Cauterize Dog Nails

Nail grooming is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dogs. Trimmed nails save a lot of troubles and health concerns. However,  even experienced groomers can cut the nail accidentally or your dog may get an injury in nails that can cause bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t stop,  you may need to cauterize dog nails.

cauterize dog nails

How to cauterize a wound on a dog paw?

Cauterizing is a technique used on the body to stop bleeding. This must be done by professionals only because it needs expertise and special equipment. When a dog gets injured on its nails,  the nails can bleed. In some accidents,  bleeding might be severe and need cauterization to fix it.

In cauterization,  skin tissue is burnt using a too hot or cold chemical agent to seal the vessels that are bleeding. If your dog needs cauterization, your vet may give him topical anesthesia before the process.

How to handle your dog before and after cauterization?

Dogs don’t take bleeding and pain too well. As nails have tissue and blood vessels,  injury on nails can be very painful for dogs. It may make them restless and uncomfortable. (Read why my diabetic dog is restless at night?)

  • Before cauterizing your dog, you must calm him down. Your dog can get aggressive and even try to bite when someone will dare touch his injured paw. Try to soothe him first to help him overcome the distress. (Read when do golden retrievers stop biting)
  • Put a muzzle on his mouth so that when the vet tries to cauterize your dog, he doesn’t bite back. Trust us there is no friend or foe in pain. Your dog will attack anyone that will hurt him.
  • If the dog is in unbearable pain, the vet will give him topical anesthesia. Topical anesthesia is applied to the skin in a cream form.
  • After cauterizing, your dog will be under the effect of anesthesia. He may look lethargic and sluggish and have uncoordinated movements. As this process can also cause emotional distress, your dog may take 7-8 days to become normal again. (Also read puppy front leg shaking)

How to cauterize your dog’s paw?

When there is continuous bleeding from a nail,  you need to stop bleeding and treat broken or injured nails. So first thing first! To cauterize your dog

  • First, handle the broken nail. If some part is still attached, trim it using a nail clipper.
  • Cleanse the area well with antiseptic wipes or solution. It will help you to have a better look at the wound and will also prevent your dog from infection.
  • Then to stop the bleeding apply cauterizing powder or styptic pencil to stop the bleeding.
  • If a vet is handling your dog professionally, he will dip forceps in cauterizing solution. Then he will press them carefully on damaged skin tissue. This is called chemical cauterizing in dogs and may cause inflammation in wounds during healing.
  • For chemical cauterizing, your dog’s hair near the wound will be shaved.
  • At last, You need to carefully apply the bandage to your dog’s paw. Keep changing the bandage after every one or two days to prevent infection, swelling, or pus.

Can you cauterize dog nails at home?

Yes, you can.  But you need to be very careful. For chemical cauterizing,  let your vet do the process. Sometimes continuous bleeding means a deep wound and your dog may need a surgical process to treat injury.

If you see your dog is having massive bleeding or is fainting,  you need to go to the vet as soon as possible.  Although rarely it will be a life-threatening condition bleeding must be stopped at first preference.

Surgical process to cauterize your dog nails.

Sometimes the bleeding won’t stop. Your dog will need stitches or professional treatment like cauterization of a wound that you can’t provide him at home.

Professionally your dog nails will be treated under anesthesia. Anesthesia is mostly given to calm down dogs because the pain could be unbearable. Deep wounds need concentration and the movement of your dog can make the process difficult.  The vet may also prescribe antibiotics and pain killers for better and pain-free recovery.

(Also read dog nails too long surgery)

Cauterizing of dog’s nail bleeding for hours

In most cases,  bleeding from nails will stop within a few minutes. Dog nail bleeds when it is broken from a quick part that contains vessels and tissues. Within 4-5 minutes blood clots will start forming and bleeding will stop so you have to hold blood for a few minutes. For this, you can try a few tips to make dog nails stop bleeding.

  • Apply a softened soap bar on your dog nail and press for 2 minutes. Most probably the bleeding will stop.
  • Sprinkle some corn starch on a wound to stop bleeding.
  • You can also use a styptic pencil or styptic powder to stop bleeding.
  • If even after trying to stop bleeding, your dog is still bleeding for hours,  he has some serious health issue. You need to take him to the vet immediately. The bleeding must stop within 5-6 minutes. A vet will cauterize the paw to prevent further bleeding.

Is cauterization necessary to stop bleeding?

If you cut a dog’s nail too short, it can bleed. To immediately stop dog nail bleeding use a styptic pencil and press gently. Your dog can get scared and may resist further trimming. Try to soothe your dog and offer him a treat. Making him comfortable is going to save a lot of hassle.

Also,  before cutting nails,  make sure you cut them from a curvy part. Trimming them too deep causes injury. (Read do dog nails grow back) Cauterization is effective but mostly it is done when a dog is bleeding for a long time.

Cost of cauterization of dog nail

Despite being a surgical process,  this is not very costly. Usually, it will cost you $50. However, the amount can be a few bucks less or more according to the severity of the condition of your dog.

How early dog recovers after cauterizing nails?

Your dog will be fine within a few days. You just have to monitor if there is no swelling or pus. Mostly in cauterizing process vet will use phenol that has both antiseptic and antibacterial properties. So the dog will not need anything else but still, take care of him unless he has fully recovered again.


A dog’s nail needs cauterizing to stop bleeding. However, the process is recommended to be done by professionals only. After cauterization, the dog will recover within a few days.

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