Some of you might be reading this article because you just cut your dogs quick and the bleeding won’t stop. Others might be reading this article because you’re about to cut your dog’s nails and you want to be prepared in case you cut into the quick.
Whatever the case may be, the good news is that getting your dogs quick to stop bleeding is a simple process.
Obviously, you want to do your best to avoid cutting into the quick, but don’t feel too bad if you accidentally cut too deep. This is an experience just about all dog owners go through at least once. Most vets will tell you that the most common injury they treat is nail injuries, and of all the nail injuries, a bleeding quick is at the top.
If your dog’s quick has started bleeding, don’t freak out! It might look like a lot of blood to you, but it’s not. Your dog might be in pain, but they aren’t going to bleed to death. So take a deep breath and follow these simple steps to stop a dog’s quick from bleeding.
Getting The Bleeding to Stop
Right when you cut into the quick, the number one thing you should be focused on is getting the bleeding to stop. Below are five ways to clot the blood as fast as possible.
You’ll notice that all the methods mentioned below involve pressing something against the dog’s nail. The quick is extremely sensitive, so you’ll want to be very gentle when applying pressure. Start soft then slowly apply more pressure. The pressure has to be adequate to stop bleeding, but too much pressure is unnecessary and will cause more pain for your pup.
Compress Wound For Three Minutes
Sometimes the only thing you need to stop a dogs quick from bleeding is to compress the wound for about three minutes with a clean paper towel. A lot of people jump straight to using clotting powder, but that isn’t always necessary.
When you see the nail bleeding, simply grab a clean paper towel and apply adequate pressure for about three minutes. Once the time is up, slowly remove the paper towel and check if the quick is still bleeding.
If it’s still bleeding, then use ONE of the methods below. One will do just fine.
If the simple paper towel method didn’t work, styptic powder is easily the best and easiest method to stop bleeding. With that said, it will cause a bit of a sting for your dog, so be prepared for them to try to pull their paw away.
Pour a dime-sized amount of styptic powder on your left palm. Take your right hand and press the bleeding nail into the styptic powder. Remember to start off with light pressure and slowly apply more. The quick is sensitive, so you don’t want to jump straight into heavy pressure.
Keep applying pressure for about two minutes. Make sure you don’t wipe the styptic powder off right away. Wait for about a minute and see if the nail is still bleeding. If it is, then repeat this process again.
Not only does styptic powder do a great job at clotting the blood, but it also contains Benzocaine, which will help numb the pain after a few minutes.
The reason styptic powder works so well is because it contracts the blood vessels which clots the blood. It works so well that just about all vets and professional groomers use it.
We recommend all dog owners keep some styptic powder in the house. The problem is the fact that most people don’t know about styptic powder UNTIL they cut into the quick. In that case, the following three methods use items that most people already have in their kitchen pantry.
Cornstarch and Baking Soda
If you don’t have styptic powder, you can mix cornstarch with baking soda and apply it in the same way you would the styptic powder. If you don’t have baking soda, you can use cornstarch by itself. However, baking soda by itself doesn’t seem to be as effective.
This should stop the bleeding, but it won’t provide pain relief like styptic powder.
Another common household item you can use is flour. Flour will not stop the bleeding as quickly as the other two, so you’ll need to keep the nail pressed into the flour a little longer. Try to keep the pressure for at least four minutes. Your dog won’t be happy, but that’s how long it might take.
If it’s still bleeding, try it one more time for another four minutes. If it continues to bleed, that means the flour isn’t working.
Last Resort – Bar of Soap
I try to avoid using a bar of soap whenever possible. You can think of this as a “last resort” method.
Grab a bar of soap (preferably unscented) and run it under warm water until damp. Place the bleeding nail on the bar of damp soap and hold it for about three minutes. If it’s still bleeding, hold again for another three minutes.
This method isn’t nearly as effective as the three mentioned above, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Again, this is going to sting, so be prepared for your dog to pull away their paw.
Make sure you dampen the soap, this will not work with dry soap.
Once The Bleeding Stops…
One of the methods above should have stopped the quick from bleeding. If not, skip to the next section where we talk about what to do if the nail doesn’t stop bleeding.
Assuming the bleeding has stopped, there are a few more cautionary things you’ll want to do.
Compress Wound Again
Once the bleeding stops, take a clean (dry) paper towel and compress the wound again for another three to five minutes. This is to double-check that the bleeding has officially stopped and hasn’t just slowed down.
Keep Dog Off Feet For 20-30 Minutes
It’s going to be painful for the dog to walk for a few minutes. Plus, if they’re too active, they could cause bleeding again. Try to keep them off feet for at least 20 minutes. It can be hard to keep some dogs off their feet, that’s where treats come into play!
Have your dog lay down with you, and every few minutes give them a treat. You can also get out a spoonful of peanut butter and have your dog lick away. That should keep them busy for a while.
Wash Nail With Warm Water
Once the bleeding has stopped for 20-30 minutes, you can wash the nail with lukewarm water. It’s best to soak the nail in water for about 2 minutes and then proceed to wash off the remaining powder. This might sting again, but once the powder is off, your dog will quickly forget about the pain.
Once you finish the three things above, you’ve officially treated your dogs bleeding quick from start to finish! That wasn’t too difficult, was it?
See The Vet If…
Unfortunately things don’t always go as planned. You should see the vet if one of the following two things happen.
Bleeding Has Not Stopped After 30 Minutes
At this point, the bleeding should have stopped. If it has been longer than 30 minutes and the bleeding still hasn’t stopped, you’ll need to take your dog into the vet. The vet may decide to use surgical glue to stop the bleeding.
Signs of Infection
Over the next few days, if you notice the nail is red and swollen, see the vet for possible infection. Nail infections that aren’t treated promptly can cause severe long term problems.
Do NOT Use Sanitation Products
It’s tempting to treat our dogs the same way we treat our children. When our children get a cut, the first thing we want to do is use a Sanitation product such as alcohol or peroxide to prevent infections.
We need to remember that dogs are not humans and have different reactions to certain things than we do.
Using Sanitation products can cause an allergic reaction. Stick to the method above to stop the bleeding. There’s no need to sanitize the wound. Just make sure your hands are clean when you apply the powder.
Remember to not freak out when you see your dog’s nail bleeding. At some point, just about every dog owner makes the mistake of cutting too deep.
The best way to get the quick to stop bleeding is to apply pressure for 3-5 minutes using a clean paper towel. Next, use a clotting powder (styptic is best) to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding has stopped, apply pressure for another 3-5 minutes using a paper towel and then keep your dog off their feet for about 20 minutes.
If the bleeding still hasn’t stopped, it’s time to see the vet.
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