Broken toe nails are an injury that pet owners occasionally have to deal with. Most often they occur due to trauma – running or playing on a hard surface, getting caught on something, or banging up against an object. Pet nails have a blood supply called the quick. When this is damaged, the nail bleeds. Though the amount of blood loss is rarely serious, trying to stop the oozing can be difficult. Applying pressure with a cloth for two minutes, then keeping your pet as quiet as possible, is what I recommend. If you cannot stop the bleeding, calling the clinic for assistance is the next step.
Broken toe nails can also be painful, especially if there are pieces that are loose and get caught on things as the dog is moving. Sometimes we have to remove fractured bits of nail that are causing discomfort. Signs of discomfort are limping and excessive licking. If a nail is cracked, it can allow bacteria into the nailbed resulting in an infection. An infected nailbed is red and may have a discharge, but this is hard to see through all the fur. If you think your pet has broken a toe nail and is licking excessively at the area for more than two days, you should call the clinic.
The best way to prevent broken nails is to keep your pet’s nails regularly trimmed. Here are guidelines for trimming nails:
Trimming cat’s nails
Trimming dog’s nails
If you have trouble doing your pet’s pedicure, we can do it for you if your pet is registered with our practice. At our clinic, our veterinary technicians do all our nail trims, and we have discounted rates for patients who come in regularly. Please call us for more information.
There are some medical conditions that affect the nails and make them easier to break. Older dogs can get certain cancers of the toes that affect the nails, and there are a few skin diseases that target the nail growth and the nail bed specifically. Anytime you see an abnormal nail that falls off or seems prone to breaking, you should let us know.