Nose bleeds are common in dogs, especially puppies. They happen because of a small blood vessel breaking inside the nasal cavity.
If you’ve tried everything else, then it might be time to call the vet. But before you do, read this article first! It’ll help you figure out what to do next.
What is epistaxis?
Epistaxis, or nosebleed, is a common medical emergency that can be life-threatening. It is defined as the passage of blood from the nasal cavity into the nasopharynx and/or oropharynx. The most common cause of epistaxis is trauma (e.g., an injury), but other causes include:
Dogs with epistaxis may have their heads tilted back, look at the sky, or appear sleepy. If these symptoms occur, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Dogs who are overweight or obese may experience epistaxis due to increased pressure on the vessels that supply blood to the nasal cavity.
A dog’s age may also play a role. Older dogs tend to develop more severe epistaxis than younger ones. In addition, older dogs may have underlying health issues such as arthritis, which can make them more susceptible to bleeding.
How does epistaxis usually start?
The majority of cases of epistaxis begin when a small blood vessel breaks inside the nostril. This happens when the small artery supplying blood to the nasal cavity becomes stretched too far. As the artery stretches, it begins to leak blood.
What causes epistaxis?
Trauma is the leading cause of epistaxis. Dogs who get hit by cars, fall off furniture, or jump up onto counters often suffer from epistaxis. Other possible causes include:
Overweight or obesity: Epistaxis occurs more frequently in dogs who are overweight or obese. Increased weight puts extra stress on the arteries that feed blood to the nasal cavity, causing them to stretch and rupture.
Age: Old dogs are more likely to develop epistaxis than young dogs because they have thicker skin and more fragile capillaries.
Fungal infection: Fungal infections can cause epistaxis in some dogs. These infections can affect the sinuses, making them swell and block the flow of blood through the vessels that supply blood.
Bacterial infection: Bacteria can enter the bloodstream after a dog eats food contaminated with bacteria. These bacteria travel to the lungs where they infect the lining of the airways. When the lining of the airway swells, it blocks the air passages and prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs. This leads to fainting and collapse.
Other diseases: Some types of cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, liver disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, and certain medications can all lead to epistaxis.
How long will my dog’s nose bleed last?
Most nose bleeds stop within 10 minutes. However, some dogs may need immediate veterinary care. If your dog doesn’t seem to be recovering after 15 minutes, contact your veterinarian.
Symptoms of Nose Bleed in Dogs
If you notice any of the following signs, call your vet right away:
- Your dog looks like he or she is having trouble breathing
- You see bright red blood coming out of your dog’s nose
- Your dog appears lethargic or sleepy
- Your dog seems anxious or scared
What should I do if my dog gets a nosebleed?
If your dog has an active nosebleed, try to keep him calm and quiet. Try not to touch his face. Instead, gently hold his head down so that the blood flows into a container.
If your dog has a nosebleed that isn’t stopping, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will want to perform a physical exam to determine whether your dog needs additional treatment.
In most cases, your pet will recover quickly once the source of the bleeding is identified.
Treatment for Epistaxis
Epistaxis can be treated at home, but it requires careful monitoring and follow-up visits to ensure that the problem doesn’t return. Here are some tips for treating epistaxis at home:
- Keep your dog away from other animals until the bleeding stops.
- Never give your dog aspirin or ibuprofen. They can cause internal bleeding.
- Keep your dog’s diet low in salt.
- Give your dog plenty of exercise. Exercise helps improve circulation and keeps your dog healthy.