How to Stop a Dog’s Nail Bleeding?

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How To Stop A Dog's Nail BleedingIf you’ve experienced getting a cut, torn, or bleeding toenail, then you’ll know just how painful it can be. Much like our nails, our dog’s nails contain blood vessels that feed the nail, so if a broken nail or a split nail is cut too short, then it can cause bleeding. While many of us won’t think that nail injuries aren’t serious, they will still be painful for your furry friend. 

Here, we discuss everything you need to know about how to stop a dog’s nail bleeding and more.    

Why Caring for Your Dog’s Nail is Important

Before we get into discussing how to treat nail trimming accidents, it’s important that you learn about the anatomy of your dog’s toenails. To get started, there are 5 toes on a dog’s front foot and only 4 on their back foot; the extra nails at the front are referred to as dew claws, and will be located higher on their feet. Apart from these dew claws, all your dog’s nails will become worn down when they walk on hard surfaces.

As such, these will likely become longer compared to their other toenails, and the longer they get, the more likely they are to crack, split, or break. Much like our nails, their nails can also become ingrown — how often your pooch needs nail trims will depend on the amount of exercise they get. Without a trim, your dog’s nails can grow too long and become uncomfortable, which can exacerbate the problem. 

Long nails can also become easily snagged on things like upholstery, clothes, or carpet, leading to a tear in their toenail which can lead to a painful, bleeding nail. Unfortunately, many dog owners are afraid to trim their own dog’s nails because of the fear of cutting their ‘quick’ or the dog’s nail bed. This is the part of their nail that bleeds, and it can hurt them since it’s full of blood vessels and nerve endings.

Dogs with clear or white nails may help you see where the blood vessels are, making it easier to avoid cutting their nail bed, but if your pup has dark or black nails, it can be harder to see. Still, you should be able to cut the narrower and longer parts of their nails safely without damaging their nail bed. Fortunately, even if you cut deeper than needed, there are many ways for you to stop blood flow, decrease their pain, and promote coagulation. 

Trimming Your Dog’s Nails

If you’re confident enough to trim your dog’s nails, make sure that you get help restraining your pup and your dog’s feet. In this way, you can keep it from moving and struggling but if you don’t have help, you can also set your pup on your lap; just reach across its body to stop it from moving around. Once your pooch is stable, you can get started with nail clipping — below are a few tips for clipping your pup’s nails.   

  • Use a nail clipper specifically for dogs: Unfortunately, our dog’s nails aren’t flat like human nails, which means that using nail trimmers for humans won’t get the job done with dogs.
  • Give your pooch assurance: A nail cutting session can make pets very nervous, but when your dog hears your reassuring and calm voice, your dog will see it as a pleasant experience rather than a scary one. 
  • Check for your dog’s quick: Observe where your dog’s quick is and see where the blood supply ends. If you can locate it, this will make your job much easier, but if you can’t, simply trim your pup’s nail a little bit. 
  • Include the dewclaws as well: Your dog’s dewclaws are like their fifth toes; they are located on the inside of your dog’s paw and will align with their wrist area. Sometimes, these will be removed after birth, so your canine buddy may not have them, but if it does, trimming them is a great idea since they can get torn too.
  • Promote positive reinforcement: When you’re finished trimming your dog’s nails, it’s a good idea to end your session with a positive experience. Be sure to reward your pooch with a treat, food, or their favorite toy. You can even give it some peanut butter to make sure that your pooch will be more cooperative the next time you cut nails.      

Remember to have a clean paper towel handy to help collect debris, but if you’re uncomfortable with cutting pet nails, then you can always see professional groomers and get them to trip your pet’s nails. This is usually more affordable compared to going to your vet, and professionals will usually handle dog nail bleeding anyway. While the the tips above are useful for trimming your dog’s nails, below we’ll discuss what happens if you nick the nail bed and draw a small amount of blood.   

What’s Wrong with Broken Nails?

