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As many pet owners and veterinarians can tell you, taking care of your animal’s nails is important. But no matter how well behaved your pet may be, a nail trim can be tedious. Dogs nails may be one of the trickiest types of nail trims, and cutting that leads to dog toenail bleeding can be a stressful experience for both pet and owner.

However, a dog nail trim doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your own pets nails take them to the groomer or even the vet. They will be able to properly trim your pet’s nails while keeping them safe and comfortable.

If your dog is experiencing a bleeding nail, don’t panic.

Continue reading to learn how to stop the bleeding and how to properly trim your pet’s nails to prevent it from happening again. And remember, always seek the opinion of your veterinarian when it comes to dog nail questions.

Why It’s So Important To Trim Dog Nails Regularly

It’s a good idea to start the practice of trimming your dog’s nails at an early age. Whether you have brought home a new puppy or an older dog, the sooner you begin to trim the nails of your pet, the more comfortable they will become with the process.

dog toenail bleeding | Ultimate Pet NutritionAn early start will help your dog be less anxious over time when it’s time to trim nails. A relaxed dog who is used to having its nails clipped will make a trim easier for everyone and can help prevent accidentally cutting a nail too short.

The frequency of nail trimming will vary from dog to dog. A typical rule of thumb is to trim as often as necessary to prevent the dogs’ nails from hitting the floor while they are on all fours.1 Check with your vet to make sure you are trimming your pet’s nails as often enough and properly.

Identifying Which Parts Of The Nail To Trim

You may have heard the phrase “cut to the quick” and wondered, “Just what exactly is the quick?” Well, the nail quick is a name for the cuticle of a dog’s nail, or the soft center of a nail that contains blood vessels and nerves.

Most dogs have either light-colored white nails or dark-colored black nails. It is usually easy to see nail quick in a dog’s white nails, but it’s much harder to see in dark nails.

No matter the nail color, though, the anatomy is the same: footpads, nail bed, and the nail quick.2

Now, it is possible to cut too close to the nail quick and the blood vessels and nerves inside. Doing so may cause the nail to bleed.3

Read on for tips on the proper way to trim nails, and talk to your vet for more information.

How To Trim Dog Nails

While there may be subtle variations to the proper way to cut dog nails, the main goal is to keep your dog comfortable in order to avoid an improper trim. An improper trim can lead to pain or anxiety and potentially blood flow (and an unwanted trip to the veterinarian). Keeping your dog’s body still and calm is of utmost importance.

According to the American Kennel Club, this is the proper way to trim dog nails:

  1. While holding your dog’s paw, place your thumb on the toe pad and your forefinger on the skin above the nail bed atop the toe.
  2. While pushing your thumb up and back on the pads, press your finger forward to extend the dog nail.
  3. Using nail trimmers, cut straight across the tip of the dog nail.
  4. Avoid cutting into the nail quick so the nail does not bleed.4

dog toenail bleeding | Ultimate Pet Nutrition

What To Do When You See Blood From A Broken Dog Nail

If you accidentally cut one of your dog’s nails too close to the quick and it starts to bleed, don’t panic. Here are some methods to stop dog toenail bleeding. Of course, you may want to contact your vet for more comprehensive advice.

Apply Styptic Powder

Styptic powder contains ferric subsulfate, a chemical that aids in stopping blood flow. It also contains a topical anesthetic called benzocaine. Apply styptic powder directly to the injured nail and gently apply pressure. It isn’t necessary to clean away the blood from the cut nail, as the blood helps in clotting.

Run The Paw Under Warm Water

dog toenail bleeding | Ultimate Pet NutritionWarm water may be the simplest fix if the dog nail begins to bleed. Raise the dog’s foot under the water flow and then, while elevated, wrap a wet, clean cloth around the paw.

Apply Pressure To The Torn Nail With A Bar Of Soap

Another simple solution may be to apply pressure to the nail with a wet, soft bar of soap. After five minutes of applied pressure, clean the soap off the cut nail using a clean cloth as a swab.

Make A Paste Using Flour Or Cornstarch And Baking Soda

For a homemade remedy more trustworthy than super glue, you can make a paste using flour or cornstarch, baking soda, and water. Leaving the excess blood on the cut, apply a thick portion of the paste and let it cover the wound for five minutes.5

Use A Styptic Pencil To Stop The Blood

A styptic pencil also contains ferric subsulfate and can be used to halt the blood flow from a nicked nail quick. To use a styptic pencil, first wet the pencil tip, and then roll the dark end gently over the wound.6

A Literal Quick Fix

Following the application of any of these methods, once blood clotting has occurred, gently swab the excess blood with a clean cloth and slip the injured foot into a dog sock. This will prevent the torn nail from getting infected and keep the dog from licking the wound.7

If you are unable to apply these methods, place a sock on your dogs paw and take them to the vet.

When Dog Nails Bleed: Know When To See Your Veterinarian

Cutting dog nails shouldn’t have to be a traumatic incident. As a pet owner, you will know your dog better than anyone. Keep a close eye on the situation, and pay attention to how your dog reacts to a nail trim.

Offer lots of treats during the grooming process, and secure your dog’s body to keep your pet safe and comfortable. If you see blood during a nail cutting session, don’t hesitate to call your vet to ensure you are capable of properly treating the wound.

Learn More:
Home Remedies for Itchy Dogs
Dogs and Milk – Not a Great Combination
Dog Owners, Know Your Pet: Do Dogs Have Hair Or Fur?