Effective First Aid When Your Dog Has a Bloody Nose

Updated on July 30, 2019
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Apply ice packs to the side of your dogs nose to stop the bleeding.
Apply ice packs to the side of your dogs nose to stop the bleeding. | Source

If your dog has a bloody nose, use the first aid described below to stop it immediately. Get your dog into the vet right away to find out what is causing it and prevent it happening again to your already weakened dog.

Make sure you know the normal color of your dogs gums before a problem happens.
Make sure you know the normal color of your dogs gums before a problem happens. | Source

First Aid for a Dog With a Bloody Nose

  1. Keep calm. If you are stressed out and yelling or crying, your dog is going to be jumping around, upset, and the bleeding will be that much more severe.
  2. Go to your refrigerator and take out an ice pack. (Even though gel packs are not part of your first aid kit, these are cheap and you should keep a few in your refrigirator.) Find a hand towel or dishcloth. If you do not have an ice pack available, or if you have a small dog, take some ice cubes and wrap them in the hand towel.
  3. Sit down on the floor with your dog, put his head on your lap, and calm him down. (If he bleeds on your clothes, do not worry about it. The blood will come out later, before you wash, with hydrogen peroxide.) Lift his gums up casually and check his color.
  4. Hold his head up and wrap the towel (with ice pack or ice cubes) on the bridge of his nose. The ice should not go directly on his skin, and the towel definitely should not be covering up his nose! It is hard enough for him to breathe with blood in his nose. Do not make it any worse.
  5. Check the capillary refill time (CRT), and watch to see if the bleeding slows or stops. To check his CRT, apply pressure on his mucus membranes for about five seconds and see if the blood goes back to the pale spot. If it does not, or goes back only slowly, he has lost a lot of blood.
  6. If the bleeding will not stop with external cooling/internal clotting, you can try and pack the bleeding nostril or nostrils with cotton. Some dogs will allow this, some will whip their head around and start pawing at their face, making things even worse. Also remember that he will have to breathe through his mouth, so let him pant if he wants to.
  7. If you have an emergency veterinarian available, go ahead and take your dog there. Although you do not need to bother calling for an appointment, you should call to let them know you are on the way. At the emergency clinic, your dog may need fluids, platelets, or even a transfusion.
  8. If you do not have a veterinarian available, keep him as calm as possible. If a clot forms in the nose, it will temporarily stop the bleeding. Get him to your vet as soon as possible; in the meantime you should have activated charcoal in your first aid kit, and, just in case your dog has been exposed to rat poison, you can give him activated charcoal at a dose of 5 grams per 4 kg (about 10 pounds) of body weight . (If your dog has an infection, a foreign body, or any of the other causes of a nose bleed, this will not help. If the blood has clotted and the dog thrashes around when you try to give the activated charcoal, just stop.)

Now that you have things under control, how about finding out what caused the bout of epistaxis (bloody nose)?

An ice pack is inexpensive and should always be kept on hand ready to use.
An ice pack is inexpensive and should always be kept on hand ready to use. | Source

Causes of a Bloody Nose in your Dog

Very Young Dog
Adult Dog
Senior Dog
Any Age
Inherited bleeding disease
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Ehrlichia (ticks)
Trauma (hit by car, dog fight, etc)
Fungal infection
Kidney or liver failure
Rat poison
Autoimmune disease
Rotten tooth
Fungal infection
Foreign body (foxtail, etc)
Medication (Aspirin, etc)
Check the mucus membrane of your dog after the bleeding has stopped; remember to always know what is normal for your dog.
Check the mucus membrane of your dog after the bleeding has stopped; remember to always know what is normal for your dog. | Source

Finding out What Is Wrong with Your Dog

Some cases are obvious—I examined a dog that ran through a sliding glass door. After repairing the trauma to the nose, the bleeding stopped. Sometimes things are hard to determine, so after your dog has been examined, the lab tests that might be necessary to determine why your dog has a bloody nose are:

  • If there is not an obvious cause (like trauma, a tumor, or a foreign body), the veterinarian may take blood for a CBC (for diseases spread by ticks, some types of hemophilia, and some types of infection) and chemistry (to check for kidney failure and to check the liver).
  • A coagulation profile might need to be done, especially for young purebred Dobermans, Airedales, Scotties, German Shepherd Dogs, and some other breeds.
  • Bacterial or fungal testing if an infection is suspected.
  • An older dog might also need chest x-rays to find out if his cancer has spread to his lungs.
  • An x-ray of the head might show a tumor or trauma that you did not know about and the vet could not see.
  • A test for lupus may need to be done if other symptoms fit.

