Ask Seth: Trimming Dog Nails Too Short

I always trim my dog’s nails and every once and a while I trim them too short and they bleed.  I usually just hold a paper towel on the nail and it stops after a few minutes.  Do you have any tips if this happens again?

The best way to prevent this from happening is not to trim the nails too short. However, anyone who trims their pet's nails know this is easier said than done, right?  I still trim a nail too short every once in a while and I cut nails on animals all the time. The bleeding comes from the blood vessel that provides blood to the nail. It is best to just take the tip of the nail off and when walking your dog, make sure to walk them on concrete or asphalt, which will wear the nails down naturally, allowing for the blood vessel to regress back slowly as the nails become shorter.

If you trim the nail too short you can use the following things:

  • Your local pet store has a product that quickly stops bleeding and is specifically for nails.
  • I like to use the moist bar of soap from the shower. Take the nail and run it down the soap.  This will put a plug in the nail and stop the bleeding very quickly.
  • Flour works well too. Pour flour into your hand and put the entire paw into the pile of flour. This will also make a plug and stop the bleeding quickly.

Seth Mayersohn

About Seth Mayersohn

Have a question about your pet’s health or behavior? Readers can submit questions to Seth Mayersohn has a B.S. in Animal and Veterinary Sciences and a M.S. in Agriculture from West Virginia University. He has 12 years of experience as a veterinary technician and draws upon that experience to help our readers!

2 comments on “Ask Seth: Trimming Dog Nails Too Short

  1. Buy a Dremel. This handy tool works (PediPaws doesn't) & allows you to file the nails down to a nice soft round tip that has not sharp or irregular edges.

    • Which Dremel tool do you use? The cylindrical sandpaper, one of the grind stones or one of the cutters? My dog's long nails might hurt elderly patients when I want to use him as a therapy dog.

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