How to Stop Dog Nail Bleeding

Dogs are indeed man’s best friend. To most people, dogs are more than friends, they are considered family. Because of this, dog lovers see to it that their dogs are given the best treatment. Hence, the rise of establishments offering luxurious services for pets, like pet hospitals, spas and hotels. However, there are dog grooming chores that an owner must, sometimes, do themselves. This is the case when it comes to nail trimming.

Just like human hair and nails, dog nails grow quite fast. Those who have done this before would know that there is an art to this. Let your dog’s claws grow too long and you run the risk of getting hurt from the claws. You also run the risk of exposing your dog to infection if ever his or her nails break. But if you cut your dog’s claws too short, his or her nails will bleed. The following is a guide in trimming your dog’s nails and some remedies in the event of dog nail bleeding.

Why should I trim my dog’s nails?

Dog nail trimming is an important part of dog grooming. Aside from the aforementioned reasons, long nails can cause injury and pain to your dog. A long nail will hurt a dog when he or she stands up. It can also affect the way they walk or run. Long nails have the tendency to curl into the skin which can be very painful for the dog.

The need for nail trimming differs for every dog. Dogs that play in softer surfaces may need to have their nails cut more regularly. Softer surfaces like carpeting, dirt paths and grass, do not provide the friction needed to file down the nails.

How do I trim my dog’s nails?

Most pets will be very uneasy and may act out while their nails are being trimmed. Most dogs would yelp, squirm and cry during the process. Veterinarians recommend that owners should trimming the nails of their dog while it is still a puppy to get it used to the process. In doing so, you lessen their fear of it and make it much easier for yourself to do the task.

First, establish a routine with your dog. Some dogs will obligingly lie down on the table or sit down on your lap to have their nails clipped, but some will put up a fight. Therefore, some form of restraint must be applied, just enough to keep them still. You can also lay your dog on top of the table and drape your arms over the dog’s body. This position works like a hug and also makes your beloved pet feel much safer.

Another option is to lay your pet down on their side. Place your less dominant hand and upper body to keep your dog from getting up. Trim the dog’s claws using your other hand. If you have someone to help you, allow them to hold your pet instead, so you have full use of both your hands. This should make the process much quicker and easier to manage.

As for the cutting instrument, you have two options: the scissors type and the guillotine type. The scissors clipper, as its name suggests, it works much like a pair of scissors. This type is considered best for dogs with thicker and bigger nails. A guillotine clipper, on the other hand, has a stationary ring and a blade right at its tip. The nail is placed into the stationary ring and the blade will cut it. This type of clipper is made for dogs with thin to medium thick nails.

Aside from the aforementioned cutting tools, some dog owners chose to use a dremel instead. A dremel is an electronic tool which works much like a nail file. It sands down the nails using a rotating grit.

TIP: Cut the claw around 2 millimeters from the quick. Note the difference in the color of the nail and the quick. For dogs with light colored nails, the quick is rather easy to distinguish from the nail. The quick will look lighter and more pinkish than the rest of the nail. If your dog seems to be agitated, stop the trimming after cutting a few and resume after an hour or so. This is to avoid stressing them out.

When cutting dark-colored nails, it is better to only cut the sharp-pointed tip part. The wider parts of the nail should be cut in caution as these may already be a part of the quick. With each cut, take a look at the cross section of the nail. As you get closer to the quick, the center will turn into a light gray and fleshy white color. If you have any doubts, stop trimming and turn to a professional instead.

What happens if I cut my dog’s nails too short?

A dog’s nail anatomy is a bit more complicated than human nails. A dog’s nail comprises of an outer hard shell and a soft cuticle made up of blood vessels and nerves. The cuticle is also known as the “quick”.

You will know you have cut into the quick if the nail starts to bleed or your dog yelps in pain. If the sudden crying or yelping of the dog is not accompanied by nail bleeding, this could mean that the cut was made close to the quick.

Five ways to treat dog’s bleeding nails

When you cut your dog’s nails a little too short, do not panic. Your dog will feel your fear and panic. Be as calm as possible and do perform these remedies in case of dog nail bleeding:

  1. Styptic powder or pencil

Styptic is an antihemorraghic agent that stops bleeding by contracting the tissues and sealing the injured blood vessels. It comes in two forms: pencil and powder. Styptic powder usually contains Benzocaine, a topical anaesthetic that will ease your dog’s pain. Aside from this, it will also help prevent infection.

Before applying styptic, wipe the blood from the injury using a tissue or wet towel. To use styptic powder, dip a moistened q-tip or swab into the powder. Apply this on to the bleeding nails using a moderate pressure to avoid hurting your dog. Do this for a few minutes or until the bleeding stops. But if your dog is calm enough, you can directly dip your dog’s paws into the powder to stop the bleeding instantly

As for styptic pencils, there is no longer a need to use a q-tip or swab. Just dip the pencil in water to moisten it and then it’s ready for use.

NOTE: Styptic pencils usually contain silver nitrate which may leave stains on the skin or furniture.

  1. Baking Soda, Flour or Cornstarch

If you do not have any styptic powder or pencil on hand, you can make use of baking soda paste. To make a baking soda paste, simply mix baking soda with water until you create a thick paste. Use an applicator such as a q-tip or swab to apply the paste on to your dog’s injured nails. Leave the mixture on for a few minutes or until the bleeding stops. If you do not have baking soda, you can alternatively use flour or cornstarch.

The baking soda, flour and cornstarch mix do not work as fast as the styptic powder or pencil does. It takes it a few more minutes to fully take effect, but it does serve the purpose of being an effective first aid remedy.

  1. Bar of Soap

Another home remedy for dog nail bleeding is using a bar of soap. Note, however, that the bar of soap must be fragrance free and of mild formula. Soaps with harsh chemicals will only make matters worse for you and your dog.

To do this, simply place your dog’s paw on top of the bar of soap for a few minutes or until the bleeding stops. You can also swipe or drag your dog’s paw across the soap making sure it touches the injured spots.

If a clot or plug doesn’t form, repeat the process again, ensuring that there is enough pressure between the dog’s paws and the bar of soap.

  1. Potassium Permanganate

Potassium Permanganate is a medication typically used in treating dermatitis and for cleaning wounds. It is considered as a strong oxidizing agent that easily dissolves in water resulting into a purple or pink solution. It usually comes in the form of bright purple crystals.

To use potassium permanganate to stop dog nail bleeding, start by dipping a q-tip or swab into water. After moistening the swab, dip it into the potassium permanganate, making sure that the crystals latch onto it. Press the applicator to the bleeding area and hold it there for a few seconds or until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding continues, repeat the process and hold the swab in place for at least five minutes.

  1. Bandage

If the aforementioned first aid items are not present in your house, use a bandage and an ice pack to stop the bleeding. Carefully wrap your dog’s paw with the bandage while making sure that just the right amount of pressure is applied on to it. It is also a good idea to first put a sock over the injury first before putting the bandage.

After doing this, make sure that your dog does not put too much pressure on the injured paw. Pressure may cause the paw to bleed again. Check the nails for any signs of infection after a few days.

If the bleeding does not stop within 20 to 30 minutes or if the injury gets infected, contact your veterinarian immediately. Any swelling or continuous bleeding or limping are tell-tale signs that the injury might be infected.

Dog nail grooming is a bit tricky. But it is an important part of dog grooming. The next time you trim your dog’s nails, take note of the tips provided here. By learning how to do this yourself, not only will you be able to save money, you’ll also create a bonding experience for you and your beloved pet. Just remember to be careful and should something happen, just apply all of the first aid remedies we have provided here.

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