Last week I was trimming Sherman’s nails and I got one.
Ugh. It’s the first time EVER that I’ve cut too far down.
Over the last 10 years, between trimming nails at the vet and trimming dog nails at home, I’ve nicked a dog’s quick less than 5 times.
I’ve been working on 1 nail for the last several months trying to even it out. It grew back really deformed after he lost it last year so I’m trying to get it as normal as I can. I incorrectly gauged where the quick was and nicked it.
Luckily it wasn’t gusher but I still had to run upstairs and grab some Quick Stop. By the time I got back downstairs Sherman had walked on almost every piece of flooring that he could, creating even more of a mess.
See what happened there? I got so confident about trimming dog nails that I didn’t even bring the Quick Stop with me on initial trimming. My mistake.
Here’s 5 easy ways to stop a dog’s bleeding nail if you ever find yourself in the same situation as me:
5 Easy Ways To Stop A Dog’s Bleeding Nail
- Styptic powder. Styptic powders contain an ingredient called ferric subsulfate that contracts the blood vessels and stops the bleeding. It’s also considered an antiseptic. The most common styptic powder used is Kwik Stop. Kwik Stop can be purchased at most pet stores and it comes in a little canister. My tip would be to pour the quick stop into the cap and then gently press the dog’s nail into it and hold it there for about a minute. Kwik Stop also contains Benzocaine which works as a topical anesthetic to help ease the pain. Keep your dog still for several minutes after applying.
- Baking soda, baking flour or cornstarch. Grab a pinch and gently but firmly pack it onto the nail. Apply pressure with your finger for a few minutes and allow it to set. You can also add a little bit of water and make a paste. Keep your pet still for several minutes to allow the blood to clot.
- Bar of soap. A slightly moistened bar of soap can work in a pinch for a minor bleed. Simply gently press the dogs nail into the bar of soap or gently drag the nail across the bar. I would try to make sure it’s fragrance free. Keep your pet still for several minutes to allow the blood to clot.
- Styptic pencils. These can be purchased at most pet stores and they work similar to powders. You simply press the styptic pencil on the bleeding nail for several minutes. While styptic pencils may be one of the favorites they can sting because many of them contain silver nitrate so it’s not top on my list, especially if you have a dog that is already a little nervous about having his paws touched. They can also be very messy. Expect your dog to feel it once you do it. We use to use silver nitrate sticks at the vet clinic when the Kwik Stop just wasn’t cutting it. Keep your pet still for several minutes to allow the blood to clot.
- Bandage. If all else fails a bandage wrap may be needed to keep the pressure on the nail or to keep the nail covered so that the dog doesn’t lick it or walk on it creating the bleed to start all over again. Wraps on a nail are TRICKY. In order for the wrap to stay on you need to get it above the wrist or it’s just going to fall off. My advice :try a sock first (unless your dog eats socks, then don’t do that) and tape it above the wrist to help it stay in place. Make sure the tape isn’t too tight. You don’t want to cut off the dog’s circulation. We use to have a whole system for Sherman. Cast padding and lots of vet wrap. He would look like he broke his leg. Now I just use a dog boot. It’s way less dramatic and it stays on.
AFTER THE BLEEDING HAS STOPPED
The most important thing to do once you get the bleeding stopped is to keep the dog still for at least 20-30 minutes. You have to keep in mind that they are walking on that nail when they move so if it’s not clotted it will keep bleeding. Try giving your dog a nice long massage, a puzzle toy, a chew toy or anything that will occupy them for a bit.
IF THE BLEEDING WON’T STOP.
Some nails that won’t stop bleeding will require a visit to your vet and make sure that you’re checking the nail for the next few weeks for signs of infection. It’s technically an open wound that is constantly coming in direct contact with the dirty ground. Any oozing from the nail or nail bed, swollen toes or limping should be seen by a veterinarian.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Stay calm. You’ve hit a blood vessel. It’s going to bleed but remember it will eventually stop.
Your dog will forgive you. It may take a year or so but they will forgive you. (kidding. they’ll forgive you as soon as you give them a treat and put the nail clippers away)
The quick is pink in a clear nail. Cut before this color DON’T cut AT it. The quick looks like a grey dot in a black nail. As soon as you see grey STOP. STOP I said. If you go any further it will BLEED.
Treat every nail different. Not all nails are the same length. Back nails may be shorter than front nails depending on your dog. Nails on the outer part of the paw may be longer or shorter than the ones in the middle. It all depends on how your dog walks.
Have your Kwik Stop, cornstarch, soap or styptic pencil close to you when trimming.
There’s several different types of nail clippers that can purchased at local pet stores. I’m a fan of the old fashioned ugly orange nail clippers. Some people like the guillotine type. I also have a dremel that comes in handy sometimes. I personally use a Crafstman dremel because it seems to work better with thick Newfoundland nails. Dremels are great for dogs with brittle nails. There’s even a nail trimmer that has a quick sensor in it. <–I have NOT heard good things about those, plus they require a battery.
Nervous about trimming your dog’s nail? Take them to your vet or groomer.
So what about you? Do have any tips on trimming dog nails? What’s your choice of dog nail trimmers?
If a dog’s nail won’t stop bleeding after 30-60 minutes you should contact your veterinarian. This information is not meant to substitute for veterinary care.
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