Styptic powder can be purchased online or via your local pet supply store, in the grooming and care section. This powder serves three basic functions:
- It stops bleeding by promoting clotting;
- It contains a topical pain relieving agent; and
- Some varieties have antiseptic properties that serve to kill bacteria and prevent infection.
This handy powder, which should be included in your pet first aid kit, has a number of applications involving bleeding, including:
- Minor cuts and scratches
- Freshly-docked tails
- Freshly-cropped ears
- Broken blood feathers in birds
- Bleeding nails (due to a broken nail or a nail that was clipped too short.)
To use this powder, pinch a bit from the jar and apply it to the area that’s bleeding. Alternatively, for bleeding nails, pour a bit into the cap and dip the nail into the powder.
You will need to re-apply the powder as the blood rinses it away — this is the key to its effectiveness. It typically takes three or four applications (every 15-20 seconds) until the bleeding stops. It’s especially handy for nails, where you cannot effectively apply pressure to stop the bleeding, along with other areas like incisions, where the area is too painful or fragile to apply pressure. The pain relieving agent also helps to dull the pain, making it particularly handy for broken nails or nails that have been accidentally cut too short or “quicked.”
It’s important to store the styptic powder in a dry location and you must be sure to close the lid tightly as the powder is really sensitive to moisture and it will form rock-hard clumps if it’s exposed to humid air or moisture.
See our related article for additional tips on handling a pet’s broken nail or a nail that has been clipped too short.