What To Do If Your Pug Gets Sore Above Their Nose

Why does my pug get sore above his nose?

Pugs are prone to getting sore above their nose, because of their facial wrinkles. Wrinkles are basically small crevices, and dirt and germs can collect in those crevices. Combined with a lack of airflow, they are prone to getting irritated or even infected.

That crevice shape is what causes them to require a little bit of extra care vs smooth skin.

Even among purebred pugs, the length of their nose can vary. Pugs with longer noses may have a larger nose wrinkle, which may reduce the risk of it getting infected, as some air may get between their nose and the rest of their face. Where pugs with very short noses will usually have a very tight nose wrinkle which is more apt to get infected.

My pug Beans had a really flat nose, and her nose wrinkle was smaller, it was tight to eve get a q-tip ito the crevice. Her nose wrinkle would get a lot more hair and dirt trapped in it. My other pug, Frank, had a longer nose, and his nose wrinkle was easily twice as wide as hers was. His needed cleaned regularly too, but it would never be as dirty as Beans’ was. I think his just got less trapped in it because it was bigger so hair could work its way out of his, and it had more access to air.

Regardless of the length of your pug’s nose, keeping that area dry and clean is key.

Pug nose wrinkles can get irritated and sore from any number of causes. From the area staying wet after a bath, to getting bits of food, dust or fur caught in the fold, to rain, tears or sweat getting trapped.

If you’ve used products to try to clean your pug’s face, that may have made the problem worse. For example, wipes with alcohol in them can dry out the skin and cause irritation, as can some soaps. You don’t need strong cleansers to clean this area.

Sometimes when the area above a pug’s nose gets irritated, the dog will paw at it or rub their face against furniture to try to relieve the itch. This can further irritate the area. Particularly if they paw at the area with their feet, as that can introduce dirt or germs to the area.

Sometimes the area can get stinky, even. Check out my post why your pug stinks to learn more.

What to do if your pug gets sore above their nose (in their face wrinkle) #pug

How to care for a pug’s sore nose wrinkle

I found scentless, alcohol-free wipes to be a really easy way to clean my pugs’ facial folds. Alternatively, you could use a soft cloth such as a baby’s washcloth, to wipe the area out with just water. Once a day cleaning is good for maintaining a clean, dry nose fold.

Ultimately, the goal is to keep their nose wrinkle clean and dry. While once a day worked out well for us most of the time, more may be needed if the area gets irritated. If your pug’s face has gotten sore, you may need to clean it multiple times a day until it stops being irritated.

If your pug’s nose is more than just a little sore and is bleeding, oozing fluid or scabbing over, or if it has a noticeable odor, it’s best to take a trip to the vet. Sometimes the nose fold may have developed an infection, in which case your vet can diagnose it and prescribe an appropriate cream or cleanser.

How to prevent pug nose wrinkle from getting sore

To keep your pug’s nose wrinkle from getting sore, you want to keep it dry and clean. Whenever their face gets wet or dirty, clean it with water and then dry it. After a bath or otherwise getting wet, be sure to dry their nose wrinkles. 

After bathing your pug, be sure to dry their face really well. If they go out in the rain, or drink water in a really messy way, drying them off after that can help as well. The goal is to try to keep water from staying trapped in their nose fold. If your pug is a messy eater, particularly if they eat wet food, it may find its way into the nose fold. In that case, wiping their nose fold after they eat can prevent it from getting sore.

Cleaning their nose fold once a day can remove any sweat, loose fur, dirt or dust that has fallen into the fold.

As much as possible, try to keep your pug from pawing at or rubbing their face. With my pugs, I knew that if they were trying to rub or scratch their face, they probably had loose hair or something in there. Whenever I saw them trying to scratch the area, I’d do an extra cleaning of their face to try to relieve the itching and keep them from scratching.

If your pug seems to have skin trouble in general, a change in diet may help improve their overall skin health.

Pug in dog bed

If Your Pug Hates Having Her Face Cleaned

Thankfully, my pugs were pretty tolerant of having their face cleaned. If your pug dislikes it, giving your pug a treat for having their face cleaned can help them create a more positive association with having their face cleaned.

Be as careful as you can to avoid their eyes, and to avoid rubbing too hard, as those can cause pain or discomfort to your pug and make them associate face cleaning with discomfort. If your pug is extremely resistant to having their face touched, you may have to have one person hold the dog and another clean their nose wrinkle.

If you don’t usually touch your pug’s face much, doing so more often can help them to become more comfortable. Ideally, you do this slowly over time to allow them to get comfortable with it. However, it’s important that their face stays clean to avoid infection. If the process of getting them used to having their face touched is taking too long, you will likely to just clean their face at least every few days, even if they are uncomfortable with it. Preventing infection has to be the top priority.

For dogs who are extremely resistant, they may put up less of a struggle when they are physically tired. You may try out cleaning their face after their evening walk, to see if it goes more smoothly.

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