Occasionally, your pup might have an incident while out on a nature walk, digging in the dirt, or jumping off of something in the yard that causes a nail injury and bleeding.
You might have also given your pet a doggie pedicure and during nail trimming cut its nails just a tad short because the nail quick wasn’t visible.
Regardless of the reason, a bleeding dog nail isn’t usually serious, and you can treat it with some home remedies, lots of encouragement, and a few treats.
Things that Cause a Dog Nail to Bleed
It’s unsettling to see your dog walking or limping while leaving a trail of bloody paw prints behind. Canine nail injuries happen pretty often and for a variety of reasons. Although some may cause your pup to feel pain, most cases are relatively benign and can be treated quickly and effectively.
Following are some of the more common causes of a bleeding dog nail or claw.
Rough Walking Surfaces
Your dog’s nails consist of a keratin substance, and they constantly grow, just like human nails. The nails wear down from daily walking, which doesn’t hurt them and can keep them relatively short. However, if your pup is running on a rough patch of pavement, for example, it can get a nail caught in a crack or torn and sustain a bleeding injury. If the nail tears most of the way off, the hanging part can be very painful for your dog and might require a vet visit.
If your pet did not have its dewclaws removed as a puppy, it could also catch one of them on something and cause tearing and injury.
Take care to keep your dog’s nails trimmed so that you don’t hear any clicking when it walks on the floor. This maintenance allows the canine to use its claws for traction when needed but keeps the nails out of harm’s way otherwise.
Brittle Claws or Nails
If you have seen blood on your dog’s nails after a typical walk in the neighborhood, your pooch might have a vitamin deficiency rather than an injury. If your pup isn’t getting the nutrients it needs from its daily food, the keratin in its nails can become weak and brittle. Your vet should be able to diagnose any nutrient deficiencies and give you a treatment plan to help your pup get better.
Chewing or Biting
Just like humans, dogs bite their nails too. Several things can trigger biting or chewing, so you might need to observe your dog for a bit or see your vet for a canine checkup.
One of the more common causes of biting or chewing is pain from overgrown nails. As a dog’s nails grow, they curl under and, if not trimmed, can place painful pressure on the paws when a dog walks. Your canine might chew the nails down but could do a poor job of it, leaving rough edges to catch on the rug or draw blood from chewing too much. If this seems to be the culprit, it’s best to trim your dog’s overgrown nails to prevent further issues from developing.
Dogs can sometimes develop tufts of compacted fur growing between their nails or paw pads, which becomes uncomfortable or painful over time. This condition prompts the pup to chew at its nails, sometimes causing bleeding, while trying to pull out the uncomfortable fur from between its claws.
Keeping your pup’s nails trimmed and cutting away excess fur between the nails or paw pads can keep Fido from this type of chewing.
Other causes of nail chewing include boredom, anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or allergies, possibly from grass or other walking surfaces. You can work with your vet to rule out these causes and find the proper treatment to help Fido’s paws feel better.
Clipping Nails Too Short
Your pup’s nails have something inside called the quick, which is like your dog’s cuticle. It contains nerves and blood vessels, and it bleeds easily if cut. If a canine has light-colored nails, you can see the quick, which looks like a darker core in the nail, and know-how far you can trim the nails.
However, darker nails make it harder or impossible to see where the quick starts, and even professional groomers can sometimes trim too far and cause the dog’s nails to bleed. Some groomers use a dog nail grinder, rather than a clipper, to trim nails so that they can see if they’re cutting into the quick before causing any bleeding.
Also, note that the longer a dog’s nails, the longer the quick, usually. If you don’t do a dog’s nail trimming until they’re pretty long, the quick will also become long, making it almost impossible to cut the dog’s nails without any bleeding.
If you cut into the quick, your dog will probably jump or wince because of the pain and try to lick its injured nail. This incident could create a fear response and make your pup more reluctant to have its nails trimmed in the future.
Trimming nails short regularly keeps the quick short, keeps the nails healthy, and makes the trimming experience less traumatic for your pet.
How to Stop A Dog’s Nail From Bleeding
Whether your pup has a bleeding nail because of something you’ve done or another cause, to stop a dog’s nail from bleeding, you must stay calm so that you can keep your pet from becoming anxious while you treat its injury. Your canine might struggle to get away because of the pain, so it also helps if you have a second person to assist you.
Clean and Apply Pressure
Before trying any treatments, clean your dog’s paw and nails so that you can assess what has happened. Don’t use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or any of the typical medicines you might use for a human. Your dog could have an allergy or sensitivity, and all you need is a paper towel to wipe its paw and another towel so that you can wrap the paw and apply pressure until the bleeding stops.
Applying pressure might be all your pup’s injured nail needs to stop the bleeding. You can also try holding your pet in a position where you can keep its paw elevated, which uses gravity to help stem the blood flow, along with the applied pressure.
