It’s common for dogs to nip each other’s muzzles during play.
But what if…
Your pooch is also doing this to your nose?
Is this normal?
Keep reading to discover:
- What makes your dog bite your nose.
- Whether it’s a sign of affection or aggression.
- If it’s possible for them to cause a nasal fracture.
- The things you need to do after you’ve been bitten.
- 7 tips on how to make your nose off-limits and saliva-free.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
- Why does my dog bite my nose?
- 11 reasons why your dog bites your nose
- #1: They’re giving some doggy love bites
- #2: They’re so delighted to see you
- #3: They want some bonding time
- #4: They want to play
- #5: They’re overstimulated
- #6: They’re teething
- #7: They think it’s right to do so
- #8: They’re reducing tension
- #9: They’re telling you something…
- #10: They’re investigating about you
- #11: They’re grooming you
- 7 tips on what to do if your dog bites your nose
- People also ask:
Why does my dog bite my nose?
Your dog bites your nose as a greeting, an act of exploration, a way of showing their affection, an invitation to play, a grooming behavior, or a result of overstimulation. They may also do this to get noticed, appease you, soothe the discomfort of their growing teeth, or give you a warning sign.
11 reasons why your dog bites your nose
#1: They’re giving some doggy love bites
If your pooch is being gentle with you, it’s likely a sign of affection.
It means that they’re fond of you. So this may follow after licking you for a bit.
“But why does my dog nibble my nose specifically?”
Canines have different ways of expressing their love.
Note: Although it’s fulfilling to receive love from your pooch, this will hurt sometimes. Their sharp teeth can pierce your skin, and they may also bite harder. So it would be best to curb this behavior as soon as possible.
Stay tuned as I’ll be discussing them shortly. 🙂
#2: They’re so delighted to see you
You just got home and your pooch comes running to you.
So you kneel down to their level and go for a kiss.
But instead of a smooch, you got a nip on your nose. (Ouch!)
They’re just so happy to greet you.
This will also be evident in their high and wagging tails. So also consider this as an act of endearment.
Imagine being away from someone you’re attached to for many hours. And they don’t even know when you’ll be coming back – or if you’re going to or not.
So they’ve been anticipating your return. That’s why they got over-excited seeing you at the door.
Check out also: Why does my dog bite my feet when I get home?
#3: They want some bonding time
“Notice me, hooman.”
Think of it.
So if they do this out of the blue, they might need something. Like a kid pulling on their parent’s sleeve to get their attention.
Your dog could be bored, lonely, or feeling insecure at the moment. So they go to you and demand some belly rubs.
Canines have their own ways to make people notice them.
So, your pooch knows exactly how to do it. And biting your nose might have worked perfectly in the past.
#4: They want to play
I’m sure you’ve seen dogs mouthing other canines’ snouts.
Although it looks like a painful game, they mean no harm as they’re only initiating play. Their biting is controlled and they’ve learned this in their puppy days.
However, can they do the same thing to you?
The answer is yes.
Those soft bites may also mean, “Come on. Let’s play!”
Your pooch is being playful and they want you to throw their ball. Or take them outside the yard for some fun playtime.
#5: They’re overstimulated
“My dog suddenly bit my nose while we’re having fun.
Did I do something wrong?”
Dogs can get out of control when they’re excited. As well as become grumpy from too much stimulation.
They’re having a sudden surge of energy or emotions. And they don’t know what to do with it.
Some panic and tend to grab anything with their mouth. So, your pooch can also bite the first thing they see.
It just so happened that your face is close to them. And your nose sticks most so they accidentally nip it.
Note: If this happens often, it’ll be dangerous. They could leave dog bites on your nose. Plus, it’s possible that they might do it to other people.
#6: They’re teething
“Why does my dog keep biting my nose?”
How old is your pooch?
If they’re still a pup, they might be easing the discomfort in their mouth.
Usually, their baby teeth will start to appear around 3 to 5 weeks of age according to Merck Vets.
Afterward, they’ll lose them slowly around 4 to 5 months old. So don’t be surprised if you notice some laying on the ground.
“How long will they do this?”
The teething process could go on until they’re 7 months.
This will cause a weird sensation in their gums so they’ll find something they can chew on or nibble.
And if your dog is sitting close to you, your nose is probably more accessible than their chewy toy. (Oops!)
Fun fact: Did you know that fully grown canines have more teeth than us, humans? Experts say that people usually have 32. While dogs have 42 adult teeth in total. Wow!
#7: They think it’s right to do so
“Don’t you like it when I do this?”
It’s also possible that this habit was encouraged.
Has your dog been like this since they were young?
