Effective First Aid When Your Dog Has a Bloody Nose

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

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.

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)?

Causes of a Bloody Nose in your Dog

Very Young DogAdult DogSenior DogAny 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)

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.

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.

  • Do It Yourself At Home Physical Exam for Your Dog
    You should be aware of what your dogs normal heart rate, the color of his mucus membranes, etc. If your dog has a bloody nose, you can only help if you are used to seeing him healthy. Learn how to exam your dog at home.

Questions & Answers

Question: 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?

Answer: 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.

Question: 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?

Answer: 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.

Question: 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?

Answer: I have an article here on how to use ice packs to stop bleeding:

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

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 02, 2020:

Nikki, if the dog ate the rat, and the poison, the only possibility is to get her to the vet for a Vitamin K injection. In the meantime use this article to control the nosebleed.

Nikii on September 01, 2020:

My dog into a fight with the rat and i think the rat has rat poison when the incident was done my dog starts to sneeze with blood then got severe nose bleeding. After we stop the nose bleeding she started vomiting with blood. What should i do, im really worried and could not sleep for she can't breathe properly.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 01, 2020:

Kat--the first aid as it is written in the artilce.

Ramencar-because of those symptoms your dog may have a tumor. Have him checked out by your local vet.

Ramencar on June 29, 2020:

My dogs is actually experiencing a nosebleeding, lack of appetite, sneezing with blood, and sometimes coughing. Can you give me some advice that can help in my dog situation? I hope you can notice and respond to my question. Thank you

Kat on June 28, 2020:

My mom's service dog started sneezing and his nose started bleeding like really bad. We are in a small town and have emergency vet in town. What do we do?

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 11, 2020:

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.

Simuoko Naufahu on January 10, 2020:

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.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on January 09, 2020:

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.

Annie on January 07, 2020:

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

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 13, 2019:

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.

Mark on July 12, 2019:

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.

malou on May 14, 2019:

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

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 06, 2018:

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.

Surbhi on December 06, 2018:

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

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 16, 2018:

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.

Stefani rader on July 16, 2018:

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

Your Vet is likely to undertake a neurological examination to assess the extent of the head injury and look for possible signs of damage to the brain.

They will control bleeding and advise you as to next steps.

Your pet is likely to take time to recover from their head injury.

During this period, you should keep a close eye on them. Help them to remain as relaxed as possible and refrain from strenuous activity and long walks.

First Aid for Pets provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for veterinary advice. The author does not accept any liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies or for any mistreatment or misdiagnosis of any person or animal, however caused. It is strongly advised that you attend a practical First Aid for Pets course or take our online course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.

Taking Care of Your Dog's Nose

It's long been said that a cool, wet nose is a sign a dog is healthy. Not true: A sick dog's nose can be hot, cold, wet, or dry. Note what your dog's nose looks like when it's healthy and it'll be easier to spot problems when they show up.

To examine your dog's nose, look for any signs of unusual discharge, including blood. Also keep an eye out for excessive dryness, a crusty nose, or one that's paler than normal. Then watch your dog's nose as it breathes. If the nostrils flare more than usual, that could be a sign of breathing problems.

Always talk to your vet about your concerns. Because nose discharge in dogs can be a variety of colors and caused by many things, a quick exam by your vet is often the best way to get at the cause of a dog's nose discharge.


Fogle, B. Caring for Your Dog: The Complete Canine Home Reference, DK Publishing, Inc. 2002.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama & Auburn Universities: "The Dog's Sense of Smell."

American Kennel Club: "The Healthy Dog."

Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine: ''Nasal Discharge and Sneezing.''

Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference: "Nasal Neoplasia in the Dog and Cat."

Dog Nose Bleed Causes and Treatment

If you see your dog with a bloody nose, don’t panic. Stay calm and try to take a few moments to look carefully at your dog’s nose.

Wipe away the blood with a clean, damp, white cloth. This will enable you to see clearly where exactly the bleeding is coming from.

Check for bruises and cuts, as well as your dog’s breathing.

Place your cheek close to his nostrils and see if the passage of air through the two nostrils is the same, or if one nostril seems to be partially blocked.

Nosebleeds in dogs are generally caused either by a single, acute event (such as trauma to the nose), or by more chronic physical problems (such as a tumor).

How to Treat a Dog Sneezing Blood

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

This article has been viewed 28,227 times.

It can be very disconcerting to see blood come out of your dog's nose when it sneezes. A bleeding nose can be caused by a variety of factors, including trauma, an infection, or a tumor, among other causes. If your dog's nose is bleeding then you should try to slow the bleeding, keep your dog calm, and consult with a veterinarian about whether the dog needs immediate veterinary treatment or not. [1] X Trustworthy Source Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Leading veterinary medicine training institution and biomedical research center Go to source Even if the bleeding ends quickly, your dog should get seen by a veterinarian if it ever bleeds when it sneezes.

Watch the video: Pet Connection Extra - Nose Bleeds in Dogs (May 2021).