As a professional pet groomer, you know it’s going to happen. Sooner or later you’re going to accidentally trim a nail too close to the quick – and it’s going to bleed.
You know that while the pet is in your salon, you have the resources to correct the problem: a pinch of styptic powder, firm pressure for at least 30 seconds. Done. Fixed nail.
But in the back of your mind, you have those nagging questions…
- What if the nail breaks open again?
- What if the nail breaks open in the car?
- What if the nail breaks open in their home and gets blood all over the carpet?
- How was the client going to feel?
- How are they going to stop the bleeding?
- How are they going to clean up the mess?
None of these scenarios will leave a positive impression with the client. So, how do you head off this problem? How can you turn a negative into a positive?
Being honest with your client is a proactive way to deal with this common occurrence. I have a standing policy that our salon will pick up the tab for any professional upholstery cleaning that is needed if the toenail breaks open at home. Because we hand out these nail mending kits, our emergency upholstery cleaning budget has been reduced dramatically.
We automatically send the client home with a nail mending kit whenever we have to use styptic powder to stop the bleeding from a quicked nail. We’ve been making these packets for over 20 years. They work like a charm, they’re easy to make with the right equipment, and are super inexpensive.
Start by telling your client which toenail had been trimmed too closely. Some clients don’t know what this means and it can be a little scary to them. Remember, this might have happened a few times in your salon and you know what to do, but it might be the first time they’ve experienced this with their pet. Be patient. Empathize with them – you want them to know that you care. You want them to know that you take even minor injuries seriously. While you want to validate their concerns, you also want them to know that quicking a nail is fairly common and can occasionally happen on any pet. The good news is that it can be easily fixed and that there shouldn’t be any more issues with the foot. Encourage them to take steps to prevent the nail from re-opening, such as avoiding walks on pavement or abrasive surfaces for a few hours. That should do it – but just in case the nail starts to bleed again it home, we give them the solution to fix a bleeding nail at home.
So what is in a nail mending kit? Just three items:
- a small plastic bag,
- a mini instruction sheet,
- one gelatin capsule of styptic powder.
It sounds like a lot, but guess what? They’re super easy to make!
Next, you want a large container of your favorite styptic powder. Follow the directions on the machine to create the capsules. I recommend putting a piece of paper underneath the machine to catch any spillage so it can be returned to the container. You may wish to use a mask during this process, as the powder can be irritating. Don’t forget to completely seal your container of styptic powder when you’re done. This stuff can quickly harden if not kept in an air-tight container.
Once you’ve made up a couple batches of the nail mending capsules, pop them into small plastic bags. We use small Ziploc-type bags that we purchase in bulk from a packaging company, like U-Line. Because we prepare them in advance, having a bag/pouch that zips to seal ensures that the powder won’t dry out.
Lastly, you’ll also include very clear, simple instructions on how to utilize the powder (see our example). It is VERY important that the client understands that this IS NOT an oral treatment. The client will need to break the caplet apart, pouring the powder onto a piece of paper towel or a small paper plate. Next, they need to take a small pinch between their fingers and apply it to the end of the toenail that is bleeding. It is important that they hold it for on the end of the nail for at least 30 seconds.
If they have any questions or concerns if the nail breaks open at home, we always encourage them to call us first.
Here’s another bonus trade secret to give your clients: hydrogen peroxide removes blood. It usually does a nice job of removing blood from carpet, fabric, or the dog’s fur. We also encourage them to test a small spot first before they use hydrogen peroxide in on a larger area. Just in case.
As a pet groomer, I always want to get the nails as short as possible without causing them to bleed. The last thing I want to do is make a dog uncomfortable. Trimming nails too close is unpleasant for you, the dog, and the owner. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. Nails get trimmed too short – and they will bleed. It is going to happen – period. By being honest with our customers and supplying them with a nail mending kit, we have reduced the negative consequences and let them know we care.
Here’s a video on the topics that you can see on Learn2GroomDogs.com
If you like this blog, you might want to read last week’s issue.