Nosebleeds in dogs may seem harmless but in fact often hide a serious underlying health issue, which may need urgent treatment.
We have put together all the possible causes for dog nosebleeds as well as advice on how to act when faced with one. By knowing this, you could possibly save your dog from a serious health problem.
What are the possible causes of nosebleeds in dogs?
Scientifically named epistaxis, nosebleeds can be caused in numerous ways, with the severity ranging from benign to potentially lethal.
Source: Pet sitting
Your dog may bleed from its nose for the following reasons (excluding superficial injuries such as a scratch):
- A violent shock or head trauma. Following a hit or blow to the head, your pet may suffer a concussion which could lead to internal bleeding. A nosebleed is the only visible symptom of this type of trauma.
- Local inflammation. If you dog is suffering from rhinitis, then inflammation related to this disease can cause nosebleeds. Rhinitis can be caused by bacteria or a virus. The bleeding can be momentary and disappear once the rhinitis has beent treated. However, if this keeps happening, then it could mean something more serious.
- A spikelet or foxtail grass. This plant which is found abundantly in summer can be very dangerous for animals. It can get stuck in their nose and irrate the nasal passage causing bleeding. If you do see one of these in your dog's nose, don't try and remove it yourself. The nasal passage is a particularly sensitive area and it is vital that your dog is taken to the vet whereupon it can be removed under anaesthesia.
- Poisoning. A snake bite or poisoning with a product can cause nosebleeds.
- A tumor or Leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is a chronic disease, transmitted by microscopic parasites that enter an animal's body through a mosquito or midge bite. This disease can be fatal and must be treated as soon as possible. Just like a tumor, this disease can cause nosebleeds.
Most causes of nosebleeds in dogs are linked to diseases or injuries that will only get worse if they go untreated. All types of nosebleed (isolated or chronic) must be taken seriously and always warrant a visit to the vet to check and treat them.
My dog has a nosebleed: what do I need to do?
If your dog's nose starts bleeding, check first of all that it isn't due to a simple cut or scratch. If this isn't the case, then you need to do the following.
Before doing anything, it is important to stay calm. If your dog senses that you're stressed, it could aggravate them and the nosebleed, increasing their heart rate.
To slow down or stop the bleeding for a few moments, you can try to apply an ice compress wrapped in a towel, and then place this on the nose. The cold will tighten the blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood. However, if your dog resists, don't force it on them as this could aggravate the situation.
Contrary to how a human nosebleed is treated, you mustn't put tissue, cotton or anything along those lines in the nasal passage to try and absorb the blood. This could make the situation worse, in the same way a spikelet would.
If after a few minutes, the bleeding hasn't stopped, then you need to take your dog to the vet urgently. There they will be able to carry out tests to determine the exact cause of the bleeding and prescribe the correct treatment.