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How to Stop a Dog’s Nails from Bleeding at Home

Dog Nail Trimming! It can be a nightmare task to keep your dog's nails trimmed. We have been through this struggle.

We feel your pain and we hear you cry 'Help! Tell me your top tips on how to stop a dog's nails from bleeding at home.'

We all need help with this hard-to-do task. Dog's nails grow just like ours and they all need a nail trim.

Overgrown nails cause problems to our canine companions so they must become accustomed at an early stage to having nails clipped regularly. Their dew claws require special attention as these can easily catch if they grow too long.

Most dogs do not like their nails being cut and can pull away and struggle and wriggle around trying to escape.

DOG HAVING NAILS TRIMMED

This makes keeping their nails trimmed a very difficult job and also makes it very easy to accidentally cut too much nail, cut into the quick (blood vessels), and cause a bleeding nail or other nail injuries!

This is scary for your dog and for you and may mean that your dog does not let you anywhere near their paws again!

Who could blame them! The last thing you want is to cause them any pain or distrust in your grooming abilities!

Tips on how to get a dog's nail to stop bleeding are something all dog owners are likely to need help with at some point during our journey with our pooch and luckily we can provide this for you.

Cutting nails is not as hard as it seems but it does require patience, practice, and time!

Nail Trimming Is An Essential Part of Your Dogs Grooming

This part of your dog's grooming routine can be a very daunting prospect for all dog owners but especially if you are a new dog owner.

This guide should give you some great tips to get your pooch used to the routine and keep your dog calm.

As always, use lots of rewards and praise and you should soon have a routine in place that gives you and your dog peace of mind and success!!

CHECK OUT THIS GREAT GUIDE TO TRIMMING YOUR DOG'S CLAWS! 

Guide to Clipping Your Dogs Claws

How Do I Identify the Quick in My Dog's Nails Before Trimming?

You may have heard about the dog's quick. This is inside a dog's toenail.

It is the canine equivalent of a nail bed. It contains live blood vessels. It's the vein that runs into the nail and can bleed if cut.

Unfortunately, the quick is not always easy to recognize.

However, you can often see it! Dogs with white nails or lighter opaque nails have a pink quick that is easy to spot.

CHECKING THE QUICK ON A DOGS CLAW

Note of Caution - It is very common for dogs to have dark nails and/or black nails and it can then be very hard to identify the quick.

Some dogs can have very long and very thick nails and it can be more difficult to work out where the 'quick' starts.

You can buy nail clippers with a light or use a flashlight from the back of the nail which helps with this initial part of the task in paw!

Secondly, you can sometimes feel it! When your dog's nails are extended they will be harder than the surrounding area so if you run your fingers gently up and down their paw pads or nails this should help to identify where there is a quick that may cause pain or bleeding when cut into.

You may not be able to see the quick until you start clipping so it is important to make very small clips of the nail and keep checking after every cut!

Once you reach the gray part of the nail, you have reached the quick. Do not cut any further. You can then file the pointy edges gently.

How to Clip Your Dog's Nails Safely

Make sure that you use the right type of nail clippers specially made for the cutting of dog nails and make sure the size is accurate for your dog.

Identify the quick and then cut ahead. The quick will appear dark because it contains a vast amount of blood so just remove it a few millimeters below to ensure you don't cut it.

Only cut 1/32" (1 mm) of the nail at a time to avoid accidentally cutting into the quick.

If your dog seems to be having sensitivity, you should stop, as this will usually occur right before you cut into the blood vessel.

With dark nails and/or black nails, you might likely get too close on at least one nail. If your dog has some clear and some black nails (our dog has a mixture!), use the average clear (pink or white) nail as a guide for cutting the black ones.

DOG NAIL CLIPPERS

Use sharp pet nail trimmers that are specially designed to cut pet nails.

Dull trimmers tend to crush the nail and cause pain even if you are not in the quick. 

Golden Rule! Stay Calm After You Accidentally Cut Your Dog's Nail Too Short

Remember - Most nail trimming injuries are minor and can be treated at home. It is not a life-threatening incident but obviously, you do not want to cause them any pain.

If you do accidentally cut the quick, the nail will bleed and your dog will likely yelp and pull back.

Say you had exercised caution but still you accidentally cut deeper than you intended and your beloved dog now has a bleeding nail.

A BLEEDING NAIL!! PANIC SETS IN!!

So what can you do now? Stay calm!

Talk calmly to your dog as whenever you panic you may make your dog anxious.

DOG HAVING CLAWS CLIPPED

Your dog is in pain and panicking at the moment. Your panic will not help your dog, instead, it will make your dog more anxious and scared.

