5 Common Problems With Dog Toenails

Dog toenails, while seemingly tough, can have problems that if left untreated, can cause a significant amount of pain to the dog. Most frequently many of these problems can be avoided by simply keeping the dog's nails trimmed to an appropriate length.
  • Overgrown nails are the most common nail problems for dogs. Most dogs don't get the activity it takes to keep their nails worn to a good length. The nails should be regularly trimmed to maintain good condition. Overgrown nails can break, split or tear, potentially causing pain and providing an inroad for infection.
  • Cracked toenails, if not caused by being overgrown, can often be a sign of an improper diet or possibly an immune deficiency.
  • Torn nails can be one of the most painful toenail problems for a dog. A nail may snag on carpeting, a sweater or fabric and tear when the dog tries to get free. This often leads to the nail tearing into the quick, causing bleeding and pain.
  • Fungal infections will typically occur if the dog's immune system is depressed either by disease or certain medications. Inflammation in the foot may make the foot tender, causing the dog to limp.
  • Bacterial infections are most often a problem brought on by the dog's body trying to fight another disease. The foot/toes will be warm and painful, causing the dog to limp.

Good dog nail care and proper nutrition can help dogs avoid toenail problems by keeping the nails short and the immune system strong.