Dogs nails are different from ours but require the same care, so you have to keep them clean and make sure they wear well or trim them. This part of the dog’s paw is more fragile than it may seem at first, since the nails can break and sometimes they do so in a way that causes pain to the animal. It is common to hear someone comment that their dog has broken a nail and had to take him to the vet, but do not be alarmed since although it is quite common and scary if there is bleeding, it is not serious. You just have to know how to act to solve the problem and avoid it hurting our dog too much. In this unCOMO article we are going to solve the question about ” what to do if my dog breaks a nail?“So keep reading and find out the possible reasons, what to do, first aid and how to avoid it.
Why do dogs’ nails fall and break?
Surely you will notice that your dog has a broken or broken nail when you look closely at the paw or when your dog limps or if you see blood on his fingers. Sometimes there may be bleeding and other times nothing at all, this will depend on whether the nail is crooked, half broken, torn , etc., and at what level of it.
The main causes of broken nails in dogs are the fact that they are very long, that they run and exercise a lot or on rocky terrain and accidents such as stomping on people.
The nails that can suffer more injuries are the spurs, that is, those that are equivalent to the thumbs and are a little higher. This is because they do not wear against the ground and grow larger, so they can snag. If you see your broken dog’s claw nail, take it to the vet as soon as you can, since they usually tear when they get hooked and hurt a lot.
When can a broken nail hurt a dog?
The nails of the dogs can be divided mainly in three areas: at the tip, that is, once the nerve is finished , in the middle and at the base of the nail, affecting the nerve in both cases.
When it comes to the tip and the nerve is not compromised the dog will not hurt, he may be uncomfortable if he has been hit but the nerve will not radiate pain. On the other hand, when the nerve is involved then the animal will feel pain , which can be more or less intense depending on the severity of the wound and whether it is closer to or further from the leg. The more a piece of nerve is affected, the more a broken nail can hurt a dog.
What to do if my dog breaks a nail
It is normal that when our dog breaks a nail we are scared, especially if we see that it bleeds a lot. However, we should not be alarmed as we can do several things to fix it if it is mild and also to alleviate discomfort and bleeding if it is a more serious injury, until we can get to a vet. If you ask yourself ” what to do if my dog breaks a nail? ” Pay attention to the following steps:
Look at the nail
Pour a little water on the leg of your furry to clean the area and so you can see better if the nail has broken whole or only part and if there is a lot of piece still hooked to the rest of the nail or not. Remember that it can be divided into three main parts and the closer to the paw the more serious it will be, since the more it can bleed and the more it will hurt our dog. Therefore, if you see that it is only the tip, without touching the nerve and it does not bleed, you can file it a little and that’s it. On the other hand, if the nerve is affected you will have to use the following first aid to relieve the pain to the animal while taking it to the vet.
Remove the piece of nail if possible
You can only finish removing the broken nail yourself if you have a very fine part stuck, if there is a good piece or half that you should not try to remove. If there is little left, it must be removed because the dog will be hurting a lot and before reaching the vet it can be hooked more times and bleed more, so it is better to save problems and after removing it, go to the specialist. This first aid is in case it takes a long time to arrive, if we are near the veterinary center we can go directly.
To remove the piece of nail, if it remains hanging from a very small piece, you have to take a piece of paper or gauze, wrap the piece and press, while with the other hand hold the leg well and give a firm and quick pull. It will never be slow, since then we will cause great pain to the animal, on the other hand if it is done quickly it hurts less and it passes faster.
Stops bleeding and cleans the wound
If there is little blood it will serve to clean the area well as we will explain below, but if it bleeds enough you will have to make it decrease or stop completely. But how do you stop bleeding from a dog’s nail? Really, since it is an area where there is a nerve and even the tip of the nerve is heavily irrigated, it is probably difficult to stop the bleeding completely at home, but it must be reduced as much as possible. Pour abundant hydrogen peroxide and with a sterile gauze, paper or cotton wrap the wound and press. Make a bandage to hold it well until you get to the vet. Veterinarians to cut bleeding much faster use silver nitrate , so if you have at home you can apply it directly.
Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory ointments
Once at the vet, he will see what else should be done and you must follow his guidelines. Once the broken nail is no longer bleeding and there is no risk of it getting caught more, the specialist will make a bandage applying some cream or ointment. He will also prescribe some medicine or ointment to make recovery faster and safer, with an antibiotic so that he does not become infected and with anti-inflammatories or pain relievers to calm inflammation and pain in the dog. If you see that at some point the dog’s nail is infected, go back to the vet.
How to prevent my dog from cutting a nail
To prevent your dog from breaking his nails, you will have to follow these basic hygiene and care guidelines:
- File and cut your dog’s nails: when you notice that they are long you should cut them. If you wonder how to cut my dog’s nails keep in mind that it should always be ahead of the nerve. In case this is not visible, as it happens in dark nails, notice when your furry rests the paw on the ground if the fingers are curled and then you will know that it is too long and you must cut all the piece that exceeds length the base of the finger or the pad , since normally the nerve is before this part. However, in cases where it is not very clear it is better to let it be done by a professional.
- Pay special attention to the spur: as we have mentioned before, the spur is the nail that usually grows the most and can hook more easily and break or even dig into the leg. For this reason, look at it and cut it out more often than the others.
- Avoid taking your dog for a run if he has long nails: if our furry has too long nails and runs, whether in the city or in the country or on the beach, he will surely end up breaking his nails. It is better not to go until you have them shorter.
- Beware of stomping: watch to avoid stepping on the dog’s paws, as it can do a lot of damage and even break nails or feet, depending on the strength of the footprint and the size of the dog.
Depending on the dog, a broken nail can be very bulky due to the large amount of blood that our pets can lose. We see our dog limp, lick his paw or howl, but blood or not, a broken nail must be attended to.
A Little Caution
Every dog is different and no one knows a dog better than its owner, but remember that when injured, a dog will instinctively try to protect itself. This means that your dog may bite or growl at you if something hurts, as they will not know that we just want to help you. Depending on the character of the dog we should use a muzzle.
If possible, we should remove any part of broken nails that may still be attached. These broken pieces often cause the dog more pain and can increase bleeding or prevent it from being cut each time a further piece of the nail is broken.
The quickest way to do this is with a dog nail clipper. Sometimes the nail is hardly supported and can be easily removed by hand.
The injured nail should be gently washed with warm water to remove any dirt lodged between the nail and the finger or leg.
If there is active bleeding, we should wait for it to cut before we can wash it off. We will apply gentle, firm pressure with a clean cloth to the area. A firm grip around the entire foot works best if the dog allows it.
Visit the Vet:
This type of injury often leaves a bloody “stump” of tissue that would normally be inside the toenail. This piece of skin is very sensitive, so it is recommended that your vet take a look at this type of injury as soon as possible.
If our pet has lost a nail, most vets will bandage the area and prescribe a short course of antibiotics as prophylaxis against infection. Another method is to use an antibiotic ointment (with frequent dressing changes) on the stump to lubricate it and reduce friction and pain.
In cases of severe or repeated injury, your vet may recommend removal of this “stump.”
Sometimes an injury to the toenails of these animals occurs without any known blow or reason. A veterinary examination is important to rule out other possible causes, such as an infection or tumor in the area, which weakens the toenail and causes a secondary break.
What should I do if I cut my dog’s nail too much?
We should always have a first aid kit at home. When we accidentally cut a nail that is too short, we need to have everything necessary to stop bleeding on hand. Bandages and other first aid items can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies.
We must apply pressure to the area to stop bleeding from the nail. Another good idea is to keep ice on the cut surface (if the dog allows it) to help stop the bleeding.
If our pet has any nail injury, it is important that we always go to the vet so that he can assess the injury correctly.