Having some treats to hand may help along with calming words and praise.

Apply Manual Pressure

One of the fastest and easiest ways to stop bleeds of all kinds is to apply manual pressure.

Simply apply a clean cloth or paper towel with your hands gently to the areas around the bleeding and apply a small amount of pressure.

This pressure promotes clotting to block the bleeding.

Try to keep a consistent pressure constant for 15 to 30 minutes and then slowly move away and look for bleeding.

After the bleeding stops, you may notice dried blood around the nail. Don't try to clean this right away as this can disturb the clot and cause the bleeding to start again.

One of the Quickest Ways to Stop the Bleeding is to use Styptic Powder or a Styptic Pencil

What is Styptic powder?

This is the treatment used by veterinarians and groomers to reduce minor cuts and stop bleeding. This product is a benzocaine - a topical anesthetic which means is used to help numb pain.

Styptic pencils are widely available near the shaving section of pharmacies as they help heal shaving injuries and mild cuts.

Vets use styptic products to help stop bleeding. You can find them at most pet supply stores and it is a good idea to have one in your pet's first Aid kit if this occurs occasionally at home.

How to Stop Your Dog's Nail from Bleeding with Styptic Powder:

Styptic powder works as an antiseptic clotting agent.

Using a small amount of styptic powder, make sure to remove any excess air from the container.

Take one finger and dip it into the Styptic Powder. Ensure your fingertip is thoroughly coated and then gently rub it on your dog's nail and apply a bit of pressure against the bleeding nail tip for about 30 seconds or until the bleeding stops. It may take a few minutes.

Have a treat or toy nearby to distract them in case they become distressed and try and move about.

Be careful not to get the styptic powder in their eyes or mouth.

If you want to be extra careful, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly (vaseline) as it will also help stop the bleeding and is safe for your dog.

After applying styptic powder or Vaseline on the nail, clean any excess from around their nails using warm water and dry them with a towel or paper towels.

You can also use a great product called Kwik Stop which is widely available in your local pet store and online.

This is especially useful if it has been a while since the cut occurred and the nail is still bleeding. This will help to clot blood within 30 seconds of application time!

Check out this helpful video tutorial:

How to stop a dog's nails from bleeding at home

Click to play

A Styptic Pencil, as the name suggests, is shaped like a pencil and can be easily used.

Using a styptic pencil is very similar to using powder.

Take one finger and dip it into the Styptic Pencil. Ensure your fingertip is thoroughly coated then gently rub it on your dog's nail and apply gentle pressure against the bleeding nail tip for about 30 seconds or until the bleeding stops. It may take a few minutes before the bleeding stops.

Be careful to not get the styptic pencil in their eyes or mouth.

Repeat until the bleeding has stopped and then clean any excess from around your dog's nails using warm water and dry them with a towel or paper towel.

This is a mess-free alternative to the powder.

Alternative Option - Apply a Cold Compress To the Dog Nail

Apply a cold compress to the dog's nail. Use a cloth with ice cubes inside and apply it for about 15 minutes or until bleeding stops.

If your dog's nails are still very short, then you should not use this method as we want them protected from getting too much exposure to the cold.

Alternative Home Remedies to Stop your Dog's Nail from Bleeding - Corn starch, Flour, Baking Soda, or a simple Bar of Soap!

The first time this happens (hopefully the last!), it is likely that you will not have styptic powder or a styptic pencil at home.

DO NOT PANIC! There are some common household items that you can use as an alternative.

Generally, coagulant failures result from people being too scared to apply pressure when applying the treatment.

With any of these methods, you will need to apply a fairly strong pressure on your dog nails when applying the solution.

These home remedies should work for your dog, but they may not stop the bleeding quickly.

You can use the following:

  • Corn starch
  • Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Bar of Soap
Alternative Home Remedies to Stop your Dog's Nail from Bleeding - Corn starch, Flour, Baking Soda, or a simple Bar of Soap

You’ll need to thoroughly cover your dog’s nail with it, and then gently compress their nail with a towel or cloth until the bleeding stops.

  • Pour some flour, baking soda, or corn starch into your palm
  • Gently dip your dog’s nail into the flour, baking soda, or cornstarch
  • If the bleeding doesn’t stop, dip their nail once again (don’t wipe off your dog’s nail before dipping again)
  • Gently compress your dog’s nail with a cloth or towel for a few minutes until the bleeding stops

How to Stop a Dogs Nail From Bleeding With a Bar of Soap:

  • When using a bar of soap dampen it until it gets mushy
  • Push your dogs affected nail directly into the bar of soap
  • Keep the nail in the soap as you apply firm pressure for 3-5 minutes

Infected Dog Nail - Bacterial Claw Infections

Your beloved dog can easily pick up a bacterial infection if they have a cut or scrape near the claw or an exposed claw due to over-ambitious cutting.

