Signs of Anemia in Puppies

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When the amount of red blood cells carrying oxygen to your puppy's brain, muscles and organs decreases, anemia may result. Blood loss, through flea infestation or internal parasites, is a common cause of anemia in young puppies and "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats" advises that up to one-quarter of a puppy's blood may be lost to parasite infestations. Alternately, your puppy may suffer from an underlying medical condition that causes anemia. Recognizing the symptoms of anemia in your puppy will assist you in seeking veterinarian care in a timely manner.


Perhaps the first observable signs of anemia in a puppy are lethargy and a reduced activity level. The puppy may lie around more than usual, sleep a lot and eat less. It may tire quickly when playing and exhibit weakness in its movements.


As the puppy's vital organs strain under a reduced red blood cell count, physical signs of oxygen deprivation may develop, including whitish gums and a white tongue. That may be more difficult to determine in dogs with naturally brown or black pigment in their mouths, but if lighter colored areas are present and they contain no pinkish tint, the puppy should be examined by a veterinarian.


The membrane that lines the inner portion of the eye, the conjunctiva, is bright pink in most healthy puppies, even in those with dark eyelid pigmentation. When the lower lid is pulled gently downward, the conjunctiva is easily viewed. If it appears very pale or white, the puppy may be anemic.

Additional symptoms

An anemic puppy may exhibit shallow rapid breathing and a rapid heartbeat, especially after playing or running. Because anemia varies from mild to severe, the symptoms will also vary and the puppy may appear nearly normal, with only slight symptoms, or it may appear to be very ill.

Related symptoms

Because anemia is a symptoms of an underlying disorder, observing the signs of common anemia triggers, including the presence of worms in the stools or fleas on the puppy's body, can assist in diagnosing and treating the problem.


  • The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats, by the Editors of Prevention Magazine, Amy Marder VDM, Bantam Books, 1997
  • Dog Owner's Home VETERINARY Handbook, 4th Edition, Debra M. Eldredge, DVM Liisa D. Carlson, DVM Delbert G. Carlson, DVM James M. Giffin, MD, Howell Book House Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc, 2007

About the Author

Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.

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