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My Dog Has Broken A Nail. What Do I Do?

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. But don't worry! Our vets in Palmdale have shared some valuable tips on how to treat a broken nail in your furry friend.

How do I know if my dog broke a nail?

If your dog breaks a nail, it can be painful and may require immediate attention.

Here are the signs that your dog may have a broken nail

  • A pet holding up its paw instead of walking on it may indicate favor 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 you encounter resistance when examining a paw or toe, it may indicate discomfort or pain.
  • My nail is at an odd angle.

My Dog has a Broken Nail at the Base

If your pet's nail is cut too short, causing bleeding or exposing them quickly, it's essential to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible.

A veterinarian can provide pain relief medication and perform necessary treatment while your pet is under sedation to ensure their comfort.

However, if the nail is not broken down quickly, you can follow these five steps provided by our veterinarians at Palmdale to treat it.

  1. Carefully remove the remaining piece of nail. To prevent further damage and facilitate proper healing and regrowth of the nail, removing the remaining part hanging loose is advisable. Some people have successfully used pet nail clippers to neatly trim the hanging portion just above the point where it broke or tore. This technique can result in a clean cut and improve the chances of the nail regrowing properly.
  2. Stop the bleeding. To stop bleeding from a wound, you can use a styptic pencil or powder, which contains a cauterizing agent that seals the wound. You can use regular flour or cornstarch on the wound if you don't have a styptic pencil or powder. Compress the wound with a towel for a couple of minutes until the bleeding stops.
  3. Clean the wound and disinfect the toe to prevent infection. To clean your pet's injured paw, wash it with warm water to remove dirt or debris. Then, spray an antiseptic specially formulated for pets onto the toe to disinfect the area and reduce any pain caused by the open wound. If the wound begins to bleed again, apply pressure or use a styptic pencil or powder.
  4. Bandage the paw. Bandaging a dog's paws can be quite challenging as dogs usually don't like it. To make it easier, you can wrap the paw loosely with a bandage and use first-aid tape to secure it. Alternatively, you can put 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 reduces the likelihood of your dog pulling it off. However, 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.
  5. Change the bandage every day and keep the area clean. It's important to change your dog's paw bandage or sock daily and clean the paw using warm water before applying a new one. Watch out for any signs of infection, such as swelling, oozing pus, or bleeding mixed with pus. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to the vet immediately. Once the wound is healing properly, you can replace the bandage or sock. You should remove the E collar after 2-3 days when the wound is 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.

Accidents can still happen even if you take great care of your pet's paws. If your dog breaks a nail, don't hesitate to contact our veterinarians at Palmdale. We are always available to assist you and your beloved pet.

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All Care Pet Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Palmdale's companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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