My husband said I was overreacting after cutting my dog’s claws too short and it wouldn’t stop bleeding.
I mean, I did basically cripple my one and only dog daughter so……..no, I’m not overreacting, HONNNNEYY.
(Actually yes…I am totally overreacting but I love Gracie.)
Now to write a post about this terrible experience and bright side: all the easy, at home hacks I tested and learned trying various suggestions + getting creative.
~NOT A VET NOT A VET NOT A VET DON’T TAKE MY ADVICE AS MEDICAL DOGGY ADVICE NOT A VET NOT A VET~
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After Cutting Dog’s Claws Too Short…
Kwik Stop septic powder is the traditional and most recommended solution to stop bleeding and to build up protection against the exposed area to prevent infection.
This didn’t do me any good. The nearest pet store is 30 minutes away and I couldn’t leave my dog home alone bleeding away!!!
Manic Panic Advice
We got the clippers secondhand from a neighbor friend, we didn’t have any powder or do enough research beforehand. It never occurred to (cocky) me that I was going to hurt Grace.
Hopefully, no one is in a similar boat but if you are — I have hapless at-home solutions for anyone to ensure their doggy stops bleeding, avoid an infection, and keep them off their paws off so it won’t scrape and bleed again.
How to Stop Dog Nail Bleeding At Home
Stop the Bleeding
1. Make sure your dog is restrained and not actively running around. It’s important to train your dog in at least basic commands such as “lay down” and “stay.” Use a treat to distract your dog.
2. Compress the bleeding paw with a clean paper napkin or towel for 2 minutes until bleeding slows. YOU HAVE TO REMAIN CALM. A dog will pick up owner’s panic and freak out too.
(The ice cube compression method does not work, it just made my dog more jittery because of the cold.)
3. Clean the wound to prevent infection. I had some antibacterial, antiseptic squirt foam but it’s just as good to use soap or wipes. Anything to clean! This part is cringy and your dog won’t like it but it’s important to clean the area to prevent infection.
4. To stop the blood, grab a small bowl, fill it with regular cornstarch. You can also mix in baking soda as well. Another option is regular flour if you have no cornstarch or baking powder. This is to aid in stopping bleeding quicker by mixing with the blood and creating an artificial clot.
5. Dip the bleeding claw into a small bowl of cornstarch/baking soda/flour and HOLD it in it for a few minutes. Make sure the mixture is packed in. If blood is still flooding, do it again, and again until it stops bleeding. Dog blood typically clogs naturally after 3 minutes.
Maintain a Clot
6. Grace didn’t stop bleeding until a third dip into cornstarch. PHEW~ make sure keep them off their feet so friction doesn’t rub it back to bleeding.
7. …But WAIT. THEY’RE DOGS. Keeping Grace off her feet was non-option. She didn’t seem to know or care she was injured (dogs!). I kept her in place with treats and staying near her. But 2 hours later, Airbnb guests came and she sprinted off the bed to greet them. The friction with the carpet opened up the claw wound, AGAIN.
*Repeats step 1-5 above.*
In my 2nd panic, I put a human band-aid on Grace…which didn’t work out because…she’s covered in fur and her paws are…paws. The blood eventually seeped through the band-aid before I realize…I’m a moron.
Well, this is bad. It seems like if she moves, her claw was going to start bleeding over and over again. The dog does need her walks, playtimes, runs, potty times…
So we need a barrier…or case around her paw or something. Time to get creative…
7. SUPERGLUE? — I read that on Reddit as someone suggested using a dollop of superglue at the claw tip. The glue will seal it, create a false barrier, and prevent friction. Buuuut I didn’t have superglue. We tried regular non-toxic Elmer’s glue but it’s weaker so it wasn’t a perfect solution. To be safe, do not try ANY glue unless you know it’s safe and non-toxic. You don’t want anything getting into your dog’s bloodstream and making things worst.
8. Paper towel/terry cloth — It can work but it was too easy for Grace to shake off or bite off. We don’t have a dog cone that fit her anymore, plus it wasn’t waterproof for her trips out.
9. SARAN WRAP!!!!! — BINGO, I’m a genius. I wrapped her cleaned paws in layers of saran wrap and then taped it so she won’t try to lick it off. Then I put a sock over all of it and took her out to potty. This method did lessen / almost erase the pressure directly to her cut quick. It worked like a…very ghetto dressing.
Saran wrap = Easy to remove, easy to change out, inexpensive, everyone has it, AND waterproof!
Some other ideas…play-safe, non-toxic, clay putty laying around?! In nature, it’s usually just good old mud 🙂
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Online, they said dogs should be back to normal in about 3 to 7 days. It’s been 4+ days and I’m still not assured she’s sound yet. There’s a small peep of red/pink although bleeding has stopped for a few days.
Another source said 2 weeks for the quick to recede and claw to grow – that one I find more believable.
Inside the house, we cover her paw in my husband’s socks just to prevent unnecessary friction. I was very afraid she would lick or bite it back to bleeding again, so it was smart to keep it under a sock.
