Stop the Bleed. Use This Pantry Staple to Quickly Stop Your Dog’s Nail Bleeding


It’s scary when a dog’s nail starts bleeding after it gets trimmed or broken. Excessive bleeding from nails can look dramatic with the blood dripping on the floor. However, in most cases, nail bleeding in dogs isn’t serious if dealt with promptly and properly.

This article provides an overview of what causes dogs’ nails to bleed, the risks of excessive bleeding, first aid tips to stop bleeding, home remedies like using cornstarch, when to seek veterinary care, and how to prevent nails from bleeding in the future.

Why Do Dogs’ Nails Bleed?

There are several common causes of a dog’s nails bleeding:

Nail injuries – Dogs can tear or break their nails by getting them caught on surfaces while walking or playing. This can lead to bleeding.

Overgrown nails – Allowing a dog’s nails to grow too long can make them more prone to catching or splitting which causes bleeding. The quick inside the nail also grows longer in overgrown nails.

Nail trimming – Cutting a dog’s nails too short is one of the most frequent causes of nail bleeding. If the quick is nicked or cut it will bleed.

Other factors like trauma to the paw or toe, infections, tumors, and bleeding disorders can also lead to nail bleeding. But most often it is simply from injuries or trimming.

Risks of Excessive Nail Bleeding

Excessive bleeding from a dog’s nail can lead to some potential health risks that pet owners should be aware of. The most notable risks include:

Anemia – If a large amount of blood is lost through the nail, it can reduce the red blood cell count and lead to anemia. This is especially a concern in smaller dogs. Anemia causes lethargy, weakness, and paler gums.

Infection – An open wound on the nail is prone to picking up bacterial contamination. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, pus, and a foul odor around the nail. Infections can spread to the bone and lead to osteomyelitis, requiring antibiotics.

Additional blood loss – Bleeding may restart or continue due to the nail not clotting properly. Exposed vessels may keep oozing blood without medical treatment.

Permanent nail damage – If the nail matrix (where new nail grows from) is damaged, the nail may become deformed or stop growing completely. This depends on the severity and location of the injury.

According to MedVet, if bleeding persists for more than 10-15 minutes or is heavy, veterinary assistance should be sought to avoid these risks.

First Aid for Nail Bleeding

The first step when dealing with a dog’s bleeding nail is to apply direct pressure to the wound to help stop the bleeding. Use a clean towel, cloth, or piece of gauze and apply firm but gentle pressure on the nail. Hold for 5-10 minutes continuously. The pressure helps blood clot and closes off the injured blood vessels.

You can also elevate the paw above the level of the dog’s heart. This uses gravity to reduce blood flow to the nail. Keep the paw elevated while continuing to apply pressure to the nail.

After 5-10 minutes, you can remove the gauze or towel and check if the bleeding has slowed or stopped. If it is still bleeding heavily, reapply a fresh bandage or cloth and continue holding pressure. Wrap the paw and nail in a bandage, adhesive tape or sock if needed to maintain pressure on the wound. The bandage will keep pressure on the nail and protect it.

Applying pressure is the most effective way to stop bleeding from a dog’s nail at home. It encourages normal clotting and controls blood loss from the wound site. Be patient and keep pressure on the nail steadily for 10-15 minutes or until the bleeding fully stops.


How to Stop a Dog’s Nail from Bleeding

Using Cornstarch to Stop the Bleeding

Cornstarch is an effective natural remedy that can help stop bleeding from a dog’s nail. It works by absorbing excess moisture and encouraging clotting. When applied to a bleeding nail, the cornstarch clumps up and forms a barrier, putting pressure on the wound. This slows and eventually stops the bleeding.

Cornstarch is a particularly good clotting agent because it is very absorbent. As it soaks up the blood, it dehydrates the wound area and removes the moisture that prevents clotting. This allows platelets to accumulate and a clot to form more quickly. The starch molecules also activate the blood clotting factors, speeding up the body’s natural clotting cascade.

In addition, cornstarch forms a thick paste when combined with blood that can physically seal the wound. This barrier prevents further blood loss. The viscosity of the paste also provides gentle pressure on the vessels, which slows blood flow to the area. Together, these effects promote rapid clot formation and stop bleeding fast.

man applying cornstarch from a container onto a dog's bleeding nail

Cornstarch is readily available in any kitchen, making it an accessible and effective first aid option for a dog’s bleeding nail. It works similarly to commercial styptic powders designed for pet nail bleeding, but at a fraction of the cost. With its excellent absorbency and clot promoting effects, cornstarch is an ideal natural solution.

Proper Procedure with Cornstarch

When using cornstarch to stop a dog’s bleeding nail, it’s important to follow the proper procedure to maximize effectiveness and avoid infection.

