Help! I clipped too much off his claw!

Help! I clipped too much off his claw!

What can you do when clipping accidentally turns into nicking? Our collaborator shares her experience.

January 6, 2020

Growing up on a farm, I saw all the trouble dogs, cats, horses and cows can get themselves into. And with a sister who's a veterinarian, I've witnessed a myriad of stitching, injecting and medicating over the years. Needless to say, I feel confident caring for my dog Amber, a 2-year-old Greyhound-Ridgeback rescue. But when I nicked the quick of her dew claw while clipping her nails the other day, I almost fainted.

Like many dogs, Amber doesn't love getting a pedicure. When it was over, she slunk away to go lie down and that's when I saw it, the trail of blood droplets leading upstairs. My heart sank. I felt sick to my stomach as I stepped into my bedroom to find Amber on my not-so-white quilted Pottery Barn duvet cover smattered with bright red paw prints.

I had to do something fast. I didn't have a styptic pencil and, in any case, I knew that would sting. So, I quickly grabbed what I use when my kids cut themselves: a Band-Aid and some antibiotic cream. I applied both, then wrapped Amber's paw in an elastic bandage. She lay quietly on my bed of her own volition, so I let her be. I knew it wasn't a lethal wound, by any means, but I felt terrible. Amber looked miserable and forlorn, exposing her belly to me whenever I came to check on her, despite my cooing and softly stroking her head.

With the bleeding contained, I looked for a remedy online. Suggestions included holding a dry bar of unscented soap against the wound; running warm water over the paw and applying a bit of pressure to the claw with a wet cloth for 20 minutes; or making a paste with flour, corn starch or baking soda and water and applying it to the tip of the claw to help coagulate the blood.

My gut told me that applying pressure to a clean wound was the way to go. Just to be sure, I called my vet. She had never tried the baking soda and water option. “An over-the-counter antiseptic cream is fine but probably unnecessary,” says Erin Branigan, DMV. “Pressure is the key to stopping small bleeds. A cold, wet compress will help constrict the blood vessel,” she adds. “Just be careful when removing the compress not to disturb the clot.”

An hour later, I gently unwrapped Amber's bandage to find dark red, coagulated blood at the tip of her claw. Great! I took care not to walk her in any muddy areas—to avoid any risk of infection—and kept her activity to a minimum for the rest of the day. By evening, Amber was back to her old self: bright-eyed and wrestling with the kids. My take-away from this little trauma is this: if you do nick a quick, stay calm, ensure the wound is clean, then apply a little pressure with a wet cloth until the bleeding stops. Your dog will be back to her old tricks in no time!

Photo credit : personal collection

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