What Are the Causes of Nosebleeds in Dogs?

A dog may breathe through his mouth when he has a nosebleed.
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When your dog is sneezing and covering his nose with his paws, he is probably not trying to eliminate the spread of a cold, as humans do. Your furry family member may need a professional diagnosis for his nosebleed because there are many potential causes, some more serious than others.

Common Causes

The most common causes of canine nosebleeds are the least serious, but can still require veterinary care. A dog can bump his nose rather hard when playing and cause a nosebleed. This is more common in a young dog that is learning to jump and play while gaining his balance. A very hard bump can fracture or break his nose.

A dog may inhale strongly when investigating a small object and inhale it into his nose. Foreign objects in the nasal passages are hard to expel. This can cause continuous sneezing that irritates the nose and causes bleeding. Blood can also be a sign of the foreign object having sharp edges that cut the interior of the snout.

Your canine friends can obtain fungal or bacterial nose infections, just as humans do. These types of nasal infections cause runny noses with mucous. The constant running erodes the mucous membranes, which in turn leads to a bloody mucous discharge.

Environmental Factors

A dog can suffer from environmental allergies that cause excessive sneezing. The hard, continuous sneezing can cause a broken blood vessel in the nostrils and results in a nosebleed. Poor air quality, dusty areas, outdoor pollen allergies and living in a smoking home can be the cause of the environmental factors of nosebleeds.

Tooth Abscess

Dogs can suffer from tooth decay, cavities and tooth loss. A canine tooth that is abscessing can produce blood at the root and expel it through the nasal passages. In this instance, the blood is in the nose, but uses the nose for evacuation.

Serious Causes

There can be underlying, serious causes of dog nosebleeds. Nasal adenocarcinoma, or nose tumors, can cause excessive bleeding through one or both nostrils. Blood can expel from the nose when there is an internal injury in another part of the body that is not evident.

A canine can have von Willebrand disease or hemophilia. Both of these conditions do not allow his blood to form platelets and clot. These very serious conditions require immediate veterinary care, as a dog can bleed to death.


Home diagnosis of nosebleeds is very difficult due to a large array of causes. As soon as you notice bloody nasal discharge on your pet, take him to a quiet area in your home. Keep your dog calm and warm. If you can see the nosebleed at the base of his nostrils, apply a gauze pad with pressure to stop the blood flow. Call your vet, advise her of all symptoms and schedule an emergency appointment.

Veterinary care can include an exam and X-rays to find the bleeding source. They may use a rhinoscope to look into the nose from the mouth with a camera.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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