Why Are Your Dog's Toenails Bleeding and How Can You Stop It?

Nothing is worse than seeing your beloved dog in pain, and the added sight of blood is sure to set your heart racing even more. If your dog has bleeding toenails, you need to get a handle on the situation fast. Your dog’s feet are just as essential to them as humans’ feet are to humans. Damage to their toenails and feet could not only seriously affect their quality of life, but could be bad news for your clean floors and furniture. This article will break down and identify the most common cause of bleeding toenails and offer you advice on how to go about effectively tackling the problem.

A dog's nail will bleed when clipped too short

The most common cause of bleeding toenails in dogs is from trimming. Blood will usually flow when the toenails are cut at the quick, which is the soft tissue found at the base of your dog’s toenail.

You aren’t to be blamed; holding a dog still for toenail trimming is challenging enough. Dogs have a tendency to fidget when having their toenails cut and one misplaced snip, that catches the vein or quick, is sure to draw blood. Not only is this painful for your dog, but it’s bad news for your floors and favorite furniture. But fear not, there are practical steps you can take to remedy this issue.

Clean the wound

Thankfully, the blood will usually stop flowing after several minutes. But that doesn't mean you necessarily have to sit idly by. Instead, apply a warm soapy solution to the wound with a clean cloth. This will not only clear up any blood, but it will prevent bacteria from getting into the wound and minimize the risk of infection.

Infections can quickly spread throughout the body, becoming serious and requiring medical intervention. It is also worth keeping an eye on your dog to ensure they don’t lick and scratch at the toenails, as this too could cause an infection. If your dog is particularly insistent on licking the bloody toenail, an Elizabethan collar could be used to reduce their access to the wound.

Keep a styptic pencil on hand

Another quick and effective way to minimize bleeding toenails is to get your hands on a styptic pencil, a solution that was swiftly proposed in Dr. Justine Lee’s book ‘It's a Dog's Life…’. This grooming tool can be bought from pharmacies and online retailers. A handy medicated stick, it is specifically designed to reduce blood when a person cuts themselves shaving, and works perfectly for bleeding toenails, too.

Simply dip the pencil in water and apply it across the wound. It causes coagulation, which seals damaged blood vessels and aids the recovery process. In addition, you can also pick up styptic powder, which is just as effective. It's easy – apply the powder to the wound and dab it with a paper towel. Both are relatively cheap and will keep your floors and furniture blood-free!

If necessary, see the vet

If you have not recently trimmed your dog's nails, take a closer look to see if there could be another cause for the blood. Other common causes for paw and nail injuries are:

  • There could be a foreign object embedded in between the nails
  • Your pup may have cut their footpad on a sharp object
  • The nail may be broken or torn

In some cases, veterinary care is required. A deep cut or a nail that is ripped and still attached may need stitches or removal. Bleeding from the quick of the nail is typically something you can take care of at home.

Trimming your dog’s toenails can be a somewhat challenging task. If their claws do bleed, cleaning and compressing the wound quickly will relieve pain and reduce the chances of an infection developing. Another effective way to minimize blood is to use a styptic pencil or powder;  both seal injured blood vessels and quicken the recovery process.

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