How to Care for Cuts on a Dog's Nose

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You know your dog has the cutest little nose! And you know what he means when he communicates with his nose. The way your dog pokes you with his nose whenever he wants to play. Or the way he nudges you with his nose just to remind you that he's there. Your dog uses his nose so much; he's bound to stick it in something he shouldn't. Or worse, an altercation with another animal can leave him wounded. A cut on your dog's nose can cause pain for him and anguish for you if you don't know how to treat it properly.


Keep her calm

The first thing you'll need to do if your dog gets a cut on her nose is to calm her down enough that you can get a good look at it and start some kind of treatment. If you've been training your dog since she was a puppy, she might know a calming command like "settle," which is recommended by Pet Care RX.


If she's in pain, she might need you to put a muzzle on her or tie her leash to something sturdy to help hold her still so that you can get a good look at her nose. Guardian Gear Fabric Mesh Muzzle lets your dog breathe, eat, and drink easily while wearing it and also allows you easy access to that tender nose.


Stop the bleeding

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If your dog gets a cut on her nose, it could bleed a lot. That can be scary for you and the dog! If there is blood, control any bleeding by using firm but gentle pressure with a clean towel or washcloth. Use a cotton swab to dab on some Remedy + Recovery Stop Bleeding Styptic Powder. If the cut is deep or will need stitches, contact your veterinarian immediately.


"The Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan points out that a dog that is bitten by another dog tends to bleed more than a dog that is bitten by a cat, due to the shape of the teeth. Dog bites tend to be more surface bites, whereas bites from cats tend to be deeper puncture wounds, which also cause more concern about infection.


Protect the wound

Dogs don't have Chapstick in their pockets that they can put on their noses as we do for our dry lips. To keep the tender skin on their nose moist and not dry and cracked, dogs lick their noses. When your dog licks his injury, it can introduce bacteria or keep the tender skin so moist that it can't heal properly.


It is OK to apply an antibacterial ointment that you probably already have in your medicine cabinet, such as Neosporin. However, the product is not the best for dogs, according to the American Kennel Club, as it can upset some dog's intestinal flora, causing vomiting and diarrhea.


A better choice is Forticept Blue Butter Antimicrobial Gel which contains ingredients used by veterinarians and is completely non-toxic to pets. The formula has ingredients to help combat itching and is specifically labeled as safe to use on your dog's nose, as well as around the mouth and ears.


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Wag Walking says wounds on a dog's nose are difficult to bandage, which makes sense because your dog is always using his nose to explore. A gauze pad held on by adhesive tape is unlikely to stay in place.

Instead, keep the cut clean and keep applying ointment to keep it moist. If your dog paws at it, use a fabric or inflatable e-collar. Products like the Comfy Cone E-Collar can be folded and reversed to keep your dog's paws away from the injury while allowing a full range of vision and the ability to eat and drink normally.

Don't use hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a go-to for human cuts and scrapes because it cleans the wound. The bubbling caused by hydrogen peroxide is a visual indicator that the bacteria in a wound is being killed. Preventive Vet points out that the bubbling is also an indicator that the bubbling is killing fibroblasts or cells in your pet's body that are crucial to wound healing. The peroxide does help disinfect the wound, but it also slows down your pet's natural process for healing itself.

Let your vet check it

Even though you're performing basic first aid at home, you'll want to have a vet look at your dog's nose. If the bite area is large, there is a lot more potential for bacteria to get into the wound and cause an infection. Although your dog's cut may not seem serious, it could be worse than it looks. If the vet provides treatment, she will get the wound into good shape, and then you can continue your home care until it heals.

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.