If so, they might have been receiving good reactions from you when they bite your nose.
This behavior may look adorable when they’re still small. So they get tasty snacks or some cuddles for it.
And if this continues as they grow up, they would think that there’s nothing wrong with nibbling it.
Puppies who were separated early from their mother and littermates may not also learn proper bite inhibition.
So they don’t know that it’s unpleasant to bite other people, particularly in the face.
Warning: Baby teeth of young dogs are very sharp. This is compensation for their weak jaws during this age. So even if they can’t bite you hard, they may break your skin instead. It’s recommended to discourage them early to avoid this from happening.
#8: They’re reducing tension
“Hey hooman, calm down.
I gotchu. *nibbles*”
Have you observed how dogs calm one another once things get rough?
They nibble or lick each other.
This is similar to when people try to appease a person. But instead of patting their hands on our back or shoulders, dogs use their mouth instead.
Canines also do this to announce that they mean no harm, “I come here for peace. So don’t hurt me!”
So, you might have raised your voice a bit. And they thought they were in trouble.
Or, they’re trying to make you feel better as you seem unwell.
Fun fact: A study has proven that dogs can read our emotions well. They could tell apart a happy face from an angry expression just by looking at people’s photos. It’s also observed that canines lick a lot when they sense a negative emotion.
Don’t forget to check out: 7 Real Reasons Why Your Dog Nibbles On Your Cat
#9: They’re telling you something…
Biting your nose lightly can also mean,
“I’m warning you,” or
“I don’t like what you’re doing.”
If they do this and look annoyed (e.g., side-eyeing you), cease whatever it is that you’re doing. Then step back immediately.
Your pooch might growl after this if they’re provoked more. So stay away while they’re being nice.
Canines may be triggered if you startled them or did something they didn’t like.
For example, putting your face too close to their comfort. Or, holding them up in the wrong way.
This could also be a ‘disciplining behavior.’
In canines, it can be similar to a muzzle grab.
Adult dogs do this to younglings who have rude behavior. This is to let pups know that they’re already crossing the line.
Also, they might have learned this thing from their mother.
Mommy dogs will also do the same while weaning their babies. This is because puppies usually have razor-sharp teeth, so those will hurt them while nursing.
#10: They’re investigating about you
Dogs are naturally curious – especially puppies.
At that age, they’re still learning about the world. So they may explore everything that catches their attention.
And how do they do it?
Using their snout.
Their nose is a powerful tool. As well as their mouth and tongue.
So they could be exploring your nose if they’ve been nibbling (and licking) it for a while.
Because well, you’re their favorite person. And there’s so much info about you in that region of your face.
There are tons of scents and tastes in it. Like the food you’ve eaten for the past hours or the smell of places you’ve been to.
Further reading: Why does my dog lick my bed?
#11: They’re grooming you
Uhm, they’re not cleaning your nose literally.
This is a form of affection as well. And they’re biting you using only their front teeth which is similar to how they groom themselves.
Some people also call this ‘corn-cobbing’ because it looks like they’re munching a corn cob.
Aside from your nose, they can also do this to your clothes, hair, or hands. As well as blankets or their toys.
7 tips on what to do if your dog bites your nose
#1: Teach them that your face and body is off-limits
It’s not safe for your dog to always mouth and bite you, especially in the face.
I’m sure your pooch wouldn’t want to hurt you but accidents can happen. So, if they’re teething or doing this as a habit, divert their focus onto something else.
What could be perfect for this?
Some teething toys that they may chew instead.
But, ensure that they’re made of non-toxic and durable materials.
Aside from toys, they’ll also love to play some games.
This is also one of the reasons why they’re asking your attention in the first place. So, avoid ‘jaw sparring’ with them using your hands.
Engage your dog with fun activities that don’t need any direct contact with you. Like a tug of war, fetch, or catching frisbees.
#2: Avoid punishments
Although your dog is only nibbling you out of affection, it may still hurt.
Especially if they’re still a pup who has a set of pointed teeth. Or if they didn’t pay much attention and bit you harder accidentally.
But still, avoid punishing your dog.
This would only lead to more aggressive behavior in the future.
#3: Use positive reinforcement along the way
The golden rule in this is to reward only good behavior and ignore the bad ones.
So if your dog keeps on biting you, get up or stay away from them. Avoid staring or talking to them as these still count as a form of attention.
Also, refrain from giving any reactions. Just yelp loudly to let them know that you’re hurt.
Then shower them with rewards whenever they’re not nibbling you.
#4: Help them inhibit their bite
This is a crucial stage for them.
And if they have no other doggy companions that’ll correct their behavior, it’s your responsibility as their parent to do so.
