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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Foreign object in nose View In Dogs

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition




Condition Overview

Dogs who spend time outside often get foreign objects stuck in their noses. This is especially true of hunting breeds, who have longer muzzles and keep their noses to the ground. Cats have issues with foreign bodies much less frequently.


The principal sign is a sudden bout of violent sneezing, accompanied by pawing at the nose, and occasionally, bleeding from one nostril. The sneezing is first continuous, and later intermittent. When a foreign object has been present for hours or days, there is a thick discharge (often bloody) from the involved nostril.


Foreign bodies that may work their way into the nasal cavity include blades of grass, grass seeds, awns, and bone and wood splinters.


A foreign body may be visible close to the opening of the nostril, in which case it can be removed with tweezers. In most cases it will be located farther back.


If the foreign body is not removed in a short time, it tends to migrate deeper into the nasal cavity.

1. Before you do anything else, it is a good idea to muzzle your pet to ensure you are not accidentally bitten while you are trying to perform first aid. You can use a length or panty hose or a strip of material such as a leash to keep his mouth closed. You can wrap a short nosed dog like a pug in a towel or a pillow case with his head exposed.

2. One person should gently hold your pets head.

3. Steady your dog's head with one hand while you use the tweezers with the other. When you see the object, use your fingers or blunt tipped tweezers to carefully reach into the nostril and pull it out.

4. After removing the object, gently clean the nostril with a cotton ball or gauze pad soaked with sterile saline contact lens solution.

5. If there is any abrasion or soreness that you are able to see and easily reach, apply a bit of antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to the area. Allow the ointment to soak in for a minute before releasing your pet, because he will immediately try to lick it off.

Special Note: If your pet has a nosebleed, keep him quiet so that he doesn't sneeze blood all over the carpet. Don't use a muzzle if you pet has a nosebleed, or he could choke. Instead, put a cold compress on the bridge of your dog's nose between the eyes and the nostrils. Place a cold wet wash cloth on his nose, then apply the cold pack. The cold helps slow down the bleeding. If the bleeding doesn't stop within 15 - 20 minutes, seek immediate veterinary care.


Swift treatment of this condition is the best way to prevent further health issues.


Watch your pet for sneezing or nasal discharge, which may indicate that there is still something stuck inside the nasal cavity or that an infection has developed.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats

Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001

Website: http://www.rodalebooks.com/

Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM

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