As always, a veterinarian should be consulted whenever your dog experiences an injury. This article should be viewed as information-based rather than advice.
There are a number of ways a dog can end up with a bleeding toenail. The most common way this can happen is while nails are being trimmed and the dog nail gets “quicked”. This means the nail has been cut too close to the blood supply (the pink part inside a dog’s toenail). As a result, the nail can start to bleed.
Additionally, another common cause of dog toenail bleeding is from injury to the nail itself; this could be from getting caught on something, breaking a nail or cracking of the nail itself.
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Make a Dog Nail Stop Bleeding at Home
If the bleeding is severe or you are uncertain as to how to deal with it, make sure your consult a veterinarian.
Depending on the cause, there are different ways to stop a dog’s toenail from bleeding.
If the problem has been caused by “quicking” when the nail has been trimmed too short, then you can try Kwik-Stop. Applying a little Kwik-Stop Powder to the cut surface of the nail can serve to cauterize it and thus stem the bleeding.
Kwik-Stop can sometimes sting a little, but it is one of the better ways to stop a bleeding nail and keep it stopped. If there is no Kwik-Stop handy, and the bleeding is not too bad, then you could try cornstarch as well. This can encourage clotting.
Dog Nail Bleeding from Cracking or Injury
In some situations, you simply need to get your dog to a veterinarian.
For example, a trip to the vet would usually be necessary in these case:
- If the bleeding is excessive or heavy and doesn’t respond to your measures.
- If the bleeding is caused by a broken or cracked toenail
- If the toenail is hanging off, partially or completely. If untreated the exposed nail pulp can continue bleeding for a long time.
In cases such as these, stopping the bleeding is usually a job for the veterinarian.
Additionally, these types of nail injuries are very, very painful, sometimes even more painful than if the dog had actually broken his toe. So this all needs to be remedied.
Treating Broken or Infected Dog Toenails
If there is bleeding due a broken toenail, or infection from a break that was not discovered right away, the dog should go to the vet to have this taken care of.
Any broken nails will be repaired, if possible, by clipping away the broken part, stopping the bleeding, then applying a protective bandage. The bandage will need to stay dry and in place for a few days.
A broken nail that is hanging off will typically be plucked the rest of the way off (under sedation if necessary). At that point any exposed nail pulp will be covered in a protective bandage.
If the Dog’s Nail Needs to be Removed
If your veterinarian decides that the nail needs to be removed, bandages should stay on for at least a week or two, sometimes longer. This will allow the sensitive quick a chance to toughen up a little so that the dog can walk without pain. In these cases, keeping bandages clean and dry is critical since a wet bandage can cause an infection and prevent the nail bed from healing.
Toenails that end up being removed because they are broken, or have been partially pulled off, sometimes grow back if there is no permanent damage to the nail bed. On the odd occasion they might not. This is nothing to worry about, though; a dog can be perfectly fine even if he is missing a toenail.
Pain medication is usually prescribed for a few days and sometimes, depending on the severity of the damage, oral antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection from starting.
Any toenails that are infected, for whatever reason, will be treated accordingly and cleaned, repaired, and protected by a bandage.
Preventing Dog Nail Bleeding
The best way to prevent the most common causes of dog toenail bleeding is to keep a dog’s nails properly trimmed all the time, and to make sure that nail trimming is done with a sharp, pliers-style nail clipper.
By keeping nails short, this will help to prevent accidents where toenails get caught up in various obstacles.
As a rule of thumb, properly trimmed dog toenails are short enough that they do not usually click on the floor. So, when you start to hear that clicking, it’s time to get the nail trimmers out.
By keeping a dog’s toenails short enough this will prevent dog toenail bleeding and injury, and ensure healthy and happy paws in general.
Equally, the person who is doing the nail trimming should know how to trim correctly so that it can be done without causing any bleeding from cutting the nail too close to the blood supply.