Styptic powder is an antiseptic clotting agent that is most often used in pet grooming. Much like a styptic pencil, which is made of alum, the powder stops bleeding by contracting the blood vessels. Most pet groomers and veterinarians keep it on hand. This powder is most often used on dogs, cats, and birds and is a good product for pet owners to keep on hand as well.
Dogs and cats have blood vessels running down the centers of their claws. When the nails are trimmed during grooming or routine care, they can easily be cut too close to the blood vessels. Amazingly, when nicked, these blood vessels can produce an alarming amount of blood. Applying styptic powder to this type of seemingly minor injury can not only stop the bleeding, but can make future trimming easier.
Styptic powder causes the vessels to contract further back into the claw and also clots the blood. Not only does it control the bleeding of over-trimmed nails, it helps prevent bacteria from the surrounding area entering the blood stream. This particular first-aid agent is not only useful for accidents while trimming dogs and cats’ nails, but also birds’ beaks. Veterinarians use it to control bleeding of other external injuries as well.
To use styptic powder, simply dip the affected paw or beak into a small bowl or container of it. Do not dip the area into the container of powder, but rather pour the powder into a separate container to make applying easier. Only a small amount is necessary — just enough to cover the affected area. It generally stops bleeding on contact, but should bleeding continue, proceed to apply light pressure to the area and then reapply the powder. If the bleeding is uncontrollable, seek the services of a veterinarian.