First, clean the nail and surrounding area with water or a pet-safe antiseptic wipe to remove any dirt or debris. Be gentle, as excess cleaning can cause more bleeding. Pat the area dry with a clean towel or gauze pad (Source 1).

Next, apply the cornstarch directly to the bleeding nail. Pinch a small amount between your fingers and press it firmly onto the nail. The cornstarch will help clot the blood (Source 2). Continue holding it there for 2-5 minutes until bleeding stops.

Finally, wrap the paw and nail in a light bandage or gauze wrap to protect it. Make sure it’s not too tight. Leave the bandage on for several hours, then check to see if bleeding has resumed. Reapply cornstarch and change bandages as needed.

With this proper procedure, cornstarch can be an effective homemade remedy to stop bleeding from a dog’s injured nail.

Other Home Remedies

In addition to cornstarch, there are some other common household ingredients that can help stop bleeding from a dog’s nail:

Flour – Using plain white flour can help clot the blood when applied directly to the nail. Make sure to press a small handful or spoonful of flour firmly onto the nail. The flour will bind with the blood and promote clotting [1].

Baking Soda – Making a paste with baking soda and a small amount of water can create a mixture that helps stop bleeding when applied to the nail. Baking soda has mild antiseptic properties to help prevent infection as well [2].

Ice – Applying an ice pack or cold compress to the paw can help constrict the blood vessels and slow bleeding. Place the ice in a towel and hold it firmly against the paw [3].

Bar of Soap – Rubbing the nail gently across a bar of soap can help clot the blood. The soap helps clean the wound while the pressure promotes clotting [1].

When to See the Vet

If your dog’s nail continues bleeding excessively after 10-15 minutes of applying direct pressure and clotting agents, it’s time to seek veterinary care. Excessive bleeding could indicate a damaged nail bed or vein, which requires medical treatment.

Bring your dog to the vet right away if the nail is broken at the base, partially detached, or the entire nail was ripped off. These severe injuries often require surgery and antibiotics to treat infection. Prolonged heavy bleeding from the nail puts your dog at risk of blood loss complications.

You should also see the vet promptly if your dog shows signs of pain, limping, licking or chewing at the paw, loss of appetite, or other concerning symptoms along with nail bleeding. There may be damage to bones, tendons, or nerves that need veterinary assessment.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, “Any bleeding from around the base of the nail needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.” It’s better to be safe and have your vet examine the injury to determine proper treatment.

Calling your vet right away for guidance can help minimize complications when nail bleeding won’t stop. They will advise you on the best next steps for your dog’s health.

veterinarian bandaging a dog's paw

Preventing Nail Bleeding

The best way to deal with bleeding nails is to prevent them from happening in the first place. There are several tips for trimming your dog’s nails that can help avoid hitting the quick and causing bleeding:

  • Trim nails frequently – Trimming a small amount every 1-2 weeks is safer than waiting for the nails to get very long. The quick grows out with the nail, so with overgrown nails the quick will be longer and easier to hit.
  • Use sharp trimmers – Sharp trimmers will make a clean cut, which will bleed less than crushing the nail with dull trimmers. Replace trimmers when they get dull.
  • Trim after a walk – After a walk when the nails are worn down a bit, the quick will naturally be slightly shorter.
  • Cut only a little at a time – Snipping off only a small amount at a time avoids cutting the quick.
  • Have styptic powder on hand – Keeping styptic powder or another product ready allows you to quickly stop any bleeding if you do nick the nail.
    dog having its nails trimmed while sitting on a soft towel
  • Use a soft surface – Trimming on a towel or other soft surface gives if you hit the quick, often avoiding cutting it. The softer surface also won’t dull the trimmers as quickly.
  • Look for the quick – In nails that are light colored or clear it may be possible to see where the quick ends to avoid it.
  • Ask your vet for help – Your vet can show you where the quick is and how to safely trim.

person carefully trimming a small amount off a dog's nail
With proper technique and care, nail trims don’t have to be
something to dread. Knowing what to do if bleeding occurs is also key,
but being proactive and preventing it in the first place is ideal. Frequent gentle trims on a soft surface using sharp trimmers will go a long way toward avoiding bleeding nails.


Excessive bleeding from a dog’s nail can be alarming, but there are ways to stop the bleeding at home in many cases. Having cornstarch on hand along with proper first aid knowledge allows you to take quick action when needed.

Applying direct pressure with a cloth or gauze pad is essential first aid to help clot the wound right away. Then a clotting agent like cornstarch can aid coagulation when applied correctly. It’s critical to apply sustained pressure over the cornstarch for several minutes to stem the bleeding.

Along with home remedies, prevention is key. Keeping nails trimmed to avoid cracking and splits reduces the chances of trauma. Using gentle handling and restraint methods also lowers risk. But even with great care, active dogs can sometimes injure nails. Knowing effective home stop-bleeding techniques provides dog owners with confidence in managing minor nail injuries.

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