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  • Writer's pictureVetMed Team

7 Signs Your Dog Has Something Stuck in Its Nose: What To Do Next

If you've noticed your dog sneezing uncontrollably, pawing at its nose, or appearing agitated, your furry friend might be dealing with a nasal foreign body. Before you panic, it's essential to know what this means, how it can be prevented, and what steps you can take for removal and aftercare. This comprehensive guide will cover all these aspects in detail.

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Looking for a specific answer? Use our guide below to quickly navigate to your desired section:

What is a Nasal Foreign Body in a Dog?

Can You Prevent Dogs From Getting Things Stuck in Their Nose?

7 Signs Your Dog Might Have Something Stuck in Its Nose

How Nasal Foreign Bodies Are Diagnosed in Dogs

Treatment Options For Nasal Foreign Bodies in Dogs

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What is a Nasal Foreign Body in a Dog?

A nasal foreign body refers to any object that is not supposed to be in a dog's nasal passages but has somehow made its way in. It can be anything from a grass seed, twig, or piece of food to a small toy. These foreign bodies can cause significant discomfort and even lead to infections if not treated promptly.

Anatomy of the Dog's Nose

  • Nasal Passage: This is the channel that allows airflow and has tiny hair to filter out foreign substances.

  • Nasal Cavity: The space above the palate that extends to the throat; it houses the olfactory senses.

Risks and Complications

  • Infections: The presence of a foreign body can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

  • Sinusitis: Inflammation of the sinuses may occur due to a chronic foreign body.

  • Aspiration: If the foreign body is inhaled into the lungs, it can cause severe respiratory problems.

Can You Prevent Dogs From Getting Things Stuck in Their Noses?

Preventing your dog from getting a nasal foreign body can be challenging, as dogs are naturally curious animals who like to sniff and explore their surroundings.

Environmental Control

  1. Secure Your Yard: Ensure that small objects, which can be sniffed up into the nose, are not lying around.

  2. Indoor Precautions: Keep small toys, beads, or anything that can fit into a nostril out of your dog's reach.

Behavioral Training

  1. Leave it Command: Train your dog to understand and obey commands like 'Leave it' to prevent them from sniffing or eating something they shouldn't.

  2. Walking on Leash: Keeping your dog on a leash during walks can help you have better control, preventing them from sticking their nose where it doesn't belong.


7 Signs Your Dog Might Have Something Stuck in Its Nose

If you're concerned that your dog might have a nasal foreign body, there are several symptoms and behaviors to watch for. Identifying these signs early can help you seek timely medical intervention, reducing the risk of complications such as infection or aspiration. Here are seven key signs that may indicate your dog has something stuck in its nose:

1. Frequent Sneezing

When your dog can't stop sneezing, it might be more than just a tickle in their nose; it could be a sign of a foreign object lodged inside.

What to Look For: Sudden bouts of sneezing that are more frequent than usual.

What to Do: Pay attention to whether the sneezing subsides or persists, as constant sneezing is a strong indicator.

2. Pawing at the Nose or Face

If your dog is incessantly scratching or rubbing its nose, it could be an attempt to dislodge something irritating or painful.

What to Look For: Your dog may use its paw to scratch or rub its nose frequently, often with some urgency.

What to Do: Gently examine the nose for any visible foreign objects or signs of distress.

3. Nasal Discharge

Unexplained, persistent nasal discharge can indicate that your dog may have an obstruction in its nasal passage, leading to fluid build-up.

What to Look For: Unusual discharge from one or both nostrils, which may be clear, yellow, or green.

What to Do: If the discharge continues or becomes colored, seek veterinary advice.

4. Noisy Breathing or Snorting

Changes in the sound of your dog's breathing, particularly snorting or wheezing, might signify that something is obstructing normal airflow.

What to Look For: Audible noise while your dog breathes, such as snorting or wheezing, that wasn't present before.

What to Do: Monitor your dog's breathing and check for other signs of respiratory distress.

5. Reduced Appetite or Difficulty Eating

A sudden disinterest in food, or difficulty when trying to eat, can sometimes be linked to discomfort or distress caused by a nasal foreign body.

What to Look For: A lack of interest in food, or apparent difficulty in eating or drinking.

What to Do: Take note if your dog seems to be struggling to eat or drink and consult a veterinarian.

6. Blood from the Nose

While nosebleeds can be caused by various factors, seeing blood specifically from one nostril may suggest a foreign object is to blame.

What to Look For: Blood coming from one nostril is a red flag that something may be lodged in that nasal passage.

What to Do: Seek immediate veterinary attention if you notice any blood coming from your dog's nose.

7. Visible Foreign Object

Spotting an actual object sticking out from your dog's nostril is a clear-cut sign of a nasal foreign body and warrants immediate veterinary attention.

What to Look For: In some cases, the foreign object may be partially visible, sticking out from the nostril.

What to Do: Do not attempt to remove the object yourself as you may push it further in. Take your dog to the vet immediately.

