I always know when it's time to clip my dog's nails when I can hear them clicking against the floors in my home. I will admit that every time I need to do this there is always a bit of fear that makes me hesitate on this task. I am afraid that I am going to cut too far down on her nail and cause it to bleed.
So, before I even pull out my doggie clippers, I make sure that I know what to do if the situation arises and I need to stop my dog's nail from bleeding. Nothing is worse than that feeling of panic and not handling the emergency situation correctly; it is for that reason that I invite you to read on and you'll never fear clipping your dog's nails again.
What You Will Need Before You Begin
Simply put, you will need your chosen tool to trim your dog's nails, plus the emergency supplies that will stop your dog's nails from bleeding if the unfortunate happens. I suggest that you gather up all your necessary tools, place them in a box, and keep them in that box to have each time you groom your dog's toenail.
The style of nail clippers will depend on you and your dog's preference. According to the American Kennel Club at akc.org, there are a few different types of clippers to choose from. These include a guillotine-style; it has a hole where you place the nail and a blade that snips it off; these are best for small to mid-sized dogs.
Scissor clippers, which are best used on large-sized dogs, are exactly as the name suggests, they work like scissors and black nails and are preferable on tougher-to-cut nails. Lastly, there are the grinder tools, they grind down the nail so there is no actual clipping needed. You may prefer this tool if you know your dog hates to have pet nails clipped.
Your Nail Grooming Box Should Include:
- Specialized clippers
- nail grinder
- Paper towels to dispose of clippings, etc.
- Dog treats
- Dew Claw
- Clotting powder, also known as styptic powder
- Homemade clotting preparation of either baking soda, flour, cornstarch or even a bar of soap
- Cotton swabs or cotton balls
- Our tutorial on stopping dog nail bleeding
- Your vet's phone number, plus the number for an emergency animal hospital
Ultimately, your first choice at a clotting powder should be the styptic powder, as it offers antiseptic properties and acts as a direct clotting agent to stop any bleeding. The other alternatives can also be used in a pinch, but the effect may not be as instant and may not have the same antiseptic properties.
How to Stop Your Dog's Nail from Bleeding
So, you've given your dog a treat, she's busy finishing off the tasty goods and she is all ready to go for you to clip her nails. Then, it happens, you cut too far and cut past the quick, the dark part of the nail where the live part lives.
You need to stop the bleeding, and fast! Here are our step-by-step instructions on how to best stop your dog's nail from bleeding.
- Apply Pressure to The Bleeding Nail
Remember those paper towels that are in your supply box? Grab a few of those and apply direct pressure to the bleeding nail. Wrap the tissue around tightly and hold it in place for 2-3 minutes.
You may also want to reassure your dog, as she will likely be just as shaken up as you are with what just happened. Take a moment to calm each other down before you proceed to the next step.
2. Hold Your Dog Firmly in Place
Your next step will be to stop the bleeding using a clotting powder but be prepared, this may cause her injury to sting. Recall when you have had to put an antiseptic on a cut to disinfect it, it stings right? Your dog's first instinct will be to pull back from the antiseptic, so you will need to hold her down, or at least take a firm grasp on her injured paw.
3. Option A: Apply the Styptic Powder
The best way to apply the powder is to take your dog's paw and dip it directly into the powder, hurt nail at the forefront. The powder will not only stop the bleeding but it will also help with the pain your dog is experiencing.
You may prefer to apply pressure with a moistened cotton ball or swab that has been dipped into the powder and hold for a minimum of 30 seconds. If, after the time has elapsed and the bleeding has not stopped, you will need to repeat the same application process.
If your powder comes in the form of a pencil, you must first dip the pencil into some clean water to wet the surface. Then, apply the pencil to your dog's nail until the bleeding has stopped and the blood has coagulated.
source: Drs Foster and Smith
4. Option B: Mix and Apply Home Remedy Mixture
If you find that you are caught without any styptic powder, your best option is to make a paste mixture with one of the following:
- Baking Soda
Essentially, mix a tablespoon or two with water until you get a thick paste. You can then apply the paste using a cotton swab or applicator and leave on for a few minutes. If the bleeding does not subside you will need to do another application.
5. Option C: A Bar of Soap
If you happen to have a bar of soap lying around, and you prefer to use this option over making your own paste, you will first need to prepare the soap. Run the bar of soap under water until it softens considerably. Apply it directly and with pressure to the hurt, bleeding nail.
Hold for a few minutes before you check to see if the bleeding has stopped. If it hasn't yet, continue to hold pressure for a few more minutes.
6. If the Bleeding Doesn’t Stop
If, after 20 minutes, you find that the bleeding hasn't stopped despite your best efforts, it is time to call your vet. If it is outside of your vet's regular business hours, you will want to call the number for an emergency animal hospital. Your veterinarian may require that you come in for an emergency visit.
7. Clean the Injured Paw
If you have been successful in stopping your dog's nail from bleeding, you will want to give it a rinse in some lukewarm water to clean out the treatment that you used to disinfect and clot the bleeding nail. Carefully dry the area with a clean, fresh towel to ensure that no moisture will be trapped inside.
8. Wrap Up the Injured Paw
Now that the area is clean and dry, you will want to wrap up your dog's paw in a bandage. This will help to ensure that the nail doesn't get infected, but also will help prevent your dog from licking the injured nail, allowing it more time to heal.
9. Give Your Dog Some Rest
If possible, try and keep your dog off of her feet for a day or two. Unwrap the bandage and examine the injured nail to make sure that it is healing properly. If it looks red or is swollen, you will want to consult your vet and see if a visit is in order.
10. Get a Demonstration
Although this experience may scar you for a bit, that shouldn't mean that you can't ever trim your dog's nails again. Your safest bet is to take your dog to a vet or a dog grooming service and talk with a professional about how best to trim your dog's nails.
Don't be afraid to ask questions and to ask to watch the procedure so that he or she can show you how to identify the quick in your dog's nails. By seeing how a professional does it will help you gain confidence and your dog will appreciate your steady hands in the future.
Don’t Get Caught Unprepared!
The most important part of knowing how to stop your dog's nail from bleeding is to be prepared. By having everything you need ready at hand to manage an emergency situation you will realize that even if you trim too far, you will not be caught without a clue what to do.
We hoped you enjoyed our tutorial on how to stop your dog's nail from bleeding as we know that it is important to have a one-stop easy-to-read and understand tutorial for you and your dog. If you have experienced this situation in the past how did you handle it? Did you try one of our methods above?
Do you know others who have made the same oversight and used a different clotting method than you? We would love to hear what you think in the comments below and invite you to share this article with dog lovers alike. Let's make sure everyone knows what to do in this unexpected emergency situation.