How can you do this?
Whenever they bite your nose or any parts of your body, let out a sharp cry. Instead of scolding or punishing them physically.
Say “ouch!” or “that hurts!”, as yelping will startle them. This will then make them freeze for a bit and stop nibbling.
Do this every time they come and try to bite you.
Note: Be careful of rewarding them when they cease for a few seconds. This can reinforce the behavior. Or they would think that it’s some kind of a play.
Before doing it, ensure that they’re fully settled down. Meaning, they’re lying quietly on the ground and they’re not focusing on you. Only then can you praise and give them treats for behaving.
But, if this method doesn’t work on your pooch, ASPCA says you should…
#5: Give them short time-outs
If your dog still bites you right after you yelp, turn your back and ignore them for about 20 seconds.
When they start doing it again, move away from them. Wait for a few seconds. Then get back to them and initiate play.
Keep doing this until they learn that fun will only resume if they stop biting.
#6: Spend more quality time together
Your dog may also bite your nose for attention.
But even if they don’t, it’s still important to bond with them and make them feel loved. Even a few minutes of bonding will do as long as you do this every day.
Taking them for walks is one thing. As well as introducing new games or exciting activities.
But the most important thing is, cuddles!
Nibbling is a sign of affection, so make sure that you’re giving back the love you receive.
By doing these, they may feel content and happy. And it could prevent them from nipping you all the time.
#7: Let them meet other doggos
If they’re the only pet at home, playing with other furry pals may help them be gentle and act more politely.
Give your dog more opportunities to socialize with others.
But, this is provided that the canines are all vaccinated and not aggressive. As well as your pooch, to avoid any problems.
You can invite your friends’ or relatives’ dogs over. Or, you could sign them up for a puppy class.
What makes them high-value ones is that your dog doesn’t receive them often. so when they do, it’s like a special occasion. Kind of like what eating cake is. A B-Day dessert.
People also ask:
Why does my dog play bite my nose?
Often, they do this to start a game because they want to play. It’s normal canine behavior. And they mouth each other to begin a ‘jaw fight.’
However, they’ll only do this lightly not to hurt one another. And this is also their way of learning how to control their bite.
While you’re playing, they might become over-excited as well. So they may grab the first thing they see.
But, if this comes with a slight growl, they could be annoyed by something you did. So they snap or bite as a warning.
You may also like: 13 Reasons Why Your Dog Rubs Itself On The Carpet + 9 Tips
What does it mean when a dog nibbles your nose?
Your dog nibbles your nose because they’re expressing their fondness, grooming, or appeasing you. If they do this frequently, it could also be a learned behavior.
They might have been rewarded for acting this way in the past. So from then on, they know that they’ll get your attention if they nip it.
Why does my puppy nibble my nose?
Your puppy nibbles your nose because they could be teething, exploring things, learning bite inhibition, or demanding some attention.
If they’re close to your face, they might be fascinated by it. Or, they want to know more about you, so they nibble (and lick) to inspect your taste and scent.
Also, the growth of their teeth will cause discomfort. So they’ll tend to mouth at anything they see, and your nose is no exception to this.
Read this article next: Why does my dog nibble my clothes?
What do you do if your dog bites your nose?
If your dog bites your nose and there’s a wound, clean it immediately with running water and soap.
Gently press near the area to let out some blood. Do this to clear off the germs inside.
Next, stop the bleeding by applying pressure on it using a clean cloth. Then, apply an antibacterial cream or lotion.
When your skin isn’t scraped, wash it with warm water instead. Dry it. And you may also put some ointment to be sure.
But, this is only a treatment for minor dog bites.
“So when should I see a doctor if a dog bit my nose?”
If it’s more than a scratch, it wouldn’t hurt to see a doctor. Also, if your pooch isn’t updated on rabies shots.
When you’re still hesitant, observe your wound for a few minutes.
It’s only normal for it to turn red and swollen. But it shouldn’t last for up to 24 hours.
Go to the hospital immediately if:
- You get a fever.
- The inflammation of the skin gets worse.
- You notice yellowish liquid (pus) coming out.
- It doesn’t stop bleeding even if you apply pressure on it.
Note: Getting an expert’s help will give you peace of mind. Plus, you’ll be given antibiotics to avoid possible infections.
Can a dog bite break your nose?
A dog bite can break your nose. They have strong jaws and it isn’t impossible if a small one did it to you rapidly.
However, nasal bone fractures aren’t common according to studies. This is because it usually results in soft tissue injuries. As well as facial nerve damage in some cases.
But, ‘love bites’ and ‘grooming nibbles’ isn’t harmful as they’re not putting any pressure on their jaws.