What to Do with a Canine Torn Toenail
Suddenly you notice – there’s blood on your dog’s paw and he is limping and licking his paw. When you take a closer look you see the problem – a terrible torn toenail. Toenail problems, specifically torn or broken nails, are common in dogs but rarely life-threatening. Nevertheless, they are quite painful.
Nails often get snagged on fabric or carpet fibers, and in an attempt to dislodge the attached material, your dog might pull away, tearing the nail in the process. You might not even notice until you see blood or your dog begins to limp or cry. If left untreated, a torn nail can bleed intermittently and become infected, not to mention the pain and irritation for your dog.
Veterinary Care for a Torn Toenail
Some torn nails can be treated at home if your dog will allow it, but veterinary care can reduce the potential for infection and provide easy removal of the torn nail. Depending on the extent of the tear, removal of the nail at the level of tear is usually sufficient. This is most easily done with nail trimmers. After removal of the broken part, your veterinarian may apply a temporary bandage to stop bleeding. He may also prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.
If you try to treat your dog at home, remember: a torn nail is painful for your dog and you should take care to avoid getting bit. The following steps are important:
The best preventative care is to trim your dog’s nails frequently. Overgrown nails are most commonly affected.
For more information on how to trim your dogs nails, see Toenail Trimming.