Treating a Broken Dog Nail

Dog nails should be periodically trimmed, to prevent accidents and to keep your dog comfortable. A dog nail can be very fragile and can easily break while the dog is playing or running around. When the nail is broken, it will cause a lot of pain to your pet, so you need to apply first aid to help relieve the pain.

Too Shortly Trimmed Nail

If you have trimmed a nail too short and the dog is bleeding, you have to keep the limb above the heart level until the bleeding stops. You should apply some dry cornstarch or a bit of antibacterial soap on the affected nail, as this should relieve the pain. Apply a bandage or a piece of cloth on top of the wound to help clotting. Keep pressing on the wound for up to 10 minutes.

Reapply the bandage if the bleeding continues. The bleeding may be more intensive than when the dog bleeds from other wounds, due to the high number of blood vessels in the nail bed.

The easiest way to stop bleeding is to get some styptic powder. This powder can be found in pet stores or drug stores and contains silver nitrate and ferric sulfate, ingredients that will stop the bleeding. The powder may sting, due to the nitrates, so you may need to ventilate the wound site for 2 to 3 minutes.  

Apply the same treatment when the dog tears or cracks one of his nails.

Monitor your dog’s paws for the following days. If you notice swelling, redness or warmth in the area, there may be an infection, so consult your vet.

Bleeding Nail

The nail bed in dogs contains a lot of nerves and blood vessels, so when it's hurt, the dog will be bleeding and will be in a lot of pain. If the dog has broken his nail and he is bleeding, you need to remove the nail, as the loose part will only cause more problems.

If you feel that the nail is loose, try removing it. Ask someone to help you if you can't do it alone. You may also rush to the vet. You must remember that the removal of the nail will only help your dog. He's in a lot of pain and may become aggressive, so you need to be cautious. You can apply a muzzle to prevent bites.

You can remove the nail by using a pair of tweezers that have been sterilized. Tug the nail.

After the removal, you need to apply an antibiotic ointment and a bandage, which shouldn’t be too tight. Administrate oral antibiotics to prevent infections. Ask your vet to prescribe you some oral antibiotics. Nail bed infections are very painful and can be problematic to heal; the treatment of nail bed infections may expand over several months and in extreme cases, surgery will be needed.

Infections are signaled by fever, lethargy, redness and swelling.