Did You Cut Your Dog Nail Too Short – Infection, Blood, And Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on December 21, 2021 by Marco C.

Some parts of the dog grooming process can be tricky and even stressful. For example, did you cut your dog nail too short – is infection an issue? Here’s a rundown on the issues of infection, blood, and everything you need to know if you’ve encountered such a problem.

The fear of such issues often dissuades a lot of people from even trying to cut their dog’s nails themselves and that’s understandable. Yet, if you read on you’ll find that the problem really is quite manageable and easy to avoid once you get the hang of things.

So, You Cut A Dog Nail Too Short – Is Infection A Concern?

Any open wound brings with it the risk of infection and cutting a dog’s nails too shortfalls under that category as well. Doing this is usually called “quicking” the nail or cutting the “nail’s quick” – that’s the nerve and blood vessels that run through the center of the nail.

If you do cut the quick and you don’t stop (or even notice) the bleeding soon enough, an infection can likely develop. However, if you treat the bleeding adequately, such risks will be kept to a minimum.

How To Stop Dog Nail Bleeding?

So, I cut my dog’s nail too short and it won’t stop bleeding – what should I do? The easiest solution is to grab styptic powder or a styptic pencil, typically known as “the shaving cut stick”. They can be purchased from most pharmacies and pet stores and are made from a powdered crystal of alum block and a wax binder. Ideally, you’ll have gotten some first so that you’re ready in case you quick your dog’s nails.

Of course, if you’ve ever used styptic sticks after shaving, you should know that they can sting a bit. This won’t be pleasant for your dog but the cutting of the quick itself would be painful as well. So, be ready to handle and calm your dog while you’re disinfecting the quicked nail.

Alternatively, some cornstarch mixed with baking soda can work as well. After using either remedy, you should compress the wound for a couple of minutes using a clean piece of cloth or a paper towel.

Doing this properly should minimize the risk of further bleeding and infection. If the bleeding continues you can also try wrapping an ice block around the nail with some cloth. After the bleeding has stopped you should wash the paw with lukewarm water and bandage it. This last part is crucial to prevent licking as that will often lead to infections.

Other Problems That Can Occur If You’ve Cut A Dog Nail Too Short Aside From Infection

If a dog nail is cut too short pain is all but guaranteed, however, there aren’t many other major problems you should watch out for other than an infection. Hypothetically, you can split your dog’s nail if you cut it really poorly but that’s unlikely. In either case, if you notice any problem or you don’t manage to stop the infection or the bleeding, you should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Other Problems That Can Occur If You’ve Cut A Dog Nail Too Short Aside From Infection

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How To Properly Cut Your Dog’s Nails?

We’ve written more extensively on dog nail clipping before but the quick and simple steps go like this:

  1. Get your dog used to the nail clippers/trimmers first.
  2. Position the dog somewhere comfortable.
  3. Examine the nails and look for the quick. In lighter nails, it should be easily visible. In black nails, it won’t be until you start cutting near it.
  4. Make a quick and light cut at the very tip of the nail where you’re certain the quick doesn’t reach. Examine the cut area to try and see the quick through the nail – if you see a pinkish-red (in white nails) or grey (in dark nails) dot, that’s the quick and you shouldn’t cut any further. If you don’t see it, you can cut a little more.
  5. If your dog gets restless, take a break, offer some pets and words of encouragement, as well as a treat, and continue. Remember that the whole experience needs to become not just a habit but be outright pleasant for your pet if you want to do it regularly.
  6. Once you’ve clipped the nail, it’s wise to round the edges with a file or a nail grinder.
  7. Offer up another treat, some pets, playtime, or a walk to reward the dog for the patience. This way, your pet will learn that nail trimming has a happy ending and will be even more patient in the future.

Additional Tips and Tricks To Avoid Infection and Problems If You’ve Cut Your Dog’s Nails Too Short

This all sounds well and good but dog nail trimming can still feel overwhelming and difficult sometimes. So, here are a few more tips to get through the whole adventure without getting any deep cuts, bleeding, and/or infections:

  • If your dog has joint problems or weak legs, it’s a good idea to get your pet used to lying down while you’re cutting his or her nails.
  • For especially restless dogs, you may want to get a nail clipping harness. And, if this sounds like an unnecessary purchase, we’ve even mentioned a few DIY options in that article.
  • If your dogs’ nails are too long, their quick will be quite long too. So, you can’t just cut the nails short immediately. Instead, you’ll need to regularly cut them a little bit and maintain them as short as possible without “quicking” them. This will stimulate the quick to “retreat” and get shorter and shorter together with the nail.
  • Going to a dog’s groomer is a good option if you really don’t want to have to cut your dog’s nails. Dog groomers are very experienced in that area. Plus, they’ll also be able to take care of your dog’s other needs too. For example, bathing, brushing, de-shedding, eye and ear maintenance, hair detangling, skin health inspection, dental hygiene, and more. The experience and proficiency of the groomer are important, of course, as an inexperienced groomer can also quick your dog’s nails by accident.

All in all, cutting your dog’s nails too short can be painful, unfortunate, and risky. You’ll need to take immediate action to prevent infection and stop the bleeding. However, with a bit of preparation and care you will both prevent such issues and be ready should they occur.

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