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How to Stop Dog Nail Bleeding at Home in 3 Steps

first aid

When you cut a dog’s nail past the quick it can be SCARY and seem like it is bleeding forever. Here’s how to stop dog nail bleeding at home in 3 steps:

  1. Put firm pressure on the nail, but don’t squeeze it.
  2. Apply styptic powder or styptic gel to the bleed.
  3. Hold the pressure until the nail stops bleeding.

Keep reading for more details about styptic powder, dog nail bleeding, and what to do when this happens.

Can a Dog Bleed to Death from a Toenail Cut?

dog getting medical attention on exam table being held by a vet with someone wrapping its paw

Each nail of a dog has a vein inside it called the quick. Cutting this vein will result in intense and painful nail bleeding. Having said that, there is nothing much to worry about as bleeding nail is not a life-threatening issue. It can be resolved easily provided that you stay calm. Despite the rapid flow of blood, the body of a healthy dog will stop the bleeding in due time.

Will a Dog’s Nail Stop Bleeding on its Own?

Generally, dog nail bleeding does stop on its own within 5 minutes after you have cut the quick. However, this duration may vary according to the severity of the injury. While the blood is flowing, it may seem as if it is anywhere and everywhere. Keep your composure and try to pacify your dog as your poor little pet fights pain and stress.

In some cases, you may notice that a dog’s nail bleeding is not stopping naturally. That could be due to a blood clotting disorder that you haven’t discovered yet. In these circumstances, it is highly advisable to get some professional help.  

Using Styptic Powder to Stop a Dog Nail Bleed

Styptic crystals in a wooden bowl on a red place mat

Most of the nail trimming accidents are minor and can easily be treated at home. Using styptic powder is the most efficient way to stop dog nail bleeding. The fact that it is also the easiest treatment is another reason for its popularity. All you need to do is to apply the styptic powder on the bleeding nail and keep moderate pressure on it for a short while.

Composition of Styptic Powder

Basically, Styptic powder contains two components (Ferric Subsulfate and Benzocaine) that allow it to do the job almost instantly. While Ferric Subsulfate is responsible for stopping the bleeding, Benzocaine makes the dog comfortable by killing the pain.

Applying Styptic Powder

Typically, we use a moistened piece of cotton for applying the styptic powder directly to the bleeding nail. After that, you need to keep some pressure on the nail for a few minutes. If the bleeding continues, repeat the procedure, again and again, until it stops.

In case the injury is not too serious and your dog looks calm, you can dip the nail directly into the powder. Although it does stop the bleeding almost immediately, it can be quite stingy in the beginning. Therefore, you do need a firm grip on the dog while using styptic powder.

Styptic Pencil

Styptic Pencil laying open on table

Alternatively, you can also use styptic pencils for treating minor cuts on your dog’s nails. It is pretty convenient to use but does require some caution. Given the fact that styptic pencils contain silver nitrate, it can get a little messy. Similarly, its stingy nature can cause some discomfort to your pet when applied. If you have the skills to handle it perfectly, a styptic pencil is just the right thing for you.

In order to use a styptic pencil, you will need to add some moisture to it. For this purpose, you can either put a drop of water on its tip or dip the tip in some clean water. Now, rotate the pencil across the bleeding nail of your dog to seal the injured blood vessels. What actually happens is that silver nitrate speeds up the coagulation process to stop the bleeding.

How to Stop a Dog Nail Bleeding Without Styptic Powder?

close up of dog's bleeding paw

Although dog owners should ALWAYS keep the styptic powder in their homes, there are some homemade remedies that can come to your aid in the hour of need. All these methods are not as effective as a styptic powder but they do stop bleeding. Irrespective of the technique you select, maintaining firm pressure on the bleeding nail is necessary.

Using a Non-scent Soap to Stop the Bleeding

The success of this technique lies in the initial dampening of the soap. You need to keep making it wet until it becomes a little mushy. This is the state in which a bar of soap is most suitable for treating an injured dog nail.

Once you have created the mushy soap, push the affected nail directly into the bar. Keep the nail in the soap for around 5 minutes. DON’T forget to keep applying sufficient pressure on the nail, during this time. In order to make it easier, you can break a piece of soap and apply it by wrapping in a paper towel.

In case of steady bleeding, you can wrap some ice within a compressed paper towel to control the blood loss. This will contract the damaged blood vessels which will slow the bleeding down.

Using Baking Soda, Cornstarch, or Both to Stop the Bleeding

jar pf baking soda spilling onto table with cork lid and wooden spoon filled with baking soda

Covering the dog’s bleeding nail in baking soda or cornstarch can also stop blood flow. You will need to cover the nail thoroughly with these household items before compressing it gently with a towel.

Begin the process by pouring the desired food item(s) on your palm. Dip the bleeding nail of the dog into it and peek whether the bleeding stops or not. If the blood continues to flow, dip the nail again without wiping it. Wiping during the treatment is avoided because these chemicals assist the coagulation process. Now, use a towel to compress the nail gently for a few minutes. You can keep compressing until the bleeding stops.

If your dog doesn’t like dipping its nail, you can use a piece of cotton to apply baking soda or cornstarch. Similarly, you can use flour for this treatment if baking soda or cornstarch is not available.

Post-treatment Care

Dog getting paw bandaged by human hands

After you have completed your initial treatment, try to keep your dog off his feet for about 30 minutes. Leaving him immediately on the floor can restart the bleeding as the nail can get re-injured. Use bandages to ensure that your precious companion doesn’t suffer from any other injury. If the bleeding doesn’t stop 20 minutes after the initial injury, you must seek some professional help.  

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