It was late on a Friday night when my husband decided our dog’s toenails needed a trim.
For some reason our groomer must have forgotten to trim them at the last visit. I can’t blame her. Our dog is 16 1/2 and not an easy client. In fact, I’m grateful she still takes him on as a client.
The nails were long. We worried they were hurting his traction and ability to walk.
So we took things into our own hands.
I won’t say it was a big mistake. You can cut your dog’s quick safely if you do it right.
We didn’t do it right.
But there wasn’t a lot of light in the family room, at 10 pm. It should have been a two (or three) person job.
Moral of the story. Only attempt to cut your dog’s nails in a well lit area. One person should hold the dog. The person with the clipper should face the dog’s nails.
Blood was everywhere. It was a mess. It was also frightening. We were scared. Because of the blood and because of our dog’s age.
A quick online search was somewhat reassuring. I read that nail bed injuries are usually not an emergency – in healthy dogs.
However, our dog is very elderly. I worried this comforting piece of news may not apply to him.
We live in an area that’s far from 24-hour veterinary care. Ironically, our dog has survived so much. Would a nail injury do him in?
Fortunately, we lucked out. He survived. We learned a lesson.
What To Do When You Cut Your Dog’s Nail Quick
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What happens if you’re trimming your dog’s nails, and you accidentally cut the quick?
Well, expect to see some blood. Your dog will also feel some pain. (We saw a lot of blood.)
If this happens, though, don’t panic. (Easier said than done.)
Most likely, it’s not a medical emergency, and you can probably stop the bleeding at home. One online veterinarian recommends using styptic powder to help stem the blood. If you don’t have any of this on hand, perhaps regular wheat or cornstarch will do the trick.
We had no styptic powder in the house. We didn’t have corn starch. Regular wheat flour didn’t work.
Thankfully, we did get through to an online vet. She didn’t think it was an emergency. She suggested taking a bar of unscented soap and wetting it. Then, put the dog’s nail into the bar and hold it there until the bleeding stops.
The soap seemed to stop the blood loss. We then used a gauze pad and wrapped the leg with an ace bandage. We kept this on for a few days, with a couple changes of gauze.
Our dog slept more for a couple of days. But other than that he survived unscathed.
Is It An Emergency When You Cut Your Dog’s Nail Bed?
If you do cut your dog’s nail bed, always call your own vet, just to be on the safe side. Chances are you’ll hear some reassuring words. If blood loss is excessive, call your vet while you’re bringing your pet in to be looked at. From what I understand, it seems as if these types of emergencies are rare.
Your vet may also tell you to wrap the paw with a clean bandage, and to keep your dog quiet for a short time so the blood can coagulate. Please understand that I’m not an animal healthcare expert. So I can’t give medical advice. As always, your best resource is your own vet.
In the future, you may want to invest in a nail trimmer that has a built-in safety device. But you have to make sure to use it correctly. In a well lit area. A safety-device isn’t safe if you don’t use it the right way.
I Cut My Dog’s Quick
Many dog owners are understandably reluctant to trim their pet’s nails. They worry about cutting too deeply, and with good reason. If you clip into the quick, the pink fleshy area close to the paw, your dog will bleed. (If you’ve read this far, you probably already know this.)
That’s why many people prefer to leave this task to the groomer. However, if you prefer the DIY approach, you can find clippers designed to prevent you from nicking the quick.
One is the Safari Professional Nail Trimmer. It has a safety stop that prevents you from cutting too much. If your dog has dark nails, this allows you to trim just a little at a time. (You can also put some baby oil on the nails, so the quick becomes easier to see.)
Safe Dog Nail Trimmers
Oftentimes, it’s necessary to trim a dog’s nails in between trips to the groomer. A short-haired dog may not need frequent professional visits for his or her coat, but nails continue to grow. This device gives you the confidence you need to do the job at home. There are definite advantages to clipping your dog’s nails yourself. One is that groomer visits can be stressful for dogs.
With our own dog, now aged 16, we don’t like to bring him to the groomer more than absolutely necessary. That’s because he gets so upset. Even though we have an excellent groomer, my heart still breaks when I have to leave him there, because I can see him shaking.
These clippers come in two sizes, small/medium and large. They can be used on cats as well as on dogs.
Cutting Dog’s Quick Of Nail