As mentioned above the nail bed on your dog’s nails is where the central collection of the nerves and blood vessels are located. Above the nail bed is a substance called keratin, which is the same substance that our hair and nails are made from. This is the part of the nail that you’ll want to trim since it won’t cause your pup any pain. 

On the other side, the nail is attached to the paw, and the nail bed is also attached to the bone. This is the reason why a dog split nail, a heavily damaged nail, or a broken bleeding nail can become a big problem. If your dog has a broken nail and it gets infected, then it can spread to their bone, and when this happens, it may pose a serious risk to your pup’s health. 

Homemade Remedies for Dog’s Nail Bleeding

The best way to stop your dog’s bleeding nail is by using styptic powder which is a clotting powder or even a styptic pencil. This is the same solution that groomers and veterinarians have to stop bleeding in dogs and puppies. It has an ingredient known as Benzocaine; a topical anesthetic that can help to alleviate their pain.  

It also comes with a second ingredient known as Ferric Subsulfate that can also stop the bleeding. When combined, these ingredients can provide quick and easy ways to stop bleeding — Kwik Stop is the most popular brand of styptic powder. You can get these from various pet stores or you may order them online, but be sure to include them in your dog’s first aid kit. 

If you can’t get your hands on styptic powder for some reason, there are other home remedies that you can try to help stop your pup’s nails from bleeding. Below are other options you can use instead of this powder: 

  • Flour
  • Corn starch
  • Bar of soap
  • Baking soda 
  • Ice cubes

When using any of these household items, it’s imperative that you keep putting moderate pressure on your dog’s nail, as you apply the solution. While these methods will work, they won’t be able to put an instant stop to your pup’s bleeding, unlike the styptic powder. Plus, for any of these to be an effective solution, you will need to apply direct pressure on your puppy’s nail for a couple of minutes. 

Giving First Aid to Broken Nails

If you accidentally cut the quick and you’re unable to stop the bleeding, or the damage to the broken toenail is particularly serious, you’ll need to see your vet. But if you think that you’re only dealing with minor cuts, then you might be able to provide your pooch with first aid treatment and get the bleeding to stop. The first thing you need to do is get rid of any broken pieces of the dog’s toenail that may still be hanging on. 

However, if your pooch is feeling too much pain, then the best option is to take it to your vet so it can get the pain medication and sedation it needs. 

How to Use Styptic Powder

The fastest way to stop your dog’s pain and bleeding is by using styptic powder, which is outlined below. 

  1. First, apply firm yet gentle pressure to the dog’s nails using a clean cloth.
  2. Dip your pup’s nail into your powder. 
  3. You can choose to dip their nail inside the powder container or simply pour a little bit into the cover and dip their nail in this. 

You may also use styptic powder an as applicator by dipping your cotton swab in the powder, then apply pressure to the pup’s nail until your dog’s bleeding stops. Alternatively, you can grab some clotting powder using your fingers, then hold it over your canine friend’s nail until it stops bleeding. Generally, styptic powder can stop a nail from bleeding after just a minute but you can always apply the powder again if there’s still too much blood coming from the nail.  

Using a Styptic Pencil 

Another way for you to stop your dog’s nail from bleeding is by using a styptic pencil; these are usually available from many pharmacies and are usually located with shaving supplies. However, there is a downside to this option, which is the fact that it’s both messy and will sting. So if you choose to do this, it may stain your carpet and skin, along with anything else it comes into contact with.  

When You Should See Your Vet

If your pup’s broken nail becomes infected, be sure to take it to your vet; this will ensure that the infection won’t spread to the bone and get worse. Your dog’s vet should also be able to provide you with some antibiotics to stop the infection from spreading even more. A split nail will also be a very painful experience, so it’s best to have your vet handle this to help relieve your dog as much as possible.   


Pet owners need to know that cail clipping is among the most important grooming tasks we can do for our dogs, and we can either do it ourselves or we can get it done by a dog groomer. If you’re scared of cutting too much, you can always cut off the tip of the nail to ensure that it doesn’t scratch the floor too much. But if all else fails you can always visit your vet to ensure their nails are healthy, which is part of our responsibility as pet parents.