What do I do if I trim my dog’s nails too short and hit the quick?
Here are the general steps to stop your dog’s nail from bleeding if you hit the quick while trimming:
1. DON’T PANIC. It will be ok.
2. Put a clotting agent on the nail, such as styptic powder.
3. Put a small bandage on the area to keep it clean and prevent further injury or infection.
4. Make sure that your pup doesn’t put any pressure on their paw for at least 30 minutes after you treat it.
5. If it continues to bleed past 30 minutes, contact your vet to see if different treatment is needed.
Nail trimming is an important part of a dog’s regular grooming routine. If your dog’s nails get too long, they can break, which is painful and sometimes results in infection. However, cutting a dog’s nails can be a tricky endeavor. When you do cut your dog’s nail too short, you’ll hit the “quick”, a.k.a where the blood supply is located. This is super common, especially if their nails are dark (with light ones, you can see where the quick starts).
If you do hit the quick, don’t fear! Here are a few clotting agents to use to safely stop the bleeding.
1. Corn Starch + Water Mix
Make a paste by mixing corn starch and water together. Then, use a Q-tip in order to apply to the nail. Don’t wipe the blood away, the paste will help it coagulate and heal the blood vessel. Leave the paste on the nail for a few minutes and add another layer if you need to. (*Hint: if you don’t have corn starch, flour and baking soda are also effective in making a paste)
2. Styptic Powder or Pen
Styptic powders and pens are specially formulated for pets. They contain silver nitrate, which is the most effective product for stopping dog toenail bleeds. Apply styptic powder to the area by inserting the toenail into the powder, and pressing a paper towel on the nail to apply light pressure. Use a styptic pencil by wetting the tip and rolling it against the bleeding nail. With each of these methods, your pet may feel a little sting, so be aware in case they jerk away. You may need to reapply to stop the bleeding if they move too fast and re-open the wound.
3. Bar of Soap
Make sure it’s a mild formula, as it will also help disinfect. Lightly wet the soap and push your dog’s bleeding nail firmly into the bar and hold it there for about 5 minutes. If the soap is thinner, you can try and push it all the way through at the end so the soap will stick to the nail and help coagulate the blood. If the soap falls off the nail, try it again.
4. Potassium Permanganate
Potassium permanganate is a powder made up of bright purple crystals and is the preferred method of veterinarians to stop bleeding nails. It also serves as a disinfectant and can be found in online retail stores. You will need the potassium permanganate crystals, water and a Q-tip or cotton swab. Moisten the tip of the cotton in water so the crystals will stick to it. Press the swab onto the quick and hold for 30 seconds. When you remove the cotton, the quick should stop bleeding.
Most coagulant failures are caused by being too shy about applying the agent with the right pressure. You can’t just dab it, you need to hold and press it on so it absorbs the blood at the end of the quick, which in turn, helps the wound clot.
Also, make sure that your pup doesn’t put any pressure on their paw for at least 30 minutes after, and bandage it up to keep it clean and prevent further injury or infection.
Finally, don’t panic! It’s important to always remember to stay calm.
Dogs can read your emotions, so if you’re freaking out, there’s a good chance they will too. Sometimes it can look like a real mess, but in general cut quicks don’t bleed too much, and with the right clotting agent and pressure, stop pretty fast. (However, if after 30 minutes, you can’t get your dog’s nail to stop bleeding, you should consult your vet or take them in for a visit).
If you do end up hitting the quick, your dog may be a little leery of future nail trims. However, with a little positive reinforcement and reassurance from you, they can overcome the bad experience. Also, a few bribes during the process (like a spoonful of peanut butter) never hurts. In general, if you don’t feel comfortable trimming your dog’s nails yourself, that’s totally fine! You have your vet’s office do it, or take them to a groomer.