Torn Nails In Dogs: Is Veterinary Treatment Needed?

30 June 2022
 Categories: Pets & Animals, Blog


Have you ever torn a fingernail or toenail? It can be extremely uncomfortable and, depending on the severity of the injury, you may need medical attention. The same applies to your dog. If they tear one of their claws, they're likely to be in a lot of pain. There may also be bleeding, and there's a potential risk of infection. So what's the best way to deal with a dog's torn nail?

Inside the Nail

The core of the nail is made up of the quick, which contains blood vessels. A minor tear will result in some bleeding, but it should quickly clot. A more significant tear can lead to heavy bleeding, which must be managed. Using a small square of sterile gauze, apply gentle pressure to the nail. 

Be Cautious

Your dog may resist you by withdrawing their paw, so you might need to restrain them. Proceed with caution, because your dog's injury is likely causing them pain. Minor bleeding that is easily stopped may not require medical attention. For more serious breaks, you should take your dog to your local animal hospital.

Cleaning the Injury

At the animal hospital, your vet may need to restrain (or even sedate) your dog for treatment, but this isn't usually required unless your dog is in significant pain, and/or if they tend to be anxious while visiting the vet. The torn, bleeding nail will first be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.

Hanging Sections

Once the site has been cleaned and your vet is more able to see your dog's injury, they may notice torn sections of the nail that are still hanging. These will be removed, but don't worry—you've sought quick treatment for your dog's injury, so the nail should grow back without incident. 

Bandaging and Antibiotics

Your vet may need to bandage the site of the injury. They'll advise you on how to change the dressing, how often it needs to be changed, when it can be removed, and whether your vet will want to assess the injury before finally removing the bandage. To prevent your dog from interfering with the bandage, your vet can provide you with the dreaded (by your dog, anyway) cone of shame—which is also called an Elizabethan collar. Your dog will be given antibiotics, which is one of the most important parts of their treatment, as torn nails can easily become infected.

A torn nail in dogs isn't a medical emergency, but prompt treatment will be needed. Remember your dog might be in considerable pain, so if veterinary treatment is necessary, please don't delay.

Contact an animal hospital in your area such as Center-Sinai Animal Hospital for more information.