How To Take Care Of Your Dog’s Broken Nail


Your dog’s broken nail issues aren’t something severe, however, they must get timely attention. In some cases, minor issues can resolve within a day or two, but for issues that don’t resolve on their own, you must consult a veterinary expert. 

A dog sitting on top of a wooden floor

A dog’s nail is nothing different from a human nail. They exist as living tissue with a part protective coating. Moreover, the nail quick consists of nerves and blood vessels that are attached to the bone. This quick is again protected with a tough cellular protein exterior called keratin. This is primarily the reason why trimming nails isn’t much painful for your pets, however, exposing them quickly becomes uncomfortable. 

Most experts believe that healthy dog nails that reach a certain length do not break easily unless there is some trauma involved. But, in some cases, dogs tend to develop broken nails because of a rare condition known as onychodystrophy. This condition can result in weak and deformed nails, although it is rare. 

A cat lying on the grass

But, if you are still worried over why your dog’s nails break often, then the simple answer would be because of overgrowth. If the claws are not regularly trimmed, then they overgrow and easily break after catching on carpets or floor cracks. 

Know Everything About Your Dog’s Broken Nail

Understanding your little pup requires noticing his behaviour to identify any paw problem. If you see him licking his paws incessantly or limping, then he might be having a nail problem. However, if he is suffering from excruciating pain, then he might also cry out suddenly. In severe cases, you might happen to notice blood on the floor and that’s when it becomes alarming for the pet parents.

It’s natural for someone to be scared after seeing blood on their dog’s paws, but remember that it’s not severely dangerous. For you, it might be a mess, but the bleeding will stop after some time. Many a time, the nail injury becomes too painful for the pups to even lick it and as a result, there turns out to be more blood than expected. 

So, what can you do to cool him down? Firstly, try to make him calm and stable for a nail inspection. He might refrain from showing his paw because of the tenderness of the area. However, keep a treat bag nearby so that he gets tempted. In most cases, when you have a closer look, you will see that the claw gets ripped off or remains cracked. 

When Does A Dog Nail Injury Become An Emergency?

Every dog nail injury is not always a case of an emergency. Take a look at the difference between a serious and a minor case.

  • When the bleeding gets under control in no time and the claw doesn’t remain tender, then this is a minor injury. It could resolve within 24 hours and may or might not require any treatment. However, remember that it can take a week for the claw to grow back. Nonetheless, if there is no bleeding or pain or even the slightest infection, then there is nothing to be worried about.
  • In case of a serious injury, you will see that the claw is torn off. Moreover, a vet might also require to cut the claw higher up, almost closer to the paw. Note that this injury becomes less severe if it is appropriately treated within 24 hours.
  • Sometimes, the problem can last over a week if there is a broken fragment left below the injury. This can require professional help because if the fragment moves below the point of injury then it can delay the whole healing process and result in more bleeding and pain. 
  • To be sure if your dog has any infection is by checking if his toe becomes red or not. If the injury becomes more painful, then your dog might start limping again. Sometimes, a foul-smelling discharge might also ooze out from the infected claw. An unlikely worst-case scenario would require a surgical amputation if the infection starts spreading into the bone of the toe. 

Can Someone Fix His Dog’s Broken Nail?

While mending your dog’s broken nail, you must see that you have everything set up beforehand. Keep in hand the following:

  • A pair of nail trimmers good enough to fit your dog’s nails.
  • Self-adherent bandage along with 2” x 2” gauze squares.
  • In case of bleeding, you might also need styptic powder. Alternatively, cornstarch or flour should be enough.

Points To Keep In Mind While Cutting Away The Injured nail

This isn’t a one-person job because you will need another person to comfort your pup.

  1. Firstly, use the trimmers to trim off the broken bit of claw. If this does not work, then you can cut through the nail above the injury. This will hurt your pup because you will be removing a broken claw.
  2. Now, coming to the next part, you have to stem the bleeding by pressing the styptic powder directly on the nail’s cut edge. You can either pack it into the cut or place the nail into the powder’s container cap.
  3. Fix the bandage using the gauze squares and adhesive tapes. Lastly, do not forget to clean up the dog’s fur and not the wound using pet-safe hydrogen peroxide.

When To Seek The Vet’s Help?

Remember that you are not an expert medical professional and if you are uncomfortable with the process, then do not step ahead. See any veterinary care to get proper and safe treatment.

  • Experts will help in giving a full nail trim to your dog and provide regular exams to correct the injury.
  • The prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatories will reduce any infection-related risks.
  • In most cases, the dog remains frightened and therefore, sedation becomes necessary. 

Coming to the costs, the average vet charge might range somewhere around $50-$80. For nail trimming, there might be an additional $20, including $20-$60 for medications. Further, sedation charges may go up to $100. Hence, your total costs should somewhere be around $200-$300. 

Can One Avoid These Broken Nail Issues?

The answer is yes, one can. The first thing to keep in mind to avoid any such problem is regular nail trimming. From the time you get a pup, make sure that both of you get used to this activity. As a result, there will be less stress every time you are about to trim your nails. Also, treat him with a reward when he makes things less messy for you.

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