AQ bloody nose might be a life threatening condition, so find out immediately so your dog can be back playing at the beach.
AQ bloody nose might be a life threatening condition, so find out immediately so your dog can be back playing at the beach. | Source

Will My Dog Get Better?

Treatment, and your dog´s chances of getting better after the incident, really depends on what caused it in the first place. Some dogs will get well as soon as the NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin) are stopped and the primary problem is taken care of. Rat poisoning, an infection, and even a rotten tooth are a lot easier to take care of than a cancer, especially if it has already spread.

Take the time to diagnose the problem. It may not be easy, or cheap, to find out what is wrong, but the results are often worth it.

This time your dog might be fine—the next time your dog may not live through the nose bleed.

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • My dog hit his nose on a brick and started bleeding by 2:00 am and there’s no vet doctor that I can call; what can I do to make it stop until tomorrow?

    Use the ice packs as described in the article. If you do not have ice packs available you can also use ice wrapped up in a washcloth, or even a bag of frozen vegetables like peas or corn.

  • My dog just got hit by a car and her nose is bleeding. We put some ice on it, and it seems to be working. We are worried about her. What can you suggest?

    I have an article here on how to use ice packs to stop bleeding: https://hubpages.com/dogs/epistaxis-canine-causes-...

    If your dog is still bleeding and getting pale gums, he will need additional care so please consult your local vet.

  • My dog ran full speed into my shin and her nose (I think, though it could’ve been her lip) started bleeding. She licked it and had some water and it stopped immediately. She’s acting normally, but should I be concerned?

    It is most likely just mild trauma to the soft tissue in the nose. If your dog is now breathing okay and there is no further bleeding there is nothing to be concerned about. If this happens again, be sure to keep some cold packs in the freezer, as described in the article.


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    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      4 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Simuoko, all I can suggest is that you follow the instructions for a bloody nose in the article. I cannot tell if the bleeding is further down in the lungs, but if it is sometimes it helps to keep the dog up on his chest, not down on his side. You might need to prop him up with pillows, and you might need someone to stay with him to prop him up as needed.

    • profile image

      Simuoko Naufahu 

      4 months ago

      My sin's puppy got hit by a car. We are scared it might die but we dont want him to. My son is so sad and he is crying.

      His nose is bleeding but not much. Our vet here dont work at weekends. What can we do? Please help.

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      4 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Hi Annie I am busy and it usually takes me a few days to get to these comments, so I am sorry if I am answering too late. I cannot tell you how bad things are with that puppy without an exam. All you can do is stop the obvious bleeding, keep the puppy comfortable, and make sure that he is warm and has plenty to drink. If she was taken to the vet she would most likely be put on fluids and given glucocorticoids for the shock.

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      There is a stray puppy in our area and she got hit by a car. There is no vet nearby and I don't know what to do. I've wrapped her up in a blanket and applied an ice pack on her nose to stop the bleeding. She's unconscious and breathing very fast. Can you please tell what can I do to save her

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      10 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Mark, bleeding from one nostril, both nostrils, other symtpoms, etc? It may be as simple as a periodontal infection and he will do better with a dental cleaning. You really need to take him in for an exam by your regular vet.

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      Hello Dr. Mark, I would like to ask what can I do to heal my dog, he has epistaxis, I can see a wound on his gums/tooth.

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      a pleasant evening , i have a question about our pet she is a japanese spit dog she has nose bleeding.

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      18 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Surbhi, I have no idea what you mean by "bugging the noose." If you want to rephrase the question I will help your dog if I can.

    • profile image


      18 months ago

      My dog ​​has been bugging the noose since last 1 month. Everything was done but bleeding did not stop. Please some medicine Tell me

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      22 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Hi Stefani it sounds like a very excited puppy you have there! Yes, trauma like that could certainly cause her nose to bleed. Hold her head up and you may not even need the ice packs, but be sure to check that she is breathing okay with blood in the nose.

    • profile image

      Stefani rader 

      22 months ago

      My dog runs into a wall when she is playing with us. Could that cause her nose to bleed


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