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Nosebleeds in Dogs

Dog Nose Bleed: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A dog nose bleed is episodic nasal bleeding from one or both nostrils. The medical term for nasal bleeding is epistaxis. Epistaxis episodes are rarely life-threatening but require prompt veterinary management. 

Common causes of epistaxis or a dog sneezing blood include trauma, foreign objects, infections, growths, dental diseases, hypertension, infections, blood clotting disorders, environmental factors, and systemic conditions. 

Other worrisome signs and symptoms, such as excessive sneezing, coughing, appetite loss, and lethargy, accompany a dog nose bleed. Bloody vomit and stool following epistaxis are predictable if the dog swallowed some of the blood. 

Gentle pressure on the nose and ice pack placement is the first aid for a dog bleeding from nose. The specific treatment depends on the underlying cause once the bleeding stabilizes. 

What is Epistaxis or Nosebleeds in Dogs?

Epistaxis, or nosebleeds, in dogs, involve bleeding from one or both nostrils. The blood flow ranges from a small trickle to a heavy flush. 

A dog nosebleed episode develops when delicate blood vessels in the nasal cavity rupture. Various factors cause epistaxis, and the underlying reason is local or systemic based on the nose anatomy in dogs.

Immediate veterinary attention is necessary for a dog bloody nose episode, as it constitutes an emergency but is not life-threatening.

How common are Nosebleeds in Dogs? 

Nosebleeds in dogs are not a commonly reported issue compared to other canine nasal problems, such as inflammation, infections, foreign bodies, and discharge. 

Nosebleeds are prevalent in dogs with rhinitis. Rhinitis is nose inflammation that causes irritation and damage to the small nasal blood vessels. 

The occurrence of nasal problems in dogs is widespread. “Epistaxis is a common disorder that can have a local or systemic origin,” according to a study titled “Clinical Approach to Patients with Epistaxis,” published by the University of Georgia in 2004. 

What are the Causes of Nosebleeds (Epistaxis) in Dogs?

The causes of nosebleeds (epistaxis) in dogs are listed below. 

  • Trauma: Trauma is the number one cause of epistaxis, as outlined in the observational case series “Prevalence, Clinical Features, and Causes of Epistaxis in Dogs: 176 Cases (1996–2001)” issued in the JAVMA in 2007. Trauma in dogs occurs during playtime and when the dog experiences sudden bursts of energy.  
  • Tumors: Tumors in the nose cause bleeding and are the second most common cause of epistaxis. Examples of intranasal tumors include squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, mast cell tumors, and nasal forms of transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT). 
  • Foreign Objects: Dogs are nasal-led animals, and foreign objects easily find their way into their nostrils, causing bleeding. Spiky plant materials or grass awns, like fox tails and cheatgrass, enter dog nostrils. 
  • Infection: Infections of the upper respiratory tract irritate the nasal mucosa and cause rhinitis, followed by nosebleeds. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses result in respiratory infections in dogs. 
  • Blood Clotting Disorders: Dogs' common blood clotting disorder is vWD or von Willebrand Disease. vWD is an inherited condition in which dogs lack one of the factors essential for blood clotting.    
  • Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia: Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, or ITP, is an autoimmune condition in which the dog’s immune system attacks the blood platelets responsible for clotting. Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Old English Sheepdogs are genetically prone to ITP. 
  • Tick-Borne Illnesses: Certain tick-borne diseases, such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, affect the blood clotting processes and cause bleeding.   
  • Dental Disease: The nasal cavity is closely related to the oral cavity, so dental problems such as tooth infections result in nasal bleeding and discharge. 
  • Hypertension: Hypertension occurs when fragile nasal blood vessels burst due to high blood pressure in dogs. The causes of hypertension are unknown, while secondary hypertension is caused by kidney problems, diabetes, and diseases affecting the adrenal glands. 
  • Toxin Exposure: The most common toxin linked to excess bleeding is rodenticide. Rodenticides inhibit the blood-clotting mechanisms, resulting in severe and life-threatening bleeding from all-natural openings. 
  • Unwanted Drug Reactions: Long-term use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs causes nose bleeding. Epistaxis is a side effect of other medications, such as certain hormones, chemotherapy, and antibiotics from the sulfonamides group. 
  • Environmental Factors: Extreme air pressure changes damage the sensitive vessels in the dog’s nose, causing bleeding. Lack of moisture in the air triggers dryness and cracking. 
  • Systemic Diseases: Systemic diseases, such as liver issues, kidney failure, and thyroid gland imbalances, cause dog nosebleeds. Dogs with kidney failure develop uremia and epistaxis, according to a report on “Nasal Mucosal Mineralization, Ulceration, and Epistaxis in a Dog with Uremia Caused by Chronic Renal Failure,” published in Ciência Rural in 2022. 
  • Nasal Trauma during Play: The risk of trauma-induced nosebleeds is high when the dog is active. For example, a dog playing catch hits its nose on a hard surface while running or gets injured inadvertently if its nasal cavities get pierced by the other dog’s teeth during play.

