Kennel Nose In Dogs – What Is It?

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Kennel Nose In Dogs – What Is It?

Have you ever picked up your dog from a weekend at the boarding facility, only to discover that their nose is red and raw?

The scrapes on their face can have you wondering what happened during your time away, causing an immediate worry to wash over you.

Though their irritated nose can be daunting, the presence of kennel nose is quite common in pups that stay away from home for any period of time.

Not only can this occur when our dogs are checked into the kennel, but it can occur in the comfort of our home as well.

So what is kennel nose, and what causes this strange nose irritation?

In this article we will discuss the details of kennel nose in our canine friends, and help you better understand why this condition occurs.

Kennel Nose In Dogs

What Is Kennel Nose?

Kennel nose is a phrase used to describe minor abrasions on a dog’s nose after rubbing it against a surface.

It’s referred to as kennel nose due to the fact that many dogs acquire this injury during their time away from home, often at a kennel or boarding facility.

Dogs with kennel nose will typically rub their face on bedding or other materials in their area, leading to the formation of abrasions on the nose.

Their nose and the surrounding tissue will often appear red and irritated, with some dogs even developing a small wound on the surface of the nose.

Their irritated skin may even bleed as they continue to rub, leaving behind little smears of blood around their kennel.

Due to the fact that this is mostly anxiety driven, this behavior can occur in any environment.

Whether it’s a fancy daycare facility or a basic kennel, kennel nose is a common occurrence.

What Causes Kennel Nose In Dogs?

As we mentioned above, kennel nose occurs when a dog rubs their face and nose against a surface repeatedly.

This typically occurs when a dog attempts to bury items within their bedding, but it can happen when a dog attempts to “dig” their way out of a kennel as well.

This behavior is typically a result of anxiety in a new setting, but let’s break it down a bit more.

Change In Environment

A change in environment or routine can cause significant stress for our canine friends.

Whether your dog is being boarded or they are being pet sat in a new setting, this can lead to an amplification of normal canine behaviors.

One of the behaviors that is often displayed is hiding and protecting their food, and many pups will go into overdrive when they are stressed.

Even if a dog is kept in their own area away from other dogs, they may still feel the need to protect their resources.

Rubbing Their Nose Vigorously

The sudden need to protect their resources can cause them to frantically hide any food they receive, often burying their bowls and treats beneath any bedding available.

Dogs will typically rub their nose against the bedding vigorously as they hide their meals, leading to significant nose irritation if they do this often.

The need to bury food typically occurs when a dog is in a new setting, but some dogs even do this when you switch their diet suddenly.

Your Dog Is Stressed Or Stuck In Their Kennel

Not only can dogs get kennel nose when they attempt to bury their resources, but some dogs can irritate their nose when trying to escape from their kennel.

A dog that is stressed in a new setting may pull out all stops when trying to get out of an enclosure, often injuring themselves in the process.

If a dog is rubbing their face against a kennel or attempting to slide under an enclosure, they can easily scrape their face and nose.

What Does Kennel Nose Look Like?

What Is Does Kennel Nose Look Like In Dogs

If you think your dog may have kennel nose, you are likely looking at a red and irritated muzzle.

Kennel nose often appears as skin irritation on the nose and surrounding tissue, or even an obvious wound on the surface of the nose.

These wounds are typically superficial and minor, but they can bleed if they are irritated enough.

If your dog has been rubbing their nose long enough, the muzzle area may even be a bit swollen.

Kennel Nose Treatment In Dogs

Treatment for kennel nose in dogs is often straightforward and effective.

The most important aspect of treatment is preventing any further irritation, as many dogs will continue to rub their nose raw.

To help you better understand the options available to your pup with kennel nose, let’s list some of the most common treatment methods below.


If a dog has given themself kennel nose and they will not stop burying their food, the kennel may need to put an e-collar on them.

This will prevent them from being able to bury their resources or rub their face on the kennel, all while hopefully allowing their wound to heal.

Cleaning The Area

A gentle cleaning of the wound can be enough to prevent infection for most furry friends.

This can be done at your vet’s office if you seek veterinary care, or in the comfort of your home with a gentle soap.

Just be sure to get your vet’s approval first.

Antibiotics (if needed)

If your dog’s nasal wound is showing any signs of infection, your vet may suggest offering them a short course of antibiotics.

This can either be an oral medication or an ointment, but this varies based on the wound.

Will My Dog’s Nose Heal Normally After Kennel Nose?

Anytime a dog gets a wound on their nose, many owners wonder if their nose will heal and return to its original color.

Thankfully for our furry friends, any kennel nose wounds will typically heal beautifully and without complications.

Whether your dog’s nose is originally black or pink, there should be no change in pigmentation once the area heals.

Can You Prevent Kennel Nose?

Due to the fact that burying their food and attempting to escape their kennel can be a natural behavior for some dogs, it’s not always possible to prevent the issue altogether.

However, you can always attempt to make any new settings as stress free as possible.

You can do this by socializing your dog from the moment you get them, taking them to doggy daycare frequently, bringing them along to other people’s homes, and exposure to any other setting your pup may encounter.

Another way to prevent a serious case of kennel nose is by intervening from the moment you see a dog burying their items.

This can either mean placing an e-collar on their head to prevent them from rubbing, or even removing any bedding that is easy to burrow through.

Final Thoughts

Kennel nose is a minor, yet irritating consequence of an anxious pup.

If your pup has a history of burying their food or toys each time they are boarded, be sure to tell the staff to keep an eye out for this behavior going forward.

Peter Schoeman profile

Peter Schoeman

Our mission at CharityPaws is to advocate for the saving of animals from shelters and rescues. Peter has been an avid dog lover his whole life. He currently has a rescue labradoodle and two adorable children. His focus is dog adoptions and partnering with local rescues.

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