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How to Raise my Dog's Low Platelet Count

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: March 26, 2018
How to Raise my Dog's Low Platelet Count

Platelets play an important part in the blood clotting process. These cell fragments ensure that our blood is thick enough to circulate around our body, as well as produce clots effectively to prevent us from bleeding, when we suffer a wound or injury. Thrombocytopenia is the medical term used for low platelets, a condition that affects both humans and dogs and can endanger health.

If your dog has low platelets they run the risk of suffering from hemorrhages, meaning there is a risk they may bleed out from the smallest of injuries. Detecting the cause of this condition and giving them the appropriate treatment is essential to keep them healthy. Keep reading this OneHowTo article as we explain how to raise your dog's platelets and help their recovery.

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  1. Signs and symptoms of a low platelet count
  2. Why does my dog have low platelets?
  3. How to raise my dog's low platelet count

Signs and symptoms of a low platelet count

Low platelets are not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition. Finding out what causes this decline in platelet level is essential to look after your dog's health and give them the necessary treatment.

Some of the warning signs that tell us when our dog is not well and may have problems with their platelets are:

  • Apathy: the dog does not play and has no appetite.
  • Fever.
  • Dark red spots in their eyes and/or gums.
  • Bruises on their skin.
  • Blood in the urine, faeces or nose bleeds.
  • Difficulty walking or collapsing

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, please seek veterinary care immediately.

How to Raise my Dog's Low Platelet Count - Signs and symptoms of a low platelet count

Why does my dog have low platelets?

Many pet owners find that their animal is listless, lethargic and weak, and for that reason they take them to the vet. If a blood test confirms that your dog has low platelets, remember that this is not a diagnosis but a symptom caused by a certain health condition. Finding out what condition causes low platelets is the key to offer your dog the best treatment.

The most common causes of low platelets in dogs are:

  • Infections that destroy platelets in the body: Canine ehrlichiosis, a tick-borne disease, is one of the most common
  • Injuries that cause significant blood loss
  • Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia: The dog's body produces antibodies against its own platelets, destroying them
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukaemia
  • Anemia
How to Raise my Dog's Low Platelet Count - Why does my dog have low platelets?

How to raise my dog's low platelet count

The first and most important step is getting a veterinary diagnostic that will tell us what is causing the drop in platelets and what the appropriate treatment is to counteract this condition. When it comes to infections such as a tick-borne disease, treating this condition will allow the dog to recover and raise their platelets.

To raise platelets the vet may choose to:

  • Perform a platelet transfusion or a blood transfusion
  • Administer corticosteroids to prevent the immune system from destroying platelets
  • Prescribe iron supplements that help stimulate platelet production
  • Oral or intravenous medication appropriate to their condition

In addition to strictly following the recommendations of the specialist and administering the medication that your dog needs, you can follow some other recommendations at home to help your pet.

How to raise my dog's platelets at home:

  • Keep your dog properly hydrated with a bowl of fresh water and change it twice a day. This is very important to help combat dehydration caused by fever. If your dog does not drink the water, give them ice cubes to help them drink.
  • Chicken soup is one of the most common foods used to raise platelets in humans and it also works on dogs. It is recommended to prepare a broth with bone-in chicken, carrot and potato, letting it cook for at least 1 hour. Then you can blend until you have an even creamy consistency or strain the solid ingredients and leave only the broth. Both forms are ideal to feed your dog while they are recuperating. Do not use garlic, onion or any other foods dogs can't eat in the recipe.
  • Foods rich in iron are also recommended to raise platelets, so you can give your pet chicken liver or veal, which are rich in this mineral, boosting their level of nutrition and improvement.
  • Chicken cooked without salt or condiments and shredded can also improve your pet's health and help their recovery.
  • Give them natural coconut water, which helps to increase platelets due to its content of vitamin A, C, iron, potassium and calcium. This drink is also suitable for dogs, so you can safely give it to them.
  • It is also recommended to keep your dog at home for a few days. Let them rest and avoid contact with other animals as the spread of ticks or any playing could further injure the animal and worsen their condition.
How to Raise my Dog's Low Platelet Count - How to raise my dog's low platelet count

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What did you think of this article?
Very beneficial article. I My 3 y/o whippet has autoimmune disease. As to high risk for it, I understand she fits neither breed nor age. When diagnosed she was merely in for toenail trim. I was fortunately asked if I had any concerns. Seeming so unlikely a health issue I almost didn’t mention that, normally an enthusiastic eater, she began to stop eating part way through and come stand by me. If I walked over and just silently stood by her bowl she would resume eating but stop and follow/stand by me if I again waked away, over and over throughout both daily meals. They checked her mouth, saw petechiae ran CBC found she had zero platelets. She has been on steroids and immune suppressant. Slowly reducing steroids to low current level went well so far but after first week reduction of immune suppressant she began the bizarre eating ritual again and her platelets were already down by half. Never ignore any new behavior, no matter how odd, that you can’t pinpoint.
OneHowTo Editor
Thank you for sharing this, Diane! It is so true, even small changes shouldn't be ignored. If you take them for a checkup and there is nothing wrong, it's always better than the alternative.
Penelope Davis
Thank you for all of these tips and recipes! I just found out that my dog has low platelets. The vet has ruled out a tick infection (using antibiotics) and is now giving him steroids as he believes it is an autoimmune issue. If anyone has additional tips, or has a similar issue, I would love to know how you are handling it.
Thanks for this article. Our dog gets monthly blood tests since the start of cytopoint injections for itching. His platelet count has been ok, until recently. The count was 11, I found this article and immediately pressure cooked chicken thighs with carrots and potatoes in water. He wouldn't drink the coconut water, so I mixed it in with his food when I fed him. He had a blood draw again the next day after feeding him this for two meals, and his platelets were up to 23. He is now on steroids to get him up to normal. Scans were normal, they are now running a tick test. At least I was able to get his counts up double before the medications could be started.
Billy and Linda Burgin
In June I thought I saw blood in my dog's urine, The vet ran blood tests and said the was fine.
Now, 8th of November, her gums started bleeding, the awful purple bruises on her belly, and the vet said her platelets were zero. ZERO! How does this happen so fast?
Is turkey the same as chicken? Is organic no added salt chicken broth OK?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Pat
Yes, organic chicken broth is OK. And we always recommend unsalted foods for dogs.
Julie Allen
How much coconut water per day to help. Just diagnosed and on steroids, but planning to add this and probiotic to the mix also. Thank you.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Julie,

You should introduce coconut water slowly and see how your dog likes it. A few ounces at a time should work. However, bear in mind this should only be used to raise platelets. After they are feeling better, the negatives of the coconut water (e.g. high in carbs, especially sugars) will outweigh the benefits. It should only be used as a temporary supplement, not as a continued daily portion. Hope this helps!
I’m going thru the process of blood panels and tick borne testing as of today. And the medications she’s on in her case has dramatically fatigued her. She’s panting and we found a a half dollar sized welt that turned out to be a bruise. She also has bruises in her mouth and right leg is very weak. Looking at this list you wrote to put various vegetables and all in agree but I thought onion is a huge no no? Please explain...
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Jef,

Thank you for pointing out this error. Onion in the amounts put into the soup would probably not do much harm. However, it is never advisable to give it to dogs in any form, so we have amended the article accordingly.
My dog was just diagnosed with Anemia this article gave me ideas of what to feed him, Thank You ♥️
OneHowTo Editor
Glad it could help Nancy!
Thank you for this article! Very helpful and information I haven't heard elsewhere.
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How to Raise my Dog's Low Platelet Count