Do Dogs Get Epistaxis from Stress?

No, dogs do not get epistaxis from stress. Anxiety is an irrational fear associated with triggers like loud noises, being left alone, or routine changes to daily life.  

Nose bleeds are not directly linked to stress. Anxiety worsens an existing dog nosebleed. Strong emotions elevate the dog’s blood pressure, creating more intense nose bleeding. Pet owners must stay calm and soothe their dogs during nosebleed episodes to prevent exacerbation.  

Can Dog Allergies Cause Nosebleeds in Dogs?

Yes, dog allergies can cause nosebleeds in dogs. Environmental allergies irritate the mucus membranes lining the inside of the nose. Severe irritation damages the small blood vessels in the nose, resulting in a nosebleed. 

Environmental allergies in dogs are widespread and occur seasonally or year-round. Common allergens are pollen, dust, mold spores, and dander.   

What are the Symptoms of Nosebleeds in Dogs?

The symptoms of nosebleeds in dogs are listed below. 

  • Visible Bleeding: Visible nose bleeding is the number one symptom of nosebleeds. The source of the bleeding indicates the trigger. A dog nose bleed on one side of the nostrils implies a foreign object, a tooth infection, or an intranasal growth. Bleeding from both nostrils suggests trauma, blood clotting disorder, or upper respiratory infection.   
  • Blood on Fur or Pawing at the Nose: Blood from the dog’s nose drips, staining the fur. The dog attempts to remove the source of irritation by pawing at the nose, but the blood ends up smearing the paws. 
  • Excessive Sneezing or Nasal Discharge: Sneezing and nasal discharge accompany nosebleeds in dogs with upper respiratory tract infections. Sneezing worsens the bleeding, while nasal discharge dilutes the blood, making it harder to notice. 
  • Swelling or Deformity of the Nose: Nose swelling or deformity is standard for intranasal tumors and growth. The swelling or deformity affects one or both sides of the nostrils depending on the mass’ location. 
  • Difficulty Breathing: Difficulty breathing is an emergency. A dog with a nosebleed gasping for air requires immediate veterinary attention. Respiratory problems are pronounced in brachycephalic or broad-headed breeds. 
  • Lethargy or Weakness: Lethargy and weakness in dogs with epistaxis result from an underlying cause, such as fever due to a respiratory infection. Lethargy and weakness often result from excess blood loss. 
  • Loss of Appetite: Loss of appetite is a non-specific symptom alongside many health issues, including epistaxis, which causes traumas, respiratory infections, and systemic diseases. 

How do Veterinarians Diagnose a Dog's Nosebleed?

Veterinarians diagnose a dog's nosebleed through physical examination, clinical signs, and history acquirement. 

The vet starts by questioning the owner to gather as much information about the dog’s condition and conducts a complete physical exam. The veterinarian orders specific tests based on the initial findings. 

Specific clinical tests necessary to diagnose a dog nose bleed include a complete blood count (CBC), coagulation profile, x-rays, nasal swabs, and biopsy. 

The CBC analyzes the number of blood cells. The coagulation profile tests the blood's clotting ability. An X-ray reveals bleeding tumors and foreign objects. The nasal swab detects infections. A biopsy checks for polyps and tumors.  

How long do Nosebleeds in Dogs last?

Nosebleeds in dogs last under 30 minutes in most cases. The blood flow during a nosebleed varies in intensity and lasts from several seconds to over 30 minutes. 

A dog nosebleed episode lasting over 30 minutes warrants professional attention. The exact duration of epistaxis varies based on the underlying trigger.  

Epistaxis caused by mild facial trauma is shorter compared to nose bleeding due to rat poison ingestion. 

Does Nosebleeds in Dogs affect Dog's behavior?

Yes, nosebleeds in dogs affect dog’s behavior. Nosebleeds cause anxiety for the dog, resulting in abnormal behavior. An anxious dog often finds it difficult to settle down and acts agitated.

Some dog nosebleed causes are severe and trigger signs and symptoms that affect the dog’s behavior. For example, a dog with a respiratory infection has a nosebleed and behaves lethargic due to fever or increased body temperature. 

When to call a Veterinarian about Epistaxis?

Call a veterinarian about epistaxis if the dog nose bleed episode occurs unexpectedly, does not stop within 30 minutes, or starts intensifying. 

Evaluate the situation before calling the vet. The nosebleed is likely to stop on its own and is not worrisome if the dog bumps its snout while playing. Call the veterinarian if there is no apparent cause for bleeding. 

Are Nosebleeds in Dogs an Emergency?

Yes, nosebleeds are an emergency. Sudden and acute epistaxis requires immediate veterinary attention. 

Nosebleeds are “frequently regarded as an emergency,” according to an observational study, “Prevalence, Clinical Features, and Causes of Epistaxis in Dogs: 176 Cases (1996-2001),” featured in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2007.

Epistaxis, or nosebleeds, are often not life-threatening but require hospitalization, based on findings from a human study, “Epistaxis: Evaluation and Treatment,” published in Primary Care in 2014. 

