How to Care for Cuts on a Dog's Nose

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.

Playful dog face, black white and brown, with nose close to the camera lens, focus on face, closeup, with black and white tiled floor background
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Perform basic first aid

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.

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. "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 their teeth. Dog bites tend to be more surface bites, whereas bites from cats tend to be deeper puncture wounds, which also causes more concern about infection.

Cover the wound

Close up of a dogs nose and whiskers.
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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.

To keep your dog from licking, cover the wound with gauze. It is OK to apply an antibacterial ointment that you probably already have in your medicine cabinet, like Neosporin. 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. If the bandage won't stay on, keep the cut clean and keep applying Neosporin to keep it moist. Check his nose regular for any sign of infection like swelling or pus.

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.

Have a vet check it out

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. While 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.