Don’t Paw-Nic: What To Do When You Nick Your Dog’s Claws

No matter how careful you are, there will come a time when you accidentally nick your dog’s claws during a trim. And when that happens, it’s often a complete bloodbath. It’s amazing how much one little claw can breathe! 

Remain Calm 

Your dog probably won’t panic if you don’t. Though it’s certainly painful to get a claw cut too short, most dogs will shake it off and take it in stride. The more nervous you are, the more nervous they will be. Move slowly and try to act as though nothing is wrong. Getting your pet too worked up at this stage will have two effects: your dog will start bleeding faster (because its blood is pumping), and your dog may be afraid of nail trims in the future.

Quench the Bleeding

The fastest way to deal with a bleeding claw is actually to grab a bag of flour and immerse your pet’s entire paw in it. The flour will help the clot form and won’t harm your pet, and the flour will contain the blood from spreading. If you don’t have a bag of flour at hand, you should instead wrap up the paw and keep steady pressure on the injury until it stops bleeding. A clot-inducing pencil, such as those used for shaving, can also be used — simply apply to the edge of the claw. 

Wrap It All Up

Once your pup’s claw has stopped bleeding, you should wrap it up thoroughly (but not restrictively) in a bandage. Many topical ointments can be used as an antibiotic, but only if you call a local vet and ask if it can be used on dogs first. Dogs tend to pull and chew, so an elastic, adhesive bandage wrap is usually better than a stick-on bandage. It’s a good idea to get this affixed before you head to the vet or send your dog off to relax, as your dog’s feet are in constant contact with the ground; infections can happen quite easily. 

If your dog’s paw keeps bleeding — or if you cut quite deeply — you might need to go to a veterinarian. Moderate blood loss can be very dangerous for a dog. A vet will be able to cauterize the injury quickly and will also prescribe you medications to deal with the potential for infection. In fact, you may want to go to your local animal hospital for these medications even after the bleeding has stopped, especially if you have a particularly active pup. (for more information, you can contact Coble Animal Hospital)