It is a nerve-wracking experience for most pet owners—trimming their dog’s toenails. Every pet parent has some amount of fear that they will cut too far into the nail and hit the quick. The quick is the part of the nail that has nerve endings and blood flow. If you cut too far back, dog toenail bleeding will occur.
A dog’s toenails need to be trimmed every two to three weeks depending on how much your dog walks and the surfaces they walk on. Without trimming, nails can grow back and puncture the pad of your dog’s paw. This can lead to infection and some serious discomfort. Also, if nails grow too long it affects a dog’s posture by torquing their spine. If nails are left unclipped for an overly long time serious medical issues can develop.
What Should I do Immediately after Dog Toenail Bleeding?
If you panic this will only upset your dog more. Just relax and speak to your dog in a soothing voice. If you have another person ready, have them get the items you will need to stop the toenail bleeding. Your dog most likely will let out a small yelp of pain because of the shock and pain of their nail quick being clipped into. The pain and the bleeding will subside. It might look like a lot of blood at first but if you act quickly it will stop soon.
Have your dog lie down in a relaxed position to stop blood from getting everywhere. It is important to keep your dog calm as possible so that they do not associate a traumatic experience with nail trimming.
The trust between you, the pet parent, and your dog to cut their nails starts early. Since your dog was a puppy you’ve been petting and massaging their paws so they’re accustomed to humans handling their paws and nails. This is preparation for them having their nails clipped.
Many pet parents opt to leave nail trimming to professionals at the veterinary office or the pet groomers. This is a smart choice, especially when you are unsure of the proper toenail trimming techniques. Unfortunately cutting into the quick is something that will inevitably happen, even if you’ve been doing it for years.
So what should you do to stop dog toenail bleeding?
1. Styptic Powder
One of the most popular methods of controlling bleeding after cutting into the quick is using styptic powder. The powder contains an ingredient called ferric subsulfate which is an antihemorrhagic agent. This will contract the blood vessels—clotting the blood flow and stopping the bleeding within a couple minutes. The powder also contains Benzocaine which works as a topical anesthetic which eases the pain.
The most popular styptic powder used by vets and pet groomers is Kwik Stop. The powder is available at most specialty pet stores. In the event of dog toenail bleeding, pour the ointment into the cap and gently press the dog’s nail into it. Hold the nail there for a minute or so. Make sure your dog is calm and staying as still as possible. After the bleeding stops, wash the cap thoroughly.
Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique first aid kits have styptic powder and everything you will need to address any doggie medical emergency.
2. Natural Remedies: Baking Soda and Cornstarch
Some pet parents prefer to go with a holistic remedy and use either baking soda or cornstarch. The easiest way to use these is to make a paste by adding some water and using an applicator like a cotton swab. After you’ve calmed your dog down and they are lying still, gently apply pressure to the bleeding nail and hold for a few minutes.
3. Styptic Pencils
Styptic pencils work similarly as the styptic powders. However, they are sometimes avoided at pet groomers or veterinary offices because they contain silver nitrate which will sting on contact. Other than this, the pencils are very effective at stopping the bleeding.
Wet the end of the pencil with clean water. Then press the nail against the edge of the pencil. Hold the pencil firm-in-place for a few minutes. Styptic pencils can also work to stop bleeding on light cuts on the skin.
4. Bar of Soap
If you do not have any of the above on-hand and still need to deal with an accidental toenail bleeding you can use a bar of soap. Moisten the bar of soap and work or gently drag the nail across the bar. The best kind of soap to use is a fragrance-free antibacterial soap.
5. Bandages, Wrapping, and Dog Boot
If you have tried everything, and the blood just does not seem to want to stop, you can try wrapping the wound to help clot the blood. This keeps pressure on the nail and ensures that your dog does not lick their wound or walk on it stimulating more blood flow.
Begin wrapping above the dog’s ‘ankle or wrist’ so that it does not loosen or fall off. If your dog is prone to nipping or licking at their healing wounds, you might want to consider tapping the wrap for extra support. A clean tube sock will also work as a quick and handy wrap. Slip the sock over the paw until it is snug with the bleeding toenail and tape the tube part of the sock to the ankle.
You can also use a dog boot which has the same function.
How to Find the Infamous Quick
If you plan on cutting your dog’s toenails at home it is important to be able to identify where the quick begins. The quick is the doggie version of a nail bed. Connective tissue, nerve endings, and skin tissue are tucked underneath the nail plate.
Dogs with lighter opaque nails have a pink quick that is easy to spot. Dogs with black nails present a harder challenge of spotting the quick. You probably won’t be able to see the quick until you begin trimming.
To avoid accidentally cutting into the quick make small cuts into the nail. After every clip, examine the inside of the nail. Look for a whitish or gray dot in the middle of the nail. The more apparent this dot, the closer you are to the quick. When you begin to see the circle, stop trimming with a clipper and switch to a Dremel to accurately shave down the nail.
Splash and Dash Groomerie & Boutique offers nail trimming and many more pet pampering spa services!
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