Last night while I was removing cheat grass from my dog’s foot I noticed that he had a damaged toenail.
Damaged toenails are common, especially in active dogs. Even though torn toenails are a minor injury they are very painful. Dogs with long toenails are more susceptible to injury. Injury to the dogs toenail can occur at any time with regular walking or playing. The most common cause is the toenail getting snagged on a rug or loose carpet.
Symptoms of a damaged toenail
• Bleeding from the injury site
• Your dog is licking his foot excessively
• The affected toe is swollen
If the damaged nail is left untreated it can become infected, as bacteria travels up the quick and into the toe and foot.
The torn toenail is painful and your dog most likely will not cooperate when you are treating the nail, take precaution to avoid getting bit.
You should stop the bleeding first by applying silver nitrate or styptic pencil. If you don’t have these items, flour or cornstarch can be used.
Try to remove any of the broken nail that may still be attached. Broken nails need to be removed above the break. The broken piece of nail may cause your dog more pain every time it is disturbed. Depending on the severity of the break, you can use a dog nail trimmer to cut the nail. If the break is high up and close to the base of the nail, don’t use the nail trimmers. If the nail cannot be easily removed, see your veterinarian for proper care. Most vertical toenail cracks require veterinary care.
If you were able to remove the torn toenail then you need to wash the area gently with warm water to remove any debris, and then apply a bandage to keep the toe clean and prevent bleeding. Be cautious not to wrap the foot too tight.
Watch the affected area for signs of infection such as redness, swelling and bleeding. If you suspect an infection take your dog to the veterinarian.
Cutting your dogs toe nails should be a regular part of the grooming routine. This will help to avoid toe nail injuries.