They can pick up bacteria from walking or from transferring bacteria from their mouth to their claw bed when licking and chewing their feet.

If you notice your dog's paw becoming red, swollen, or warm to the touch then check for any cuts or scrapes.

Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics that will be prescribed by the vet. The claw bed needs to be thoroughly cleaned and antibiotic cream applied several times daily until it is healed.

It is therefore important to keep their paw pads and claws clean and keep their claws trimmed.

How Can I tell if my Dog has an Infected Claw?

Your dog may be paying more attention than usual to their paw. Make sure that you gently examine the paw - pad and claws and check in between the pads and around the claw beds.

There are some common symptoms that you can watch out for:

  • Swollen nail bed
  • Redness around the cuticles
  • Pain in the foot
  • Limping
  • Seeping Pus
  • Discolored claw
  • Soft claw
  • Brittle claw

Your dog's natural response is to want to bite and lick the area as they think that they are making it better. Obviously, this will make it worse as they will transfer more bacteria to the area.

They are likely to become fixated with the area too if there is a problem so it is best to distract them with a chewable treat or toy or they may have to wear the dreaded 'cone of shame for dogs' or an inflatable cone before you can get access to your vet.

If you suspect your dog's nail(s) are infected, take them to a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible.

A Word of Caution:

If you are not sure if your dog has an infection or not, it is best to err on the side of caution and take them to see a vet.

There have been cases where people thought that their pet had an infected nail but they were incorrect resulting in serious problems for their furry friend. Delaying treatment will cause pain and may result in a more serious infection (and even septicemia).

A veterinarian will cleanse the area and prescribe medication to treat it.

Treatments For Infected Dog Claws and Pads

Paw Soak for Dogs

Paw soaks will be used to cleanse and purify the paw, as well as provide pain relief. Paw soaks are an effective way of cleaning and disinfecting the paws.

Paw soaks may include chlorhexidine or Epsom salts to draw any pus and reduce inflammation while helping with the healing process. 

Topical or Oral Antibiotic Ointments

As well as paw washes, these are usually part of the treatment.

If the bacterial infection has progressed beyond just the claw and claw bed, then your veterinarian will probably prescribe anti-inflammatories and oral antibiotics for four to six weeks to ensure the bacterial infection has been resolved. 

Aftercare for Your Dog

If you are dealing with a clipped nail injury and you have managed to stop the bleeding, let your dog rest for a few hours to encourage the coagulation ('clotting') process. No walkies for this period. This will allow some healing time.

Top Tips on How to Stop a Dog’s Nails from Bleeding at Home

Keep checking the nail every few days to make sure that it is healing.

Be sure to keep your dog’s affected foot clean and free of dirt or debris.

If you are dealing with an infection, your vet may recommend that your dog wears a waterproof bootie on the affected foot when they go outside. The bootie will keep the affected claw clean and dry.

How can I tell if my dog's nail is getting better?

The redness that was present at the cuticles will begin to fade as well as any pus that was oozing from the cuticle. It should become less tender and painful.

The nail may become smaller or the color of it will change back to normal as well as becoming firmer under your fingers.

After a few days, your dog’s paw should start looking better with no signs of infection. However, if the dog is still showing evidence of infection, your veterinarian will want to re-examine them.

You will need to continue with the medication as prescribed by your veterinarian as well as keep an eye on their progress.

Your Dog's Nail is Bleeding After a Walk

If your dog's nail or nails are bleeding after going for a walk, it may be that they have brittle nails.

Initially, try walking your dog on a softer surface rather than the streets. This should help but you must also get them checked out by your vet as this may be a sign of everything from poor nutrition to tumors in the nail bed. If your dog’s nails are brittle, cracking, or otherwise looking strange, take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Your vet will provide treatment to alleviate the pain and diagnose the source of the issue.

Your Dog Might be Nervous After You Cut Their Quick

How do you both cope with future nail trims?

You can make the process less stressful for them by using positive reinforcement such as treats and praise to reward calm behavior. Always stay calm.

After your dog’s nail trim session, it is very important to show them that you are still on their side.

This means not punishing or scolding the dog after a nail trimming session even if they have been snapping and biting towards you or others who come near while clipping nails.

