How to Care for a Dog's Torn Toenail

Written by ehow pets editor
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A torn toenail on your dog is going to cause your dog a great deal of discomfort and anxiety. You will become aware of the problem by spotting blood around their paw area or by seeing your dog limp around, constantly licking its wound or chewing at the torn toenail. Care for the dog's torn toenail depends on the severity of the tear.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Canine nail clippers
  • First aid antibiotic ointment
  • Sterile gauze wrap and medical tape

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  1. 1

    Clean the area where the torn toenail is located. The dew claw or the toenail up on the side of a dog's paw is a primary location for this type of tear. Remove any hair or dirt off the dog to get a clear view of the injury. Shave the hair from the dog's paw, if necessary, to allow for the appropriate medical care.

  2. 2

    Rinse the torn toenail with lukewarm water, not hot. You need to remove any blood or dirt lodged in the wound.

  3. 3

    Trim the broken end or the jagged end of the toenail that is dangling. If the toenail is broken down into the skin, you will need to take your dog to the vet for additional medical care.

  4. 4

    Stop any bleeding by applying a first aid antibiotic ointment gently with a cotton ball. You can also use silver nitrate or a styptic powder. If none of these is available, make a paste from household cornstarch or flour and pack around the wound.

  5. 5

    Leave the wound open to air dry and heal, provided your dog will leave it alone. Most torn toenail injuries need to have a bandage of sterile gauze wrapped around the paw area and secured by medical tape. Wrap the wound firmly, but not tight enough to cut off the circulation in the dog's paw. Keep an eye on your dog to make sure that they do not chew off the bandage to get to the wound.

  6. 6

    Keep the bandage clean. You will have to re-clean and re-bandage the torn toenail wound as it becomes necessary. Apply a first aid antibiotic ointment to help heal the wound.

Tips and warnings

  • Prevent many torn toenail injuries by keeping your dog's toenails trimmed regularly, including the dew claw. The dew claw gets hung on carpets and rugs causing a great deal of pain, so trim those toenails.
  • Do not secure the bandage with a metal clip as your dog may chew this off and swallow it.
  • Your dog may be in some pain due to their toenail injury, so take precautions to avoid your dog biting you. Use a leash, harness or muzzle as needed, to assist you.

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