Use a Styptic Pencil or Powder
This standard remedy works by causing the blood to immediately clot and stop flowing. You can find styptic powder or styptic pencils at any drugstore, and each works the same. The formula contains silver nitrate, which also works as an antibacterial agent. You might have heard of styptic pencils as a remedy to stop the bleeding after nicking yourself from shaving.
Using styptic powder, you can apply it directly to the bleeding nail, which should stop the blood flow immediately. If using a styptic pencil, you might need to wet the tip before applying it to the wound. Applying the pencil or powder might sting, so be ready to keep your pup still and soothe or distract it with treats and a calm voice.
Use Common Kitchen Items
In a pinch, when you don’t have any styptic products and your dog’s nail keeps bleeding, a few kitchen items can work almost as well as a styptic powder to stop the nail from bleeding. Basically, you want to use substances with highly absorbent qualities and are safe and edible if your dog licks its paws. Try cornstarch, which can absorb large amounts of liquid. If you don’t have any on hand, try white flour or baking soda.
Use these powders by pouring a small pile of the ingredient into your hand and then applying it to your dog’s paw. Apply pressure and hold the paw for a minute or two. You can also add some water, make a paste, and then apply this to your dog’s paw. After applying, wrap with a paper towel and apply pressure.
Use Soap or Glue
If you happen to be someplace without kitchen items, and you can’t get to a vet or a store, there are a few more options to try if you have them on hand.
Bar soap can be used to stop blood flow and hasten blood coagulation in the case of a minor wound. Don’t use this if your canine has a more severe injury. Try to use only unscented soap, as you could trigger a reaction in your dog if using scented or perfumed soap. Moisten the bar of soap, and once it’s softened, use your nail or a knife to scrape off some of the soap and apply it to the dog’s nail. Then wrap the nail and apply pressure.
Super glue sounds like an odd treatment, but it works, and doctors use the active ingredient in super glue to close surgical wounds. That nail glue in your purse or superglue in your camping kit has another use! Once you locate the injury on your dog’s nail and wipe it clean, apply glue and hold the nail together while it dries. Make sure that your dog cannot lick the glue while it’s bonding. Once dry, the nail has a chance to heal, and the glue will fall off within a few days.
Use a Compression Bandage
If your dog’s nail is still bleeding, you can wrap it with a compression bandage and keep it in place for an hour or two. Even if you apply styptic powder or kitchen items to clot the blood, applying compression with a bandage will help keep the wound from bleeding again once your dog starts walking on its paw.
You don’t want to wrap the bandage so tight that it cuts off your pup’s circulation, though. Just wrap the wound with enough compression that it’s pressed together, and the blood has a chance to coagulate and seal the injury.
What to Do After the Bleeding Stops
Keep your pet calm and quiet, and try to prevent it from walking on its injured paw for at least 30 minutes. This action gives the wound a chance to seal itself so that once your canine puts its weight on the paw, the nail won’t have any further bleeding.
Depending on the severity of your pet’s injury, its nail might still bleed after you’ve applied pressure and used the methods above. Your dog could have torn its nail further up or have a wound that’s too large for home treatment and requires attention from a vet. If the nail still has blood flowing after about 20 minutes, call or visit your local vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How long does it take for a dog’s nail to stop bleeding?
If the wound is superficial, you should be able to stop your dog’s nail from bleeding within five to 10 minutes. First, apply pressure and elevate your pup’s paw if possible, then try a substance such as styptic powder to help the blood clot. If the wound takes longer to bleed, or if it’s still bleeding freely after applying pressure for 10 to 20 minutes, it would be best to take your pet to the vet for treatment.
2. Can you use flour to stop a dog’s nail from bleeding?
Yes, you can use flour to absorb the blood and stop the bleeding. You can also use cornstarch, which has even more absorbent power, or baking soda. Whichever you choose, after applying the powder, wrap your pet’s paw in a towel and apply gentle pressure to help the blood clot and seal the wound against further bleeding.
3. What happens if you cut a dog’s nail too short and it bleeds?
In most cases, while this might cause your pup pain, you can stop a dog’s nail from bleeding in short order if you take care of it right away. Start by wrapping the dog’s paw and applying pressure. Next, use a substance that can absorb the blood and help speed up coagulation. You could try styptic powder or a styptic pencil, cornstarch, flour, or baking soda. Don’t use any powder that isn’t safe for your pet to lick. Once the bleeding stops, the nail should heal and cause no further problems.
4. What do you do when a dog’s nail is bleeding?
First, stay calm and keep your dog relaxed and off its feet. To stop a dog’s nail from bleeding, use a towel to wrap the affected paw and apply some compression to see if this is enough to stop the blood flow. Check on the nail in a minute or two, and if you still see any active bleeding, use a styptic pencil or styptic powder to help clot the blood. You can also try gently pressing your dog’s nail into a small mound of cornstarch, flour, or baking soda for the same effect. If you see that the blood flow has not stopped after several minutes, the wound might be more serious. In this case, call or visit your vet so that your dog’s nail can get proper treatment.