Nosebleed: First Aid

Date Published: 12/31/1994
Date Reviewed/Revised: 07/10/2018

A nosebleed (epistaxis) is bleeding or hemorrhage from the nose. It is important to stop a nose bleed, but is equally important to get to the bottom of why it’s happening.   Stopping nose bleeds in pets is often the easy part, but finding out why a nose is bleeding may sometimes be more challenging.

Your pet should be kept calm, as excitement may cause an increase in blood pressure that will make control of the nosebleed difficult.  As a pet owner, you too must remain composed; if your pet sees you getting frantic, he will become further distressed.

Place an ice-pack over the bridge and on the side of the nose to help to control bleeding as that constricts the blood vessels in this area.  If possible, look in the mouth to see if there is blood or if the gums are pale.  In either case, your pet should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately.

What to Do

  • Notice if the blood is coming from one nostril (note which one) or both. 
  • If your pet is sneezing, note how often. 
  • Attempt to keep your pet calm. Encourage your pet to lie down and relax. 
  • Place an ice pack (covered by one or more layers of clean cloth) or cold compress on the bridge and side of the nose. 
  • If the nose is bleeding profusely and/or the bleeding lasts more than 5 minutes, seek veterinary attention.

What NOT to Do

  • Do not put anything up the nose, as this will likely cause your pet to sneeze. Sneezing will dislodge a clot (if one has formed), and the bleeding will resume.

A bloody nose in a cat or dog may be associated with foreign bodies (foxtail awns are common), polyps, infections, poisoning, bleeding disorders, or even cancer. It is a sign whose significance should not be underestimated, and veterinary medical attention should be sought as soon as possible.

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