Clipping Your Dog’s Nails: How to Deal With a Bleed


Q:  I was clipping my dog’s nails and nipped the quick.  Will my dog be OK?

A:  When cutting a dog’s nails, especially in the case of black nails, the “quick,” the 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.

Always be careful of the quick when cutting your dog’s toe nails and be sure to cut at an upward angle, away from the dog’s paw.  If there is ever a site that doesn’t stop bleeding, or you are truly concerned, go immediately to the vet.

With all of this said, clipping your dog’s nails is an excellent practice and habit to be in for many reasons:

1) Shorter nails are less likely to get caught on something and subsequently be torn off at the base requiring a visit to the vet.

2) Your dog will get used to having their feet touched and handled which imakes visits to the vet and groomer easier.

3) Your dog’s nails will hurt less if it were to inadvertently jump on you or someone else.

4)  Shorter nails will do less damage to hardwood floors, painted window sills, etc.

Credit: Reviewed by Andrew M. Streiber, DVM

(WEBVET  4.6.09)

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