A dog nosebleed carries the same risks as a human nosebleed, so veterinary care is warranted in the case of epistaxis. 

What are the Treatments of Epistaxis in Dogs?

The treatments of epistaxis in dogs are listed below. 

  • Trauma Management: The first step is trauma management. A dog nose bleed due to trauma, in many cases, is accompanied by other injuries, like a broken tooth or bruising. Addressing all injuries is necessary to stem the bleeding source altogether. 
  • Infection Treatment: Infection treatment is recommended if an infection causes a nosebleed. The veterinarian prescribes the correct antibiotic or antifungal based on the type of bacteria or fungus responsible for the infection. 
  • Management of Systemic Conditions: Managing systemic conditions depends on the specific issue. A dog with hypothyroidism requires hormone replacement therapy, while a dog with kidney disease requires dialysis. 
  • Treatment for Nasal Tumors or Growths: Nasal tumors and growths require surgical removal. Chemotherapy and radiation are recommended if the intranasal growth is hard to reach or if the tumor type requires additional therapy in conjunction with surgery.  
  • Supportive Care: Supportive care is integral to the dog's nosebleed recovery and includes keeping the dog calm and comfortable. CBD oil is an excellent supplement that applies to the veterinarian’s recommendation. 

How to Treat Dog Nose Bleed at Home?

To treat a dog nose bleed at home, follow the tips below. 

  • Keep Calm: Stay calm and evaluate the dog’s condition. Stress transfers from owners to dogs exacerbate the situation. Stress increases blood pressure, and high blood pressure, or hypertension, increases bleeding. 
  • Apply Pressure: Press the dog’s nose outside to stop the bleeding. Avoid placing cotton pads or other absorbent materials inside the nose, as fabric often triggers sneezing and exacerbates the situation.
  • Ice Pack: Place an ice pack wrapped in a washcloth on the bridge of the dog’s nose. Cold constricts the nasal blood vessels, slowing the bleeding. Be careful with flat-faced breeds and ensure the ice pack does not obstruct the nostrils and impair breathing. 
  • Keep Your Dog Quiet: Keep the dog as calm and quiet as possible to manage the issue and prevent exacerbation. A distressed and loud dog has increased blood pressure, which intensifies bleeding. 
  • Moisture: Keep the air moist to avoid new nosebleeds while the fragile nasal blood vessels heal. Use unscented air fresheners or moisturizers since scented products are too strong for dogs and provoke sneezing. 
  • Monitor Your Dog: Monitor the dog to assess the situation. Nosebleeds stop and develop again or are accompanied by other worrisome signs and symptoms. Keep a close eye on and gather important information. 
  • Avoid Medications: Do not use meds or home remedies for dogs sneezing blood or having nosebleeds unless otherwise advised by a vet. Provide first aid to manage the situation and seek veterinary help to ensure the dog’s safety. 

Does Dog Nosebleed stop on its own?

Yes, a dog nosebleed stops on its own in some situations. Mild to moderate trauma causes self-resolving epistaxis that usually ceases within 30 minutes. Severe trauma triggers more intense nose bleeding that is unlikely to diminish on its own and requires veterinary attention. The rule of thumb is to call the veterinarian if the bleeding does not stop in 30 minutes. Going to the nearest emergency clinic is recommended in severe cases. 

Can CBD Oil Treat Nosebleed for Dogs?

No, CBD oil for dogs cannot treat a nosebleed. CBD does have the potential to keep the dog calm once the bleeding has stopped, hence preventing recurrence. 

CBD oil helps prevent epistaxis in some cases. For example, hyperactivity increases the risk of a dog nose bleed episode, while CBD for pets promotes relaxation and calms down hyperactive dogs. 

CBD is natural and suitable for daily use in dogs of all breeds and ages. CBD is safe to combine with mainstream medications. 

How to Prevent Nosebleeds on Dogs?

To prevent nosebleeds in dogs, several proactive measures can be taken. Maintaining clean, moist, and fresh air inside the house reduces the risk of allergies and excess nasal mucosa dryness. 

Monitor the dog during playtime to prevent rough interactions and traumatic events culminating in dog nosebleed episodes. Keep the dog up-to-date on vaccines to prevent infectious diseases that result in epistaxis. 

Schedule regular vet visits to determine potential health conditions early on before they escalate. 

Consult the veterinarian and ascertain the best treatment strategy for dogs with nosebleeds caused by underlying systemic conditions. 

Can Probiotics for Dogs help prevent Nosebleeds?

No, probiotics for dogs cannot help prevent nosebleeds. Probiotics are live microorganisms, bacteria, and yeasts that benefit the dog in specific doses. 

Probiotics are unrelated to epistaxis and do not influence the development of dog nosebleed episodes. 

Epistaxis is caused by infections requiring antibiotic treatment, and probiotics for dogs are helpful in the situation. Probiotics are recommended during and following antibiotic treatments. 

Antibiotics kill microorganisms but fail to differentiate between good and bad bacteria. Probiotics help introduce good bacteria, keeping the dog’s gut microbiome balanced.