing this remedy are thin, chilly, hungry and thirsty. You can start off by giving your dog 3 pellets (30C) three times a day for about 3 days.
  • Sulphur: If Phosphorus does not help, try this remedy especially if your anemic dog is flea- or worm-infested. Dogs needing this remedy also tend to have skin problems (dry, rough coat and flaky skin) and a poor immune system. You can give your dog 3 pellets (6X) two times a day for up to 2 weeks.

Preventing Canine Anemia

Since some parasites (e.g. intestinal worms) can cause blood loss in dogs, make sure that your dog is free from parasites!

Also keep your dog flea free. If your dog is heavily infested with fleas, chances are she will lose quite a lot of blood over time.

Some medications such as NSAIDs can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers in dogs, which may result in anemia. Use NSAIDs with care and under supervision of your vet.

If at all possible, avoid long-term use of such medication.

For example, if your dog has joint pain, try using different natural remedies to soothe the pain. By adopting a holistic approach, you may eventually be able to reduce the drug dosage. Better yet, you may find that your dog no longer needs all the drugs!