Idea to waterproof homemade bandage or sock — rubberband a small plastic bag around when you take doggy out to walk/play/potty or else the sock will absorb moisture and become wet, which isn’t good sanitation to have dirt fermenting near the claw.
And yup that’s what we did. A pretty practical although kind of haphazard, ghetto solution to get out of this paltry mess.
So how did this happen?? Life optimization went a little wrong…
In a continual effort to be more resourceful with our daily living, we landed a free dog nail clipper from our friends. They have a new puppy but both were afraid of clipping his claws so they gave us the clipper and went the professional route.
Cutting a dog’s quick happens commonly enough that most people are not bothered by it. Typically in the pet section near nail clippers are also where they place Kwik septic powder. Some brands of clippers even include a container of septic powder for owners just in case.
Still, a lot of pet owners do it at a groomer instead of clipping their dog’s nails at home.
It’s roughly about $15 where we live for the techs to trim. Typically you should give your dog a trim about once a month.
$15 x 12 months = $180/year. That’s not bad; but still an expense.
$180 x 13 years (dog’s average lifespan) = $2,340. It’s about $2,300+ over a dog’s lifespan. It’s one of the less costly expenses but a chunk in the wallet for what is essentially dog manicures nevertheless.
It takes +/- 30 minutes to drag Grace to the groomer because she hates it and fights us most of the way. We decided spending the money and time for a dog manicure was not efficient.
We tested out the clipper at home slowly. Grace didn’t mind the clipper. She thought it was a toy and kept trying to play with it.
There were no accidents as we were super careful.
By the 3rd week of occasional snip snips to get her used to it, I was confident and comfortable with clipping her claws.
“Look at me, I just saved myself $2,300 smackaroos and tons of hours. Gonna write a post about this win anddd…” -Me
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Then I had an accident.
I took a chunk of nail off falsely thinking her claws were retracted back.
Grace shook up and jumped off the sofa suddenly. I thought, “oh dear, I probably scared her. Oh well, she took it in stride.”
I didn’t think I did much damage.
Then I came back 5 minutes later, and one of her paws was leaking splats of blood across the living room rug, wooden floor, carpet stairs, hallway, all the way into our bedrooms.
Every step she walked, she left penny size blood drops onto the ground.
I was home alone, there were blood splatters on two floors, my Airbnb guests coming anytime and will wonder why there’s blood scattered everywhere. Not sure if Airbnb guests like walking in and seeing blood everywhere…but probably not.
Poor thing didn’t completely understand what was going on. She sniffed her own blood on the carpet curiously and then sniffed her own foot.
This tiny bitty nail incident has meant 2 stressed out owners, under-exercised dog, confused Airbnbers, 1 week of careful monitoring, another 1 week being careful, loss of sleep, running low on saran wrap, low on socks, and…hilarity watching Grace walk in human socks. Like when you put cats into mittens haha.
Lastly, my husband continuously joking what I would do when we had real kids if that’s how I react to a dog…
Laugh at me now but when you make an innocent doggy bleed, you would freak out too!
If you’re a first-time pet parent like I am, with limited experiences on a farm, and pretty soft in the dear heart…cutting your pooches claw way too short…is going to be a terrible experience. Certainly more so for the owner than the dogs themselves ironically.
Hope whoever reads this one day during a similar panic finds this helpful!!!
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Dave @ Accidental FIRE says
I don’t have a dog now but I remember doing this to my dog growing up. I was scared and thought I’d hurt her bad but they healed pretty quickly.
5th day and I think Grace is good!! Thats not quick to me though haha. 1 day is quick :p
Liz Kochis says
Experienced dog owner and longtime Humane Society volunteer, here! Yes, those black nails are tough to see well enough to trim without occasionally “quicking” the dog. However, I highly recommend getting a clipper with a guard on it, and only trimming a teeny amount of nail at a time. I also find that with my medium-to-large dogs, usually the weight of the dog keeps the back leg nails at a reasonable length, and I really only have to trim the front paws. Finally, I have colleagues and friends who’ve had good luck using a dedicating grinding attachment on their Dremel rotary tool, if that’s an option for you and your dog doesn’t mind it.
Also, get yourself some Kwik Stop for the future. It’s good stuff!
Aw yiiiis, a pro here! We took Grace to the groomers because everyone said black nails are harder. We have a dremel bu she’s TERRIFIED of it. I thought she would be just as afraid of the clipper too but I guess they don’t do the association thing because Grace thought that was a toy. The moment we bust out our dremel, she’s kicking for her life. We will try the clipper guard — since we know she isn’t afraid of clippers, it’s worth it to DIY at home (carefully).
