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What to do if your dog breaks a nail? Breaking a nail is a common occurrence for our canine companions. They run, roughhouse, and walk through all sorts of terrain, so it isn’t unusual for dogs to have a nail incident at some point in their life. Depending upon the severity, it can be painful for them and unsettling when we see the nail area bleeding.

There are a few important things to remember when treating nail injuries. This is why your friends at Westarbor Animal Hospital are here to explain what you should do when your dog breaks a nail.

To Begin

Before you inspect the injured nail, make sure your pet is as comfortable as they can be. If your pet has a tendency to snap or bite, they may require a light muzzle or assistance from a family member. Remember that any serious bleeding that doesn’t stop within 2-3 minutes needs emergency care. Call your veterinarian first to discuss the type of tear or break your dog experienced.

Gather these tools you will need to treat your pet’s paw. These include:

  • Clean, dry towels
  • Warm water-soaked rags
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Ice
  • Styptic powder
  • Treats for a positive distraction and reward

Stop the Bleeding When Your Dog Breaks a Nail

The first order of business is to stop the bleeding. Styptic powder, which you can purchase at most pet supply stores, or even cornstarch, are both great substances that curtail bleeding. These come in handy when you trim your dog’s nails and cut too close to the quick, or the white or pink area of the nail. When this accident occurs, it can result in bleeding. This is why styptic powder should be a regular part of your grooming arsenal.

Apply the powder to the injury site. Use pressure by holding your hand or a cloth on the treated area. If you don’t have these on hand, ice or an ice pack can also work when you hold it against the torn nail.

Trim the Loose Nail

If your pet broke or tore a nail and it is still attached, use your clippers to cut off the damaged nail. Be mindful of where the quick is in relation to the torn nail. If it is a serious break or the majority of your dog’s nail is damaged, wrap the wound with an ace bandage and call us for an examination.

Once the bleeding subsides and the nail is trimmed, apply a pet safe antibiotic spray on the area and bandage it with medical tape.

Look for signs of infection, anything embedded in the paw, or continued bleeding. If the nail is torn below the quick or is serious, your veterinarian will need to sedate your pet in order to treat it. Without this, your pet can experience intense pain.

Preventing Nail Damage

Dogs with too long nails are prone to snags, discomfort, and imbalance when they walk or run. The key to keeping your pet’s paws healthy and injury-free is through regular grooming. Keep your pet’s nails trimmed and free of any broken or damaged nails by using a good-quality nail trimmer. Regular grooming at home or with your professional groomer is an important way to ensure the health and good condition of your dog’s feet, coat, ears, and skin.

The team at Westarbor is here to answer any questions about what to do when your dog breaks a nail, as well as any other pet-related questions. Please contact us to schedule an appointment, so we can keep your dog’s paws in tip-top shape as well as their complete wellness.

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