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What to do when you cut a dog?

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  • What to do when you cut a dog?

    I cut my first dog today...:-(
    I was just wanting to know what others procedure is when they cut a dog.
    I cut a wee bit out of the ear with the clippers....I feel so bad and so stupid, I was holding the clippers the wrong way.....
    Anyway the ear was bleeding so I applied some stop bleed powder and pressure and it slowed right down (I'm mobile, so I was out in the van by myself) because it was my first cut and I didnt know what to do, I decided to keep grooming as the dog wasnt distressed and the wound wasnt bleeding - just weeping a bit....and to give myself a bit of time to consider my options. My first thought was to not say anything *blush* hangs head in shame, but I realised that the owner would see the wound and I just couldnt ignore it, that I would feel too bad - emotionally and professionally.
    So when I had finished grooming (3-4 mins later) I took the dog to the owner and I said I wanted to take the dog to the vet to be checked. We took the dog to the local vet together.
    The vet praised my actions as the wound had stopped bleeding, and said there was nothing more they could do at that stage, bu t to bring the dog back if the owner had any concerns.
    I paid the vet fee and was not going to charge for the groom. The owner said she wanted to pay something for the groom so we agreed on half price.
    Know I know if I harm a dog that I am fully responsible for the vet costs, but what about the groom cost?
    What do you charge for the groom when the dog has needed vet care?
    What do you say to the owner - exact words, so I know for next time?
    What follow up measures do you take?
    I'm a bit shaken up and want to learn from my mistake so I can deal with it if it happens again *fingers crossed it doesnt*

  • #2
    For minor things I don't discount the grooming however I give a discount on the next grooming.I have never(knock on wood) had any severe injuries to a dog.I have found if you are honest 95% of the time the owner will understand and will return.the other 5% wants it for free because they have been conditioned to believe anything that may happen is a free grooming no matter what the case .I find those people to be the ones that nit pick every single hair in order to get it for free.Less give a way's tend to curve that thought process.But I'm glad you were honest,clients will remember your honesty and respect you more for it.good job!


    • #3
      Be HONEST and take care of it. If it needs to go to the vet than offer to take it. Just make sure you get a copy of the bill if you don't take the dog yourself. Too many times we get charged for the teeth the owner decided to have cleaned while the dog was under, or the neuter they just snuck right in. Also don't beat yourself up learn from it we have all cut a dog it happens.

      I personally don't use quick stop (stop bleeding powder) That sh** stings, and I don't think it is ment to be packed into a wound. I also think it can cause more bleeding when used for the wrong thing. Keep the quick stop on nails
      If you sweat the small stuff, all you have is small soggy stuff.....


      • #4
        I once cut a dog (long story) anyway took to the vet and paid all charges and gave him a copy of what vet did and charged and gave grooming for free.
        Owner came back the next day and paid vet bill and the grooming bill.
        He trusted me and my judgement and knew dog was'nt always perfect. He was a customer for rest of the dogs life.
        This owner I know is far and away unusual but taught me to always be honest and trust your feelings.
        IMO doing the best you can do in a given situation and being honest can only help you in the long run, some owners, however, will never be happy no matter what.
        It's a **** shoot!
        After 30 years I still dont have a set thing for this situation, it's a case by case situation by what happened to the dog and why.
        Hope this helps and good luck.


        • #5
          It sounds like you handled things very well. The knick was a mistake yet you admitted it and did the right thing by going to the vet. Now you not only have a client who knows you are honest, but a vet as well !! They may be really good for your future business.

          I don't think cutting her bill in half was necessary, but I know how guilt can affect us! Probably a smaller discount would've been sufficient.

          The only thing to watch for on knicks to ears is if the dog does seem to realize it has happened and it may hurt a bit. Often the dogs will shake their heads, OH BOY, look out, if they shake you could have a spray of blood all over. It is hard to stop an ear if they shake it. You'd have to tape the ear down to their head. You can use something like vet wrap or even a Happy hoodie. Hopefully you won't experience anything this dramatic!

          My last ear knick was to a young schnauzer pup, maybe 3-4 mos. a real cutie but oh so wiggly... he had to see what I was doing when I tried to clip the inside of his ear. I ended up knicking that the tiny fold they have about at the mid ear on the outter edge. I packed it w/ qwik stop and held it for a miniute...that was hard with this happy pup! He never knew it had happened. I told the owner and they weren't distressed at all.



          • #6
            I think you did fine and acted responsibly. I am always of the mind that you should 'tattle' on yourself, no matter what, because honesty is the best way to go ALWAYS. I have never injured a dog to the point of needing vet care, but if I did, I would NOT charge a penny for the grooming and cover the cost of the related vet care. I have cut two cats (skin caught in clippers and made a small cut that looked BIG when the skin stretched, but neither bled at all), three ears with clippers on the inside of the ear (bled like heck, but eventually stopped with gentle pressure), one toe knuckle I caught with my thinners that did not bleed, was only in the skin, but looked open and two shih tzu tongues that I skimmed with my #10 blade while shaving the lips (those bled like crazy but only for a minute). I offered to comp all of these grooms 100% because I felt so bad. They all felt I deserved to be paid full price, but I was able to talk one into at least half off to make ME feel better about it. I followed them all up with calls the following day, and not one pet had any problems. They are all still loyal clients, too, except one who moved. These have all happened since 2004 and doesn't include the occasional toenail that I get too short. It has been a long time since I have caused an injury, but they traumatized me so much, that I will never forget any of them. I will also never forget how understanding each client has been and that if I had not been honest about the situations, they may not have been so understanding. It has helped that the pets didn't seem to even NOTICE, but I am sure they were just being brave...poor beh behs. Sorry to ramble, just know you are not alone, it is not the end of the world and just use it as a reminder to always be careful with sharp tools : )


            • #7
              I wrote about how I handle tjhat kind of thing on a blog I have. It's old, haven't written on it in well over a year, but still handle things the same way. if you want to read it the blog is at
              What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


              • #8
                I guess we're bad because we've never taken a dog to the vet. We always let them know about it, but as far as I know they've never been to the vet because of it. I didn't know you were supposed to. Grooming school never did.
                The only time we did was the dog had a vet appointment anyway and the vet said anything else? And she said I guess he got cut on his belly.. and when they looked at it it had stretched open and did need stitches and we paid her back for that one. But I've seen the same kind of belly cuts come back healed fine and they never said anything about going to the vet...


