by ANDREW M. STREIBER, DVM

Q:  If while clipping my dog’s nails I nip the quick, what happens to dog?     

A:  Clipping your dog’s nails is an excellent practice and habit to get into for many reasons – shorter nails are less likely to get caught on something and subsequently be torn off at the base (requiring a visit to the vet), dogs get used to having their feet touched / handled (good for visits to the vet), they will scratch / hurt less if your dog were to inadvertently jump on you or someone else, and shorter nails will do less damage to a home’s hardwood floors, painted window sills, etc.

When cutting a dog’s nails, often times, especially in the case of black nails, the “quick,” or nail’s blood supply, may be accidentally nicked or cut.  While it can be a temporary and mildly painful condition for the animal, there is no need to administer an analgesic (pain control medication).  In most cases, due to the clotting factors contained in an animal’s blood, the bleeding will stop on its own with the application of a small amount of direct pressure with a cloth, tissue or bandage at the site of the bleed.  In other cases, applying a dab of cornstarch or baking soda to the site of the bleed will usually bring the same result.

Credit: Reviewed by Dr. Amy I. Attas

(WEBVET  2.18.09)