While nosebleeds may be very common for humans, there is nothing more frightening than seeing your dog with a bloody nose! Most dog owners live their lives, unaware that nosebleeds in dogs are even a possibility. So what causes a canine bloody nose, and more importantly how do you treat it? This helpful guide will tell you all about the causes and treatments of a nosebleed in dogs so that you can act with confidence in the face of this unwanted ailment.
Nosebleed in Dogs Causes
The medical term for nosebleed in dogs is epistaxis and, according to VCA, is characterized by an acute hemorrhage within the nasal cavity. The most common type of nosebleed for dogs is one that stems from an issue within the nasal cavity itself. The other two points of origin for canine nosebleeds are the nostril and the nasopharynx, an area of the nasal cavity that is behind the naval passage in the upper part of the throat.
Typically nosebleeds that stem from the nostrils are caused by external stressors. Examples of these stressors include a small cut due to scratching, or an irritation from your dog putting his nose where it shouldn’t go, like a thorn bush. Usually, a nostril related nosebleed is not as alarming as the other two types of epistaxis as a cut is usually the visible culprit.
Nosebleeds are a bit more alarming when the blood is clearly coming from inside the nasal cavity itself. While a nosebleed is no cause for overreaction, it should be handled with a sense of mild severity. As discussed previously, epistaxis is most commonly caused by the irritation of the nasal cavity. In the same way that humans can experience a nosebleed because of dry weather, a dog is susceptible to irritants that may cause nasal bleeding as well.
The biggest point of difference between a canine nosebleed and a human nosebleed is the rarity with which they occur. If your dog is suffering from a nosebleed, chances are it is the first time you, or he, is experiencing it. It is important to remain calm, as your dog will feed off your demeanor. The more collected you can be in the actions you take, the better you will be able to treat your dog’s nosebleed. Remember, a hyper or nervous dog has a higher blood pressure, which means more blood you will have to clean up. Remain calm, and eventually, the blood flow will stop.
For most dogs who experience a nosebleed, the bleeding is a result of sudden trauma or an infection within the respiratory tract. Especially if your dog does not have a history of nosebleeds, you can take a breath knowing it is likely nothing serious. However, if nosebleeds become a more consistent problem, then you may need to take additional action to treat the underlying cause.
Here are some of the most common causes of nosebleeds in dogs, according to VetFolio:
- Respiratory infection
- Inflammatory Disease
- Rocky Mountain Fever
- Liver Failure
- Fungal Diseases
- Ingestion of poisonous substances
How to Stop a Dog’s Nose Bleed: Treatment Options
Taking your dog in for an exam is an absolute must if your dog suffers from a nosebleed. To determine a treatment plan, your vet will first need to identify the root cause of the bleeding and stop the blood flow if it persists.
As soon as you see your dog bleeding from his nose, you should try to stop it. These steps, as described by Veterinary Partner, should be administered to your dog to stop the bleeding as you prepare to take him in.
- Remain calm. Your dog will feed off of your energy, and as we mentioned before, a frantic dog means higher blood pressure, and ultimately more blood flow.
- Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the bridge of the nose. Cold restricts blood flow by allowing the blood vessels to contract.
- Apply a single dose of Oxymetazoline nasal spray, like Afrin, into each nostril. This will help the blood vessels to tighten up, and blood clots will form to stop the bleeding.
Do not under any circumstances stick anything up your dog’s nose. While this trick may work for humans, cotton or another foreign object could easily cause damage to your dog’s nasal cavity, making the problem worse.
Do not wait to take your dog to the vet until you have stopped the bleeding. Make your best attempt to prevent blood loss, but get to the vet as quickly as possible.
Sometimes cauterization must be employed, especially if the nosebleed is related to a cut. If the nosebleed comes as the result of a respiratory infection, then your vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat the root cause of the infection. Typically nosebleeds clear up in a couple of hours, though some may come and go sporadically over a few days, especially if the root cause is a respiratory infection.
Nosebleeds in dogs may seem frightening, but they are more common than you think. The best person to help you treat a canine nosebleed is your vet, and it is crucial to take your dog in as soon as they show symptoms of epistaxis. Remember to remain calm, administer as much first aid as you can, and act as directed by your dog’s vet.
Williams, Krista. “Nose Bleeds (Epistaxis) in Dogs.” VCA Hospitals, vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/nose-bleeds-or-epistaxis-in-dogs.
“Bloody Nose (Epistaxis) in Dogs and Cats – Veterinary Partner.” Veterinary Partner, veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&catId=102903&id=4952051.