My dog broke her nail and it is bleeding – can I treat it at home?

Our question this week was:

Hey, Dr. Debra – I’ve got a female boxer. Her nails are getting long and I noticed that when she came inside the other day, she had broke one off on her back foot, causing it to bleed. I was going to cut them, but I’m afraid I’ll hurt her. Is this something that I need to have done by the DR.? Do they give her pain killers first?

JD Lowes


Hi JD – thanks for your email. You wrote that your boxer broke a toe nail. It is possible to treat a broken nail at home but it can be difficult. Most dog owners bring their dogs in to veterinarians for this treatment.

Basically, you can wrap the foot to control bleeding but the broken nail needs to be removed. Pain killers are nice but not completely necessary in all situations. It would be similar to you or I breaking a nail too short. It hurts but isn’t life threatening.

What happens at the clinic is … the dog is properly restrained so the nail can be examined and the flap of the nail is removed. It is often bandaged – to control any bleeding and the pet is sent home. Antibiotics are usually not given nor are pain killers.

An article that might be helpful to you is Torn Toenail in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!