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Does It Hurt a Dog When You Cut the Quick?

hands holding a dog's paw, clipping its nails with red and black handled clippers

Yes, it will hurt your dog. When you cut the quick, your pet will feel the pain as well as bleed a little.

When you are cutting nails, you do have to be careful as the quick is not always easy to see. If you are not sure, what the quick is, just continue to read our article. It will bring you up to speed and make sure you know how to avoid cutting this sensitive part on your dog’s nails.

Need to know “How to Trim Severely Overgrown Dog Nails?” Check out our post to find out.

What Is the Dog Nail Quick?

Most people do not know what the quick is. That is because it is not an external part. The hard shell coming out of your dog’s paws is the nail. Everyone sees that part.

But underneath that hard shell is a group of pulp and blood vessels. The quick is the area of the ail where those items reside. There is a nerve inside that area as well and when you cut the quick, not only will your dog feel pain, but his nail will also bleed.

The quick is easier to see when your dog has light-colored nails. But if your dog has dark-colored nails, then you may not see that area and cut it by mistake.

If you do cut the quick, then apply pressure to the nail with a clean cloth. You can also use corn-starch or flour to stop the bleeding.

If you do not stop the bleeding, then your dog will bleed for a long time, and it will be difficult to stop. If you do not know what to do, then take your dog to a vet immediately.

What Happens When You Cut the Quick?

illustration of the anatomy of a dog's nail

This often happens by accident and when it does, your dog may yelp, pull away or try to escape from the area. It is a painful situation for your pet as the quick hold a nerve that sends pain signals to your dog’s brain.

If you accidentally cut the quick, apply pressure to stop the bleeding. You can also use styptic powder or a styptic pencil to stop the bleeding.

Once you have this accident, your pet may not be so eager to have its nails trimmed again. But the pain will go away and hopefully by the next time your dog will have forgotten all about that painful episode.

Also, when you cut the quick, you will see blood coming from the tip of the nail. If you are squeamish about blood, you may want to let someone else cut those nails. Don’t be alarmed. This is a common occurrence and happens to many dog owners.

Sometimes it gets difficult for some dog owners to find the quick because of the nail colors and if this is a problem for you as well, consider using a nail grinder instead of nail clippers. A grinder will grind down your pet’s nails without having to worry about cutting into the quick.

What to Do When My Dog’s Nail is Curled into the Paw? Click here to learn more.

How to Tell Where the Quick is on Dog Nails

underneath view of a dog's paw

This can be difficult depending on the color of your dog’s nails. But to spot it, you should turn your pet’s paw upside down and look at the underneath side of the nail.

Once you do that, you will see a greyish fleshy part and that is the quick. If your dog has light-colored nails, you should see a slight discoloration of the nail. That discoloration tells you where the quick is.

After spotting it, you should cut the nail at a 45-degree angle and take it a little off at a time. This is a spot you have to be careful when trimming. As you trim, look for a dark gray spot in the middle of the nail. When you see it, stop clipping.

If you are not sure where the quick is on dog nails, ask a professional groomer or veterinarian to show you how to do it properly.

How to Tell Where the Quick is on a Dog with Black Nails

Miniature pinscher having its nails trimmed

When you trim your dog’s nails, this color will be the one that gives you the most trouble because of how it looks. The quick is fairly well concealed by the black color, and the gray fleshy area is very effectively concealed next to the black color.

However, if you look beneath the nail, as was previously described, you will see that grayish fleshy area. After you have located it, cut the nail at a 45-degree angle so that you do not cut into the quick and get all of the nails.

If you are still having trouble finding it, you can try trimming off very small bits of the nail until you see the gray color in the middle of the nail. Both of these choices require you to take things slowly and pay attention to what you’re doing at all times. When you are going to be busy with other things, nail trimming your dog is not a good idea.

How Long Does It Take for a Dog’s Nail Quick to Heal

Golden retriever getting nails trimmed by vet

Within half an hour, the bleeding should stop if it is just blood coming out of the nail. However, if the bleeding does not stop, you should visit your veterinarian so that he or she can treat the wound for you.

Depending on the severity of the injury to the quick, the wound will typically heal in a few minutes to no more than 24 hours at the earliest. The good news is that an infection of the quick after it has been cut is extremely uncommon. The following are some symptoms of an infection:

  • If you notice your dog excessively licking or chewing at their broken nail, take them to the vet.
  • Discharge coming from the nail
  • Putrid smell
  • Discoloration around the nail bed
  • Swollen toe

When an infection has developed in the quick, you will need to take your pet to the veterinarian for treatment. You won’t be able to heal this wound by yourself at home.

Need to learn how to cut a small dog’s nails? Click here to learn more.

What to Do When the Nail is Separated from The Quick?

Vet holding a boston terrier

It is recommended that you take your dog to the vet unless you have a degree in dog medicine. You should not attempt to treat this wound at home because you will not have the appropriate medication or the appropriate tools to handle the repair work. Instead, you should visit a medical professional.

Your dog may experience a great deal of discomfort as a result of this, but your vet will be able to provide the appropriate treatment for the problem and will be familiar with the appropriate dosage to give to your canine companion. It’s best to leave these kinds of wounds in the hands of the experts.

You can apply a bandage to the injured area to help stop any bleeding, but other than that, there is not much you can do. Do not attempt to treat your dog with human medication because the majority of human medicines are ineffective when used on dogs. Additionally, they might include ingredients that are toxic.

Some Final Words

Pair of dog paws, showing the nails, resting on a wooden surface

Just like your fingers and hands will hurt when someone cuts your nails too closely, a dog will hurt when their quick is cut. This means that when you are trimming your pet’s nails, you need to go slowly, be gentle and watch what you are doing.

It is easy to make a mistake and when it happens, judge if the problem is severe enough to go to the vet. This means waiting a half hour to see if the bleeding stops. If not, then it is off to the vet for treatment.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.