Ms. Frugal Asian Finance says
Aww poor doggy 🙁 Mama Lily shouldn’t worry too much. She’s healing, and she KNOWS you love her. It was just an accident no one wanted to happen. I get nervous when I cut my kids’ nails too, so I kinda procrastinate sometimes. She will be ok in a couple of days and will be jim
You have to cut KIDS nails?!??! Why do they have to grow??
freddy smidlap says
ok ms. lily. this is why we only get our dog’s nails trimmed at the vet maybe once a year. i don’t know why they don’t grow fast but they really don’t. maybe because he walks a few miles a day on city sidewalks. i’m glad to know the tip about the cornstarch. we have a little dog bag for when we travel with leashes, food bowls, treats, a towel and water bottle. here’s another pro tip: like you, i’m not a vet but ask your vet about it. our dog got stung by a bee which he probably ate or something. he started swelling all up to look like the incredible hulk. we texted our vet because it was the weekend and she’s a friend. she told up to give 50mg benedryl for a 50lb dog and that took the swelling down before his airway closed up. now we always make sure we have some benedryl on hand in the house and in the travel dog bag. you don’t know if your dog is allergic until it happens and it’s as scary as cutting her nails and having her bleed everywhere. that’s a pretty funny looking bandage. i’m glad she’s ok. will you continue to do the trimming with lessons learned?
Oh our neighbor’s dog got stung by a bee too!! Benedryl (the type for humans?) works that well?!
freddy smidlap says
ask you vet about it next time you have to go there. the kind for humans is what we used. 50mg for a 50 pound dog. did the neighbor’s dog swell up like a monster?
I took my boy to the groomers yesterday for a nail trim and one nail was quicked and yes, blood droplets everywhere! Currently wrapped in rolled gauze and sports tape but I have a box of old baby stuff and there are some little socks in there that will work perfectly for my little guy and your tip to put a plastic covering on it when we go outside, as it’s currently raining, is a great idea! I came here to see how long I can expect it to bleed. Thanks for the info!
SC | MissFunctional Money says
OMG poooooor puppppyyy!!! That sounds absolutely cringey – so sorry! I am terrified of clipping my kid’s nails one day for this reason. My cousin just bites her babies’ nails (gross, but OK), but somehow that’s just not the same with a dog 😉
Lol!!! I bite my nails, it works just fine xD
I did this to my dog too! He hated me cutting his nails. I just take him to the dog groomer now for $10 each time.
I also did this to my BABY!! (It’s like 2000x worse) and accidentally cut his skin when he was under 6 months. Then I cried hysterically for 30 minutes and thought I would leave him a permanent scar. He’s okay now but I was shaken up and didn’t want to use the baby nail clippers anymore.
LOL sorry didn’t mean to laugh but that’s going to be me in a few years. Cut my actual baby’s nail = cry for 60 minutes xD…but seriously, it’s something you can outsource right? Baby nail cutting? Because that’s a pain point
Joe @ Retire by 40 says
Sorry to hear that. We clip our cat and never had any problem. I think the cat claws are easier to see.
Like Gym, I clipped a chunk of skin off Junior’s finger when he was little. Oops. I didn’t cry hysterically, though. Am I a bad dad?
You are a MAN hahahha
Mr. Groovy says
I’m with you, Lily. If I cut my dog’s toenails too much and I actually drew blood, I would feel horrible. Glad things worked out in the end. Great DIY idea with the saran wrap. I’m sure that will help some panicked dog owner in the future. Cheers.
Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early says
And this is why our dogs tend to have semi-long ails most of the time. I’m too freaked out about doing this to them so I don’t trim very much at a time ?
And then the vet will usually trim them for us for their check up as well haha.
Pfft yeah OK that’s a smarter OVERALL strategy xD
I’ve been crying for half an hour and every time I think of it again, I start crying all over. My little dog TRUSTED me, and I cut one (black) nail too short and it bled for several minutes. I will NEVER cut his nails again. This was so much more traumatic (for me, not for him) than I could have possibly imagined. I feel so guilty and so horrible, but I was being so careful. Yeah, some might say I over-reacted but it feels like torture that I hurt my best friend while he trusted me! Thanks for letting me share (I’m still crying).
AWWW Beth I know exactly how you feel! My Grace took 3 days to heal and we couldn’t take her out to walk or anything. Use the saran wrap method, it worked for us. The good thing is your dog probably won’t remember it. Give your baby LOTS of treats and they’ll forget the whole thing. If you cry they might sense you’re upset!!
GOOD LUCK and it’s all about gaining experience and learning. Your dog still loves you 100%!!
This was a great deal more awful than I could have envisioned. I feel so regretful thus ghastly, yet I was as a rule so cautious. No doubt, some may state I over-responded however it feels like torment that I hurt my closest companion while he confided in me! Much obliged to you and it’s everything about picking up understanding and learning.
Lin dong says
This happened to me just yesterday 🙁 my pup Bruno looks quite like Grace.. I thought I had been very careful but accidentally exposed the quick. I think I had just exposed it instead of actually cutting into the quick so the bleeding wasn’t too bad and he didn’t yelp. (didn’t stop me from freaking out for an hour though) after stopping the bleeding, I had tried liquid band-aid which seems to have worked until he went out to the yard for a potty break.. we just had a snow storm too… he came back in and his claw was bleeding worse than before (insert more freaking out).. eventually liquid band-aid and 2 tiny dots of super glue seems to have fixed it… he doesn’t seem to be in pain or have any inclination to lick his paw (thankfully) phew!!
Just wanted to say thank you for sharing. I just experienced this and it was comforting to know that I wasn’t alone!