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How to Use a Styptic Powder to Stop Kwik? 7 Steps for Cats & Dogs

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By Nicole Cosgrove

clean dog paw after cutting hair and pedicure

If you’ve ever clipped a pet’s nails, you know that trimming them too close to the quick or blood supply is an unpleasant experience for both you and your cat or dog. It’s the same with cutting your bird’s wings. The wound often bleeds extensively. It’s also painful. That’s why many pet owners may leave the task to their vet. Alternatively, you can keep some Kwik Stop Styptic Powder around, just in case.

Before You Start

Keeping your pet’s nails trim is essential. Otherwise, your dog or cat can catch a claw on something, causing a more serious and painful injury. It often means a visit to the vet, too. One of the best ways to avoid any problems is to get your pet used to having its paws handled. Giving it a treat helps to create a positive association to make it more manageable for you.

Clipping your pet’s nails frequently will also encourage the quick within each one to recede. That will reduce the chances of cutting it. We understand that you’d probably not want to ever must use a styptic powder at all. Nonetheless, it’s vital to understand what it is, how to use it, and what precautions you should take.

Kwik Stop Styptic Powder with box

Ingredients in Kwik Stop

Kwik Stop contains the following ingredients:
  • Ferric Subsulfate
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Diatomite
  • Bentonite
  • Copper Sulfate
  • Ammonium Chloride
  • Benzocaine
Ferric subsulfate is the active ingredient that stops the bleeding by encouraging the blood to clot. Aluminum chloride, diatomite, bentonite, and ammonium chloride all help with clotting. Copper sulfate is an anti-fungal compound. The last one, benzocaine, is a topical pain reliever that you’ll see in many human products, particularly Orajel for toothaches. It does the same thing for your pet. However, there are caveats to its use. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety warning over its use in infants and children under 2 years old in 2018. The agency linked its use with a serious health condition called methemoglobinemia. It can lower the oxygen levels in your blood to dangerous levels if misused. Benzocaine is potentially harmful to both cats and dogs for the same reason. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t use Kwik Stop. However, you should use caution when using it, as you would with any medical product. It’s also imperative to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. That’s why the label recommends its use for minor wounds only.

Other Considerations for Cats

A compelling reason for you to keep your cat’s nails trim is that your pet will do less damage to your drapes and furniture if its claws aren’t as sharp. Remember that scratching is an instinctive behavior for felines. They will use it to mark their territories. Cats scratch to remove the sheaths on their nails and keep them in good shape. They probably also enjoy it. It’s worth noting that both the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have issued position statements against declawing, no matter how it’s done. We agree.

Kwik Stop Styptic Powder (First Aid For Dogs, Cats & Birds)

Other Considerations for Dogs

You may find that you have to trim your dog’s nails less frequently if you walk your pet on the pavement. The asphalt will act as a giant emery board and wear them down. You may find it helpful to reach for the leash after trimming them to soften any rough edges. The alternative is to use a nail grinder instead of a clipper. You’ll have more control over the amount you remove. You can use it on cats, too.

The 7 Steps to Apply a Styptic Powder to Stop Kwik

1. Prepare Your Work Area

Gather the supplies that you’ll need to trim your pet’s nails. Make sure to have some damp paper towels handy in case you must use the Kwik Stop. We suggest pouring a small amount of the powder on a paper plate. If you cut the quick, the bleeding will start right away.

2. Prepare Your Pet for the Task

You may find it helpful to trim your pet’s nails in a small room, such as a bathroom. If the worse happens, you can contain the mess. Praise your dog or cat as you settle them down before you begin.

3. Start With the Front Paws

Have your pet sit down to begin with its front paws. Retract the first claw, looking carefully for the quick. Of course, that’s easy to find if your pet’s nails are light-colored. Carefully cut the top of the claw or the hook. Do the task quickly and confidently. Your dog or cat will react to the mood you set. Praise your pet for its cooperation after each paw. For dark-colored nails, examine the core of the nail after each cut. It should be gray. If it’s black, you’ve cut far enough.

a hand holding dog's paw
Image Credit: Linalyan, Shutterstock

4. Apply Kwik Stop Immediately If You Cut the Quick

You’ll know right away if you’ve cut too close because there is a nerve with the blood supply. Place your pet’s paw into the powder on the plate immediately. Speak calmly to your pet. Above all, don’t panic. Keep the injured nail in the Kwik Stop for a few minutes until the blood clots.

5. Apply Gentle Pressure to the Injured Nail

Applying pressure will ensure that the bleeding has stopped. Try to keep your pet calm to avoid aggravating the injury and causing it to bleed again. You can also apply ice, which will also help the blood clot. The cold will slow blood flow to the area. We suggest keeping your pet in the room until you’re sure that it has stopped.

6. Wipe Off Any Residual Kwik Stop

The amount of benzocaine isn’t a lot. Nevertheless, we recommend wiping off any residual powder with a damp paper towel. Undoubtedly, your pet will lick its wound. Cleaning off its paw will prevent any accidental ingestion. You might also want to give your pet a treat to make everything all better. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes, contact your veterinarian.

female hands cleaning dog's paw with wipes
Image Credit: 220 Selfmade studio, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Using Kwik Stop isn’t difficult. Even though there are some concerns, it’s still a handy product to have around whenever you cut your pet’s nails. Its pain-relieving effects may take the sting away from an injured nail and make your job easier the next time. As with all medications, be sure to keep them out of the reach of pets or children when not in use.

Featured Image Credit: PixieMe, Shutterstock

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