You can use treats as an incentive for good behavior while clipping their nails.

Some dogs will simply not like to have a nail trim and it is important to always remember that you never want to force them into anything they do not like or feel comfortable with because this can cause stress, anxiety, injury to them.

if your dog shows signs of extreme fear or anxiety then it may be a good idea to seek professional help. Watch out for the following signs - trembling, excessive drooling, panting, growling or snapping.

In some cases, your dog may require medication for anxiety or some mild sedation to help with their anxiety. Commonly used medications include trazodone and gabapentin.

You may need to go back to basics and start the desensitization process from scratch getting them used to having their paws handled and getting them used to the presence of the clippers and then moving gradually onto introducing the clippers by touching them to the paws and combining this with a calming voice and treats.

If they react anxiously then let them take a break. try just clipping one nail in the session. Patience is a virtue.

Check out these great tips from the VCA Hospital experts Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM and Lynn Buzhardt, DVM.

Hopefully, you have found some great tips and guidance in this blog post. It comes from experience as this is not an unusual incident with a dog.

You can also teach a rescue or older dog to become accustomed to a nail grooming routine using the tips and techniques above. Just remember, like with all training, to treat them with kindness and patience. Consistency and a calm approach will reap rewards.

Remember that when you start this grooming routine they will be very nervous and will need to be reassured. Dogs respond to different reassurances but usually a calming voice, petting and treats will do the trick and you will then both be able to enjoy the process!

Faq

Will a dog's nail stop bleeding on its own?

If you have cut the quick of your dog's nail, then yes it will likely stop bleeding almost immediately.

However, if this has happened and you are not sure how to get a dog's nail to stop bleeding at home or make their toenails bleed less in general - there is no need to panic! Just check out our helpful tips in this blog post.

How long does it take for a dog's nail to stop bleeding?

This varies from dog to dog and it depends on how deep the quick is.

If you have cut into this, there will be pain for your pooch so they may yelp or scream in pain which can be very upsetting! How long does a dog's toenail take to stop bleeding? For most cuts that occur on light-colored nails, bleeding will stop almost immediately.

For most cuts that occur on darker colored nails, the nail may need to be held and pressure applied with a towel or something similar for around 15 minutes before it stops bleeding.

Can you use flour to stop a dog's nail from bleeding?

You can use flour to stop a dog's nail from bleeding if it has been cut and you want an easy home remedy for how to make a dog's toenails bleed less.

However, this is not advisable if the quick has been cut as applying pressure with something like flour could cause discomfort and pain which may agitate your pooch.

What do I do if I cut my dog's nail too short?

Apply pressure with a clean paper towel or cloth to stop the bleeding.

If your dog's nail has bled quite heavily you may need to apply pressure for around 15 minutes so do not rush this process as they need time to recover!

How long does it take for a dog's nail quick to heal?

Your dog should start to feel better within 48 hours but it may take a few weeks for them to recover fully as the nail needs to grow and protect the exposed quick.

Can I walk my dog after cutting the quick?

It is not advised to walk your dog on the leg where you have cut their nail as this could cause pain and discomfort.

Your pooch will be feeling better within a day or two so it should not be an issue to try a walk after a couple of days and it will then take 2 - 3 weeks until they have fully healed.

Can a dog bleed to death from cutting a nail too short?

A healthy dog will not bleed to death from a cut toenail. Obviously, you will feel terrible that you have caused nail bleeding and hurt your dog (which none of us want to do), and while it may look like a bloody mess, this is not a serious injury.

What is a styptic pencil and how does it work?

Styptic pencils are a common way to get a dog's nail to stop bleeding at home.

They contain an ingredient called "aluminum sulfate" which helps coagulate blood quickly and also reduces inflammation from injuries such as cuts.

What is styptic powder?

Styptic powder is an antiseptic clotting agent that is most often used in pet grooming. Much like a styptic pencil, which is made of alum, the powder stops bleeding by contracting the blood vessels. This stops bleeding quickly. Most pet groomers and veterinarians keep it on hand.

Can I use silver nitrate on dogs?

If the source of blood is a broken or cut nail, you can apply a styptic pencil, silver nitrate stick, or cauterizing styptic powder to the nail. These items can be purchased at the pet store or in the first aid section of the pharmacy.

Also known as Caustic Pencils, Silver Nitrate Sticks are not used as a treatment for minor skin cuts, and should not be confused with a Styptic Pencil. When the material is applied to a wound or lesion, the tissue moisture or blood dissolves the dried nitrate salts, which then chemically burn the tissue. This stings! These should be used by veterinarians.

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