While playing with your beloved dog, you suddenly notice that one of their nails is sticking out sideways. It's concerning to see that your dog has a broken nail. Don't worry! Our vets at Los Angeles have shared some valuable tips on how to treat a broken nail in your furry friend.
Symptoms of a Damaged Nail
- When a pet holds up its paw instead of walking on it, it may indicate favoring or discomfort
- If your pet is limping or appears to be avoiding putting weight on one of their paws while walking, it may be a sign that they are experiencing discomfort or pain
- There is blood on your dog's bedding
- My dog keeps licking their paw non-stop
- A paw or toe that is visibly swollen
- If there is resistance when you attempt to examine a paw or toe, it may indicate discomfort or pain
- My nail is at an odd angle
If possible, check your dog's paw when you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above.
My Dog has a Broken Nail at Base
If the nail is down to the quick, it is crucial to seek appropriate treatment from a veterinarian. They can recommend pain relief medication and perform the necessary treatment while your pet is under sedation to ensure their comfort.
If your dog's nail is not broken down to the quick, our veterinarians at Los Angeles has provided five steps for treating it.
- Carefully remove the remaining piece of nail. To prevent further injury and promote proper healing and regrowth of the nail, it is recommended to remove the remaining portion of the nail that is dangling. Some individuals have successfully used pet nail clippers to cut the dangling piece just above the point of breakage or tearing. This method can result in a clean cut and increase the likelihood of proper nail regrowth.
- Stop the bleeding. To stop bleeding from a wound, applying a styptic pencil or powder can be effective, as it contains a cauterizing agent that seals the wound. In the absence of a styptic pencil or powder, you can use regular flour or cornstarch on the wound and compress it with a towel for a couple of minutes until the bleeding stops.
- Clean the wound and disinfect the toe to prevent infection. First, wash your pet's paw with warm water to remove any dirt or debris. Next, spray an antiseptic specifically made for pets onto the toe to disinfect the area and alleviate any discomfort caused by the open wound. If the wound starts to bleed again, apply pressure or use a styptic pencil or powder.
- Bandage the paw. Bandaging a dog's paws can be difficult because they don't usually like it. To make it easier, you can loosely wrap the paw with a bandage and use first-aid tape to secure it. Alternatively, you can place a clean sock over the paw and tape it in place. Using a sock is a good option because it allows more movement for the paw and decreases the likelihood of your dog pulling it off. If your dog keeps removing the bandage or sock, it may be necessary to put an Elizabethan collar (also known as an "E collar") around their neck for a few days until the wound is healed.
- Change the bandage every day and keep the area clean. Change your dog's paw bandage or sock daily and clean the paw with warm water before applying a new one. Look for signs of infection like swelling, oozing pus, or bleeding mixed with pus. Take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice these signs. When the wound is healing well, you can replace the bandage or sock. Remove the E collar after 2-3 days when the wound has healed enough to prevent licking.
How long does it take to heal a broken nail?
After removing the damaged nail and controlling the infection, a new nail will begin to grow immediately. If kept clean and dry, the dressing can typically be removed after three days or changed and removed after six. It's important to prevent future nail damage, which is often caused by overgrown dewclaws.
How can I help my dog avoid broken nails?
Trimming your dog's nails is important to prevent broken nails. Short nails are less likely to catch. Ask your vet for a demonstration on how to clip nails properly. If you're not comfortable, schedule appointments for nail trimming. Use sharp nail trimmers designed for dogs to avoid damage and breakage. Don't forget to add nail maintenance to your list of tasks.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.