Your dog’s nose is a vital organ for exploring its world. Sniffing other dogs and humans is a way to learn more about them. Dogs also use their noses to communicate—gently nudging you when they want you to play. Since your dog explores so much with its nose, it will probably get injured at some point.
A cut on your dog’s nose can be difficult to care for, but keep reading to learn to treat these cuts effectively at home.
How To Care For Cuts On A Dog’s Nose
Cuts on a dog’s nose can range from mild to severe. Some injuries will require immediate attention, but you can easily treat most cuts and scrapes at home. There are certain steps to follow when caring for cuts on your dog’s nose.
Get The First-Aid Kit
It is best to have a first-aid kit at hand for your pet. Some of the first aid supplies you use for yourself will work on your dog, but not all. You will need disinfecting solutions and antibiotic ointments that are safe for dogs. Even if you don’t have a first-aid kit, you can purchase the basics like gauze, adhesive tape, disinfecting solution, and an antibiotic ointment to treat cuts at home.
First-Aid Kit For Your Pet
All pets injure themselves in some way, usually at the most inopportune time, like during the weekend when your vet is closed. So it’s important to keep a first-aid kit for your pet to care for the minor cuts and scratches that will certainly happen. Sometimes you might even need the first-aid kit to care for your pet at home till you can seek proper veterinary care.
You can collect a few items to keep in a plastic toolbox. There are some basic tools you should have, such as:
- A thermometer to check your pet’s temperature
- A stethoscope to check your pet’s breathing and heart rate
- Tweezers to remove ticks and fleas
- Syringes for oral medication.
- Roll gauze to wrap any wounds.
- Disinfecting solution for cleaning wounds
- Antibiotic ointment to apply to large wounds
- Scissors to trim bandages
- A muzzle for safety
- An Elizabethan collar
After you have all the necessary items, you can begin cleaning and treating the cuts on your dog’s nose. Use the following steps to treat these cuts effectively.
Help Your Dog Calm Down
The first step to treating cuts on your dog’s nose is to calm your dog if necessary. Dogs in pain may feel overwhelmed and start whining or become defensive and growl at you. If another animal harmed your dog, remove the other animal from the area to deescalate the situation.
Use a calm voice, reassure your dog, and allow it some space if necessary. If your dog is not overly stressed, try petting or massaging it if that is something it normally likes.
No matter how much your dog loves you, it may become so frightened and in pain that it snaps at or tries to bite you. You will need a muzzle to treat your dog further if that happens.
Pain can make your dog upset and overwhelmed, so you need to calm her down before you can take a look at her nose. Once the muzzle is on, you can look at your dog’s nose.
Assess The Damage
Assess the damage to your dog’s nose thoroughly. It could be a minor cut or something serious. The cut may range in severity based on how your pet got it. If another dog bit your dog, the cut might be a superficial cut that is easily treated. However, if your dog got cut by glass or something sharp, the cut could be deeper and will need stitches. You should consult your veterinarian immediately if you think the cut is deep.
When To Go To The Veterinarian
According to PetMD, you should consult your veterinarian if the cut on your dog’s nose:
- Penetrates your pet’s skin like a bite wound or laceration caused by glass
- Is large or extends around the nose
- Has pus in the wound, and the skin around it appears inflamed
Stop The Bleeding
After your dog has calmed down and you have the muzzle on, you should focus on the bleeding. Like humans, a dog’s nose contains many blood vessels, which means it is likely to bleed a lot. Using a clean towel or washcloth, gently press down on the wound to slow down the bleeding. If the wound is bleeding regardless, you can use styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Styptic powder, like styptic pencils, is an antiseptic clotting agent that can constrict the blood vessels to stop bleeding. In some cases, applying pressure might not be enough to stop the bleeding, and you should treat this situation as an emergency.
*Note: If you’ve never used styptic powder on yourself, be aware that it stings and prepare for your dog to act accordingly.
It is also important to know exactly how your dog got the cut. According to VCA Hospitals, dog bite wounds can cause excessive bleeding since dogs’ teeth and jaws are quite powerful. If the wound is deep, it can cause damage to the soft and sensitive tissues in those areas. If you cannot stop the bleeding, you should immediately take your dog to the veterinarian. Dogs that suffer from anemia or are on blood-thinning medications should also be taken to the veterinarian immediately.
If your dog has a cut on his nose after being bitten by another dog, you should have your veterinarian look at it. Dog’s mouths contain bacteria that can infect wounds inflicted on other dogs. By puncturing the skin, the bite can introduce bacteria below the skin surface which can multiply rapidly if left untreated. The bacteria can cause a localized infection or spread to other tissues.
Cleaning The Wound
If you’ve managed to stop the bleeding, you can move on to cleaning your pet’s wound. If your dog has suffered some road rash or a glass cut, there might be debris in the wound that you need to clean out. You can use soap and lukewarm water to clean away any debris in the wound. If your dog has a deep wound that is difficult to wash, PetMD recommends using a water-based lubricant such as KY Jelly to clean up the wound. Just spread the lubricant over the wound and the surrounding areas and wipe it off gently with a towel or washcloth to remove debris such as pieces of glass or gravel.
