When clipping a dog’s nails, it’s easy to accidentally cut the dog’s nail too short. Sometimes, the dog will move at an inopportune moment, leading to a bleeding nail. In other cases, dog owners accidentally cut the nail too short, cutting into the quick – the “live” part of the dog’s nail.
When a dog’s nail is clipped too short, it will bleed profusely and it’s difficult to control the bleeding with the normal methods (i.e. applying pressure.) So before clipping a dog’s nails at home, you’ll need to have something on-hand to help stop the nail from bleeding because accidents can and do occur.
How to Stop Bleeding if a Dog’s Nail is Clipped too Short
There are three substances that can be used to stop a dog’s nail from bleeding:
- Styptic Powder
- Corn Starch
Styptic powder is something every dog or cat owner should have on-hand. This will quickly stop bleeding in a dog’s broken nail or an over-clipped nail. Some styptic powders also have anti-bacterial properties to prevent the dog’s nail from getting infected.
Styptic powder is the first choice – it’s, by far, the most effective method to stop bleeding in a pet’s nail. But there are a couple household items that can be used in a pinch.
Corn starch is the second choice; flour is the third choice.
Dog Nail Injuries – How to Stop the Bleeding
To stop the bleeding, pour a little bit of the styptic powder/corn starch/flour in the palm of your hand. Cup your hand slightly and dip the dog’s bleeding nail into the powder.
If using styptic powder, one or two dips is usually all that’s required; flour and corn starch are a bit less effective and multiple dips are usually required.
Styptic Powder Uses and the Best Brands of Styptic Powder
Notably, styptic powder can also be used on birds in the event of bleeding during beak trimming or in the event of a broken blood feather. Owners can also use styptic powder to stop bleeding that occurs due to minor cuts.
In my experience, the most effective styptic powder brand is Kwik-Stop Styptic Powder, available at PetSmart. It’s a bit more expensive than other brands, but it’s more effective than the other brands I’ve tried and unlike most other styptic powders, it contains benzocaine for pain relief.
A dog’s broken nail (or clipped-too-short nail) is very painful and limping often results due to the pain (and this makes dog owners like myself feel even more guilty if the pain is due to a nail that was clipped too short!) The benzocaine in Kwik-Stop Styptic Powder reduces the dog’s pain to the point where most don’t even limp.
Remember, you can’t give ASPIRIN® to a dog who is bleeding – ASPIRIN® thins the blood, worsening bleeding! So the pain medication in Kwik-Stop Styptic Powder makes it a valuable tool in this regard.
If you’re looking for another good styptic powder, 21st Century Styptic Powder is a good product (available at PetSmart).
21st Century Styptic Powder is also really effective in stopping the bleeding from a broken or over-clipped nail, along with minor cuts. It’s less expensive than Kwik-Stop because it does not have a pain relieving component. But it’s definitely effective and like Kwik-Stop, it does not have a tendency to clump (many of the cheaper styptic powder brands clump due to moisture in the air, so one day, you’ll open the jar to find that the powder has transformed into a rock! That’s the last thing you need while you’re dog is bleeding!)