What Is Kennel Nose In Dogs

Many owners have returned home from a vacation, only to find that their dog’s nose is rubbed raw once they pick them up from their boarding facility.

Some pet parents even find their dog’s nose in this state when leaving home for a few hours, causing them to wonder what would drive their dog to injure themselves in this way.

Our immediate reaction to this nose injury may be shock, but it is actually pretty common among our canine friends. This nose rubbing phenomenon is known as kennel nose, and it can occur due to a variety of reasons.

What Is Kennel Nose In Dogs

Is Kennel Nose Common In Dogs?

Before we discuss the details of why your dog rubbed their nose raw, we should first tell you that this is very common in stressed out pups. Many dog owners wonder if there was something that went wrong at the boarding facility or if some type of accident occurred, but kennel nose is almost always because of your own dog’s doing.

A dog that is stressed for any reason will rub their nose on their bedding or crate, leading to the wound you find when you return from your time away.

Whether your pup stays at five star doggie resorts or they are put in their crate when you leave the house, kennel nose is a normal occurrence.

What Is Kennel Nose In Dogs?

As we mentioned above, kennel nose is most often a result of some form of stressful event occurring in a dog’s life. This could be anything from leaving your dog at a boarding facility to putting your dog in the crate to run errands.

Some dogs will experience more anxiety than others in this situation, causing them to rub their face on anything they can find.

While it may not be effective, a dog feels as if rubbing their nose and face on their bedding or kennel could assist in getting them out of the stressful situation. They may rub their face on the kennel bars as they attempt to bite their way out, or they may rub their face on their bedding in effort to dig their way out. It is not logical, but it happens quite often.

As a result of this constant face rubbing, these dogs will develop a small wound on their nose. It typically just looks as if the dog rubbed their skin raw, and may even bleed based on how severe the wound is.

A kennel nose injury on a dog’s face is similar to you and I falling and scraping our knee, as it is just a simple abrasion.

What Caused My Dog’s Kennel Nose?

Many dogs will suffer from kennel nose, but there are a variety of potential factors behind each case.

To help you better understand why your dog resorted to rubbing their nose to the point of having a raw spot, we will list a few common causes below.

Your Dog Is Rubbing Their Nose On Their Bedding

One of the most common causes of kennel nose in dogs is rubbing their nose on their bedding.

Many dogs nose at their bedding in effort to make it cozy, but this can become excessive if they are stressed. Your dog’s nose rubbing on their blankets could be due to trying to make it comfortable, a stress related digging compulsion, attempting to escape from their run, and burying anything they think is important.

Our dogs have many strange instincts that kick in when they are stressed, and nuzzling at their bedding is one of them.

Your Dog Is Trying To Bury Their Food

As we just stated, our dog’s will tap into a variety of canine instincts when they are overwhelmed.

Burying their food is very common in dogs moved to a new environment, especially in a boarding center or doggy daycare with other dogs. This stressful change of surroundings can lead a dog to believe that resources could be scarce moving forward, causing them to bury their food in attempts to save it for later.

Though our pups don’t need to utilize their survival skills in these situations, they think they do. This is especially true if they are in a setting with other dogs that may “threaten” their resources.

Your Dog Is Trying To Escape Their Boarding Kennel Or Cage

If your dog is covered in small abrasions around their face after spending time in a kennel, they were likely trying to escape.

Your dog’s nose is upfront and center as they try to chew their kennel bars and claw their way out, leading to a raw wound on their nose and other regions around their face. Some dogs will even injure their teeth due to chewing their kennel bars so hard, especially if they do this when nobody is around to intervene.

For example, some dogs will do this overnight in a kennel setting if they are stressed.

Your Dog Is Suffering From Separation Anxiety

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety are most likely to develop kennel nose when they are left in a crate or kennel situation.

These pups can experience severe stress anytime they are left alone, especially if they are in an environment in which they feel trapped. Their symptoms are also amplified when they are in an unfamiliar setting such as a boarding center or doggy daycare.

Dogs can experience separation anxiety when their owners go out of town and drop them off for boarding, but they can experience these issues at home as well. Dogs can develop separation anxiety if their owners are away from home often, if there is a new person in the house (such as a pet sitter), if there’s a new animal in the house, if they move to a new home, or if there are any changes in their normal routine.

Each of these triggers can cause a dog to start digging in their bedding or trying to escape from their crate.

Your Dog Is Trying To Itch Their Face

Though this is the most uncommon cause of kennel nose in dogs, some dogs may rub their face due to localized itching.

For example, if your dog has a bug bite on their nose, they may rub their face on anything they can find to relieve the itching. Dogs rub their faces on nearby items when they are itchy since they can’t always relieve the discomfort with their paws.

How Do You Treat Kennel Nose In Dogs?

Due to how minor most kennel nose injuries are, most cases can be treated from the comfort of your home.

As long as the area is free of any oozing or inflammation that could indicate an infection, you are typically free to clean and treat the area on your own.

The best kennel nose treatment typically involves using a warm washcloth with antibacterial soap.

Gently dab the area to clean up any dirt or debris once a day, as this will help to keep the area bacteria free. Once the wound is clean, you can apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream such as Neosporin or something similar once daily for 5-7 days.

Just be sure to avoid applying too much ointment, as your dog will easily lick this off and be at risk of getting an upset stomach.

While you typically can treat kennel nose at home, we always suggest having them seen by your vet if the wound seems severe, or if there is any sign of infection.

Is Kennel Nose Painful For A Dog?

Due to the fact that most cases of kennel nose only involve a minor abrasion on the face, it’s safe to say that most furry friends are not experience significant pain.

It may certainly burn when the area is cleaned, but this pain should only last a moment. If you think your dog is experiencing significant pain due to their nose wound, we suggest having them seen by a vet to rule out an infection.

How Can I Prevent Kennel Nose In My Dog?

If your dog is known to get kennel nose, you may be looking for any possible ways to prevent it in the future.

Though some pups will find a way to rub their nose no matter what you implement, there are a list of ways to decrease the possibility in the future.

Some of the best ways to prevent kennel nose in dogs include:

  • Letting your pet sitter or boarding employees know about it beforehand, as they can keep an eye out and try to limit the behaviors that cause their injuries.
  • Limiting any bedding they can easily dig and burrow with. For example, maybe these dogs would do better without multiple blankets.
  • Reach out to your vet’s office to see if they can prescribe anything for your dog’s anxiety if you are going away.
  • If your dog does not do well with boarding, ask a family member or familiar friend to stay at your home with your pet.
  • Make sure your dog’s kennel has one of their favorite toys or bones to keep them occupied while you are away.


Can dogs get kennel nose at home?

Though the name kennel nose leads people to believe it only happens at the kennel, this is not the case at all. Dogs can get kennel nose when rubbing their face on any bedding or cage, and this includes those at home.

Can I treat my dog’s kennel nose at home?

Most cases of kennel nose can be treated at home by washing the area with soap and applying a very thin layer of antibiotic ointment once daily for 5-7 days. It should then scab up and heal on its own.

If my dog gets kennel nose when boarding, do they need anti-anxiety medication?

If you know that your dog is often stressed when you board them, then it is never a bad idea to speak with your vet about anti-anxiety medications. These medications could really help your stressed out furry friend, so we suggest at least asking your vet about any options that could make their stay easier.

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