Disinfect The Wound
After cleaning your pet’s wound, you still need to disinfect it. You must disinfect the wound thoroughly if your dog has a cut from a dog bite. Dogs carry a lot of bacteria in their saliva, which can infect wounds.
Remember to keep the muzzle on till this step since the disinfecting solution can cause stinging, which will aggravate your pet.
Antiseptic solutions like Betadine don’t sting very much, if at all, so it is better to use those if you can. Dilute the disinfectant and gently clean the wound with a clean towel or washcloth.
Do not use hydrogen peroxide to clean up your pet’s wounds. While hydrogen peroxide may work well for human cuts and wounds, it can destroy the sensitive tissues of your pet’s face. The bubbling that it causes can indicate that bacteria are dying, but it also means that it is damaging tissues. According to Preventive Vet, hydrogen peroxide can damage the fibroblast cells responsible for healing. Hydrogen peroxide on your dog’s cuts will clean up the wound effectively and prolong the healing process.
After cleaning and disinfecting, you can apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to the wound. If you’ve cleaned the wound with water, it is best to let it dry before applying the ointment and bandage. Don’t use antibacterial ointments from your medicine cupboard. The American Kennel Club (AKC) advises against using human antibacterial ointments on dogs. Your dog will lick his nose, and he could accidentally swallow the ointment. While this causes no real harm to your pet, it can cause some digestive issues. The chemicals in the ointment affect your dog’s gut bacteria, leading to diarrhea and vomiting.
It is best to consult your veterinarian about the best pet-safe antibacterial ointment you can use on cuts. As the wound heals, it can develop a scab and cause some itching. Look for an ointment that is safe to use and can combat itching. The Forticept Blue Butter Antimicrobial Gel is a safe and excellent option.
Apply The Bandage
After applying antibiotic ointment to the wound, you can apply a bandage. It will be difficult to roll gauze around your pet’s nose, so use square gauze instead. Use adhesive tape to apply the bandage over the wound and keep it in place. A thin layer of antibiotic ointment can help keep the bandage in place and prevent bacterial growth.
Protect The Wound
Dogs instinctively lick and paw at their wounds. You must ensure your dog does not disturb the bandage or scratch/lick its wound because this can worsen matters. Dog saliva contains many bacterial organisms which can infect the wound when licked. Licking the bandage can also moisten the wound, encouraging bacterial growth. Use an inflatable E-collar or protective clothing to prevent your dog from licking his wound. Keeping the wound clean and dry is essential to promote healing.
Repeat The Process
After you’ve followed all these steps, you should still remove the bandage and look at your dog’s wound daily. Ensure the cut is clean and reapply antibiotic ointment if necessary.
If your dog’s wound becomes infected, you won’t know unless you check it. Check, clean, and moisturize the wound when needed to speed up the healing process. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you notice anything unusual like pus or inflamed skin.
Moisturize The Wound
If the cut on your dog’s nose is a minor scratch or surface cut, it won’t take long to heal. However, you might find a scab over the cut, which will be dry and itchy. It is important to moisturize the wound to promote healing.
When your pet’s wound is open and still healing, you should keep it dry. After it has healed and closed, you will need to moisturize the spot to encourage fresh skin to grow over it. Use a gentle and natural moisturizer like the Kin+Kind Nose & Paw Moisturizer. You can also use a small amount of coconut oil to prevent dryness.
Consult Your Veterinarian
Regardless of how mild the cut is, have your veterinarian look at it. If your dog has a deep or open wound caused by a dog bite, it is important to have your veterinarian check it. Some wounds might need stitches, and you should not try to treat them at home.
Even though everything seems fine on the surface, dog bites can cause problems invisible to the naked eye. It is best to have your veterinarian check the wound and run some tests to ensure everything is fine. If it’s nothing serious, your veterinarian will advise you to continue at-home treatment.
Antibiotics and Pain Medications
In some cases, your dog might need antibiotics and pain medications to manage the cuts on her nose. Deep or open wounds require antibiotics and pain medications to heal without developing a bacterial infection. Deep wounds and lacerations will require antibiotics. If your dog has a deep wound on his nose from a dog bite that you could not clean instantly, a bacterial infection could develop easily. You should consult your veterinarian to determine if your pet will need antibiotics or pain medication.
Caring for cuts on your pet’s nose can be tricky if you don’t know what to expect. Since cuts on the nose bleed easily, it can be worrisome for many pet parents. You can easily treat mild cuts at home using a first-aid kit. If your pet has deep or open wounds on his nose, you should consult your veterinarian. These cuts should not be treated at home and can become infected. Regardless of the wound’s seriousness, have your veterinarian examine it for you and your pet’s sake.