If your dog exhibits one or more of these symptoms, consult a veterinarian for a thorough examination. The veterinarian may use diagnostic tools like endoscopy to determine the nature of the foreign body and may recommend removal procedures tailored to your pet's condition.

How Nasal Foreign Bodies Are Diagnosed in Dogs

In cases where you suspect your dog might have a nasal foreign body, accurate and timely diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. Understanding the various diagnostic options can provide you with insights into what to expect at the vet's office.

Physical Examination

The first step in diagnosing a nasal foreign body usually involves a thorough physical examination by a veterinarian. During this check-up, the vet may manually open the dog's nostrils to inspect the nasal passages for any visible signs of obstruction. This can sometimes be enough to identify foreign objects like grass seeds, pebbles, or food particles that are easily visible and accessible.

X-rays and Imaging

If the foreign object is not visible through a physical examination, imaging techniques such as X-rays or a CT scan may be employed. These can provide a more detailed look at the nasal passages and highlight any obstructions that aren't immediately obvious. This is especially useful for detecting objects made of materials that aren't easily seen, like plastic or rubber.


Another diagnostic option is a rhinoscopy, where a small, flexible endoscope is inserted into the nose to directly visualize the nasal passages. This method is highly effective for seeing what might be lodged inside and can sometimes even allow for the immediate removal of the object if it's within reach of the endoscope's grasping tools.

Nasal Swabs and Culture

In some cases, especially when an infection is suspected to accompany the foreign object, a nasal swab may be taken for culture. This can identify any bacteria or fungi present, guiding the vet in prescribing the appropriate antibiotics or antifungals needed alongside removal of the foreign object.

Blood Tests

While blood tests may not directly diagnose a nasal foreign body, they can provide valuable information about the dog's overall health and immune response. Elevated white blood cell counts can indicate an ongoing infection or inflammation, which could be secondary to the presence of a foreign object in the nose.

Each of these diagnostic options offers its own set of advantages and limitations, and sometimes a combination of methods is needed for a conclusive diagnosis. Once the foreign object is identified, a tailored treatment plan can be developed to safely remove it and address any accompanying health issues.

Treatment Options For Nasal Foreign Bodies in Dogs

When it comes to treating nasal foreign bodies in dogs, the primary goal is to safely and efficiently remove the object causing the obstruction or discomfort. Various treatment approaches can be employed depending on the nature of the foreign body, its location, and any accompanying complications. Here are some of the common treatment options:

Manual Removal

Manual removal is often the first line of treatment when the foreign object is visible and easily accessible. The veterinarian may use specialized instruments like forceps to grasp and extract the object. This procedure is generally quick but may require sedation or anesthesia to keep the dog calm and still.

Endoscopic Removal

For objects that are not visible or accessible through a simple manual examination, endoscopic removal may be recommended. In this procedure, a flexible endoscope is inserted into the dog's nasal passage to locate and remove the object using small, specialized tools. This method allows for a more precise and less invasive removal, but it usually requires general anesthesia.

Surgical Removal

In some severe cases where the foreign object is deeply lodged or has caused significant tissue damage, surgical intervention may be necessary. An incision is made to directly access and remove the foreign object. Post-operative care, including antibiotics and pain management, is often required.

Flushing or Irrigation

Sometimes, the foreign object can be dislodged by flushing the nasal passages with a saline solution. This is often used for smaller objects like seeds or small pieces of food. However, caution must be exercised to ensure that the object does not get pushed further into the nasal passage during the procedure.


If the foreign object has led to an infection or severe inflammation, medication such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatories may be prescribed in conjunction with other treatments. These medications can help control the symptoms and speed up the healing process once the foreign object has been removed.

Observation and Supportive Care

In very mild cases, or if the foreign object is suspected to pass on its own, observation and supportive care might be an option. This approach generally includes regular check-ups and symptom management but is only advisable under the strict guidance of a veterinarian.

Choosing the right treatment option often involves a thorough diagnosis and a careful evaluation of the risks and benefits of each approach. A tailored treatment plan will be developed to suit the specific needs of your dog, ensuring the best possible outcome.

VetMed Treats Nasal Foreign Bodies in Dogs

When your dog is in distress due to a nasal foreign body, quick and expert care is crucial for a successful outcome. At VetMed, we specialize in handling such intricate issues with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and minimally invasive treatment options. Our team is skilled in procedures such as endoscopic removal, which allows for a safer, more efficient way to deal with nasal obstructions. With our focus on the comfort and well-being of your pet, you can rest assured that your dog is in the best hands for treating nasal foreign bodies.


Questions You've Asked Us About Nasal Foreign Bodies in Dogs

Still have questions? Contact us here - we promise we'll answer them.

What if my dog has grass stuck in his nose?

If you suspect your dog has grass or another foreign object stuck in his nose, seek immediate veterinary attention to prevent complications like infection or further discomfort.

How do you get something out of a dog's nose?

Why does my dog sound like he has something in his nose?

What are the symptoms of a blocked nose in dogs?

Why has my dog suddenly started sneezing?

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