                • #9
                  You asked about "exact words"...what to say to the owner???/

                  I think PAWS had a GREAT thought! Just start by saying "I'm tattling on myself, I accidently nicked your pooches ear when he went West and I was clipping North". I love the "TATTLING ON MYSELF" part!

                  I think part of the reaction (or over-reaction!) on the part of the owner, for a minor boo-boo, can be very much determined by your reaction..or over-reaction.
                  If it really isn't serious...don't get so emotionally over-wrought that the owner feeds off that.
                  I think when it happens to me (oh, and it WILL) I will switch into a gear where I make myself pretend it is my dog...and approach from that angle.
                  I think that sometimes when it is someone else's pet, we have a tendency to blow the situation up bigger than reality.

                  Knock on head,...I haven't really ever injured a dog, but I'm gonna remember the "tattle" line. Good one PAWS!
                  Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.


                  • #10
                    I have had minor cuts happen before, but luckily I've always groomed at a vet when this has happened. I've never had a owner get really upset, always understanding. Just be honest and caring and more than likely the owner will be ok I think. I know last week I qucked a dog's nails early in the morning and when the owner got the dog home late in the evening the dog's nails had started bleeding again. She called and we told her to bring the dog back and we would fix it. The vet was concerned about a Vit K problem since clotting seemed to be an issue. Like I said, there was at least a 6 to 7 hour period between the time I did the nails and the time the dog got home!


                    • #11
                      I nicked a small poodle mix dog yesterday. The owner wanted all the long shaggy hair gone. Her words were, "I want him shaved almost to the skin". So, with his hair type I decided to go with the 7F. I have used a 7F hundreds of times with no problems. I know they can cut a dog, but it hasn't happened to me in a long time. So, I'm clipping the hair down the middle of his back and he jumps up, due to jet noise (I live on an Air Force Base and he are constantly bombarded with LOUD fighter jet noise) and his flank skin catches the edge of the clipper. It didn't bleed at all. It happened in a matter of a half second. I felt horrible. I finished his groom and then had 2 other dogs to groom before his mommy came back to get him. So, the entire time I'm thinking, "what am I going to tell her." I know if I don't tell her she is going to see it. She's gonna know that I did it and didn't bother to tell her. So, I decided to just tell her exactly what happened. I really stressed myself out over it too! So, she arrives and comes in and I get her dog and she ooohs and aaaahhs over how cute his is as I'm getting him out of the kennel. I told her that we had a little issue and that he was nicked by my clipper. I showed her the area and told her that it never bled and that I didn't think it was going to be a problem. But, if she wanted to take him to the vet, or if it got any worse that I would be happy to pay for it. I told her how horrible I felt. She told me not to worry about it because she wasn't worried at all. Her mom is a vet tech and she has worked as a vet tech and she said that it was really no big deal. Man, that made me feel so much better!

                      Sorry this turned into a novel. But, I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. I have been grooming dogs for over 15 years and this is only the 3rd dog that I've injured. Well, not counting quicking nails. As far as nails go I was taught in school that if you aren't quicking a few nails here and there then you aren't clipping them short enough!

                      So, I would say the best policy is to always be truthful. I offered to comp her grooming fee and she wouldn't have it. She said that I deserved to be paid for my work.


                      • #12
                        I think you have gotten pretty good responses so far. I guess the only thing I'd add is compare the nick to having the same injury on yourself. If it's something you wouldn't even bother to slap a bandage on if it was on some part of your own body, I wouldn't suggest a vet visit to the owner. It's expensive for you, worrisome for the pet owner, and to be honest, it wastes the vet's time. Only the vet is going to charge you for wasting his/her time.

                        For minor booboos, I'd still charge full price for the groom. You did the work, and you should get paid. If, on the other hand, you sliced the dog wide open, broke his leg, or poked out an eye...nooooo, you shouldn't charge for the groom.


                        • #13
                          Good advice from all of you, what do you want us to use if we shouldn't use quick stop or silver nitrate sticks??? Just appling pressure doesn't work on some places, I heard some say they use superglue on the wound!??? What's best????


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Plexi View Post
                            Good advice from all of you, what do you want us to use if we shouldn't use quick stop or silver nitrate sticks??? Just appling pressure doesn't work on some places, I heard some say they use superglue on the wound!??? What's best????
                            as a groomer you should be able to purchase nexiband (liquid stitches) from your vet ,I prefer this over super glue. however in a pinch super glue can be used for minor skin wounds such as ear nicks. But always tell the customer if you have had to use it... I personally keep it on hand for my minor cuts, it stings much less than liquid bandage or new skin product.


                            • #15
                              First you say "OH S***"

                              Then you press the area hard and also try to get it to stop bleeding. Depending on the severity, you may notify the owner asap. Always admit it. Sometimes a little surgical glue works on a shaved clean wound. Check the blade for a broken tooth and see how sharp or dull it is. Comfort the dog and apologize to him/her. Don't blame yourself , accidents happen. Learn from your mistakes whenever possible. Learn from other groomers too. Try to have a better day tomorrow.