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What Is a Dog’s Quick And What Happens If I Cut It?

If someone has recently told you that your dog has long quicks and you’re not quite sure what that means, we’ve got all the answers plus in regards to your dog’s quick. 

First, all dogs have quicks and these quicks are part of their nails. 

What Is a Dog’s Quick?

The quick in dog’s nail is part of a blood vessel. 

The anatomy of a dog’s nail includes the hard outer shell or casing. 

Inside that outer shell is the pulp.

The pulp contains blood vessels and a nerve.

When the quick is cut the blood vessels will bleed and it will be painful. 

On a dog that has white or clear nails, you can easily see the quick and it will be pink or red.

dog nail anatomy

When a dog has black nails, you won’t be able to see the quick through the nails. 

On black dog nails, the only way to visualize the quick is to carefully trim the nail until you see the pulp which will be grey. 

Normally you’ll see a small grey circle and this is where you will stop trimming. 

What Happens If You Cut a Dog’s Quick?

If you cut the quick on a dog’s nail, it’s going to bleed and since it’s a nerve, it will be painful for a dog for a few minutes. 

How much the dog’s quick bleeds when it’s accidentally cut depends on how far down the quick was cut. 

If the quick was just barely knicked, you might only see a small dot of blood and all you’ll have to do is apply a little pressure to the nail with a clean towel. 

If the quick was cut farther down, you’ll need to apply pressure and use a clotting powder like Qwik Stop to help stop the bleeding nail

If you don’t have clotting powder on hand you can use flour, baking soda, cornstarch or a bar of soap to help stop the bleeding. 

See: How To Stop Your Puppy’s Bleeding Nail

does it hurt when you cut a dog's quick

Does Cutting a Dog’s Quick Hurt?


The quick is nerve and it will be painful if it’s cut. 

That’s why a dog will pull their paw away if their quick is cut and some will also whine or cry. 

The amount of pain is based on how much of the quick was cut.

The more quick that’s cut, the more nerves are damaged.

The more nerves that are damaged, the more pain.

For small quick injuries, the pain doesn’t last long for most dogs. 

How Long Will The Bleeding Last?

When the quick has been cut the nail will normally bleed for a few minutes but it ultimately depends on how much of the quick has been cut. 

Sometimes a dog’s quick will bleed a lot and leave a pool of blood which can be scary but that’s what any blood vessel does when it’s cut.

If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 20-30 minutes you should contact your veterinarian. 

Depending on the severity of the nail injury, most dogs are fine after a few minutes but some quick injuries might take up to 24 hours. 

can a dog's quick get infected

Can a Quick Become Infected?

A dog’s quick rarely gets infected from trimming it too short but it is possible. 

The quick is attached to a bone in the dog’s paw and if the nail is injured it can lead to a bone infection which can be trouble. 

These types of infections usually happen due to a broken nail that has been broken to the base and hasn’t been treated.

Signs that the quick is infected can be:

  • Your dog licking or chewing excessively at their broken nail
  • Discharge from the nail
  • Foul odor
  • Redness around the nail
  • Swollen toe

Infected nails need to be treated by a veterinarian and can not be treated at home.

Keep an eye on those toe beans!

how to get the quick on a dog shorter

How To Get a Quick To Recede

If your dog has long nails, it will normally have long quicks.

When a dog has long quicks you can just trim the nails short, you have to wait until the quick recedes. 

It’s normally a good idea to trim your dog’s nails at home about once a month but if your dog’s nails are long and you want the quick to recede, you’ll need to do regular nail trims about every 2 weeks. 

trimming your dog's nail twice a month will help the quicks recede

In most cases, after a dog’s nails are trimmed the quick will start to recede after about 7 days. 

Depending on how long your dog’s nails and quicks are, it might take a few months before you can get their nail to the desired length. 

How To Avoid Cutting The Quick

If your dog has clear nails, you’ll be able to see the quick easily. 

To avoid cutting it, clip the nail before the quick not at the quick and always cut at a 45-degree angle. 

If your dog has black nails, it’s harder to locate the quick so you’ll want to shave off a little at a time. 

You’ll want to avoid cutting the nails from the top of the paw and instead cut from the bottom so that you can see the quick. 

If you look at your dog’s black nail from underneath you should see a lighter, grey fleshy area. 

dog's quick on black nail

You don’t want to cut that you want to cut the open groove part (shell) of the nail. 

If your dog doesn’t have the open groove part, you want to slowly trim away until you see a dark grey dot inside the nail. 

When you see this grey dot, stop cutting. 

Always make sure to have your nail trimming supplies nearby and if you have any questions about trimming your dog’s nail at home, ask your vet or groomer for a quick demonstration at your next visit. 






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