DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I read in a guide to cutting dogs’ toenails that “styptic” will stop bleeding if you cut their paws. What is that, and where do I get it? — Perry in Dallas
Styptic powder can be used on small nicks and tiny cuts to stop bleeding and reduce pain. That’s helpful when trimming pets’ toenails, which can be a traumatic experience for them, especially if you should trim a little too far up the nail and accidentally cut the quick. The powder is applied with a cotton ball or soft cloth. Most owners keep it right next to them as they trim their pets’ nails, so it can be applied immediately.
In fact, styptic powder should be an essential part of something every pet owner should have: an easy-to-access first-aid kit for their pets. You don’t have to buy a complete kit; you can assemble a few key items and store them in a tightly sealed plastic container.
In addition to the powder, a pet first-aid kit should have gauze and tape, a small bar of soap, a disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide or alcohol wipes, Benadryl (plain, with no ibuprofen or acetaminophen), cotton balls and disinfecting hand wash (for you). Its main purpose is to treat small cuts and scrapes, but you can add other items that you think are essential, including the veterinarian’s phone number, extra identification tags, copies of your pet’s shot records and a spare leash. More ideas can be found at the Humane Society of the United States’ website.