Torn Toenail in Dogs

Torn Toenail in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Bleeding / Pain / Swelling / Wound

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Rated as mild conditon

26 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Bleeding / Pain / Swelling / Wound

Torn Toenail in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Torn Toenail?

As with human beings, the toenail of a dog has to be clipped or trimmed regularly. If there is even a small movement of the paw while clipping the nail, it can chip, tear or break. If the toenail bed becomes inflamed, the condition will worsen. Therefore, it is important to cut long nails to avoid snagging and further breakage. As your dog walks on carpeting, the nail may become long and brittle. The areas that are usually affected tend to be the dewclaws and the front paws. If you find that your dog’s toenails are breaking apart, there is reason for concern, but not alarm. So, while you are cutting the nails, you should be extra careful not to cut them too short. If you notice bleeding after cutting the nails, you should consider taking your pet to the veterinarian.

When a dog’s nail splits, tears or breaks after becoming brittle or when clipped, this can cause tearing of the nail, which could subsequently result in extreme pain.

Torn Toenail Average Cost

From 444 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$300

Symptoms of Torn Toenail in Dogs

It is obvious that you will notice when your canine’s toenails are injured. Of course, the injury will be very painful. You may notice that your dog will walk lamely, yelp and constantly lick its wound. However, other symptoms will include:

  • Hanging nail, which the dog may chew off
  • Blood stains on carpeting or floors
  • Exposed flesh
  • Infection
  • Trauma
  • Visibly damaged toenails
  • Swelling
  • Excessive bleeding

Don’t be alarmed about the bleeding. The bleeding comes from blood vessels and not the artery; so it is not immediately life threatening. However, the bleeding can subsequently result in blood clots. The bleeding can be easily stopped by a veterinarian. Therefore, don’t try to handle this on your own because the pain is real. Your dog may bite if you try to administer first aid instead of seeking professional help.

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Causes of Torn Toenail in Dogs

There are several causes of a torn toenail in dogs. Some of the common causes include:

  • Damage to the toenails, especially if your dog is very active
  • Nail snagging on carpeting, plants or other material during activity such as running
  • Inflamed toenails
  • Clipping of the toenails
  • Weakened toenails due to an underlying health condition
  • Cancer in the foot and nail area
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Diagnosis of Torn Toenail in Dogs

The diagnosis of a torn toenail in dogs is based on a visual examination of the affected area by a veterinarian. If there is extreme pain, the veterinarian will know by the dog’s response to touching. If so, the veterinarian may administer a local anesthesia to suppress the pain. 

If there is evidence that your pet may have an underlying condition affecting his health that may could change the condition of his nails, blood tests and urinalysis could be done at the veterinarian’s discretion.

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Treatment of Torn Toenail in Dogs

Treatment for a torn toenail in dogs takes several distinctive steps. First, the veterinarian will inspect the area, after which damaged portions may be removed. Upon carefully inspecting the toenail, the veterinarian may muzzle the dog.

Of course, if there is bleeding, the veterinarian will try to stop the bleeding right away and disinfect the area. If your dog is prone to licking the area, the veterinarian will place the dog on its belly while administering massages to keep your dog relaxed. Any hanging portions of the nail will be removed with a nail clipper and the area will be disinfected for extra precaution against infection.

Antibiotics will also be administered to also prevent infection. If the condition is severe in the dewclaw area, the veterinarian might suggest removing the toe. However, this is only in extreme cases. If the veterinary caregiver has to remove a large portion of the nail, bandaging will be necessary to prevent infection of the nail bed. The area will be bandaged nicely and pain relief  may be prescribed, depending on how bad the wound is. The veterinarian will determine if follow up treatment is necessary, depending on the extent of the damaged toenail and how well the initial treatment went.

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Recovery of Torn Toenail in Dogs

After the initial treatment, a regular bandage change is recommended once an antibiotic ointment is applied to reduce the pain. The swelling and pain should go down within two days of the treatment. If the nails were removed, these will grow back within several weeks. However, the pet owner should monitor the foot as much as possible during the re-growth period. If your dog’s nails do not grow back or grow irregularly, you may have to continue frequent trimming and monitoring. If your dog displays continuous symptoms after being treated, then you should schedule a veterinarian visit for reassessment. Most dogs will completely recover, but it will take time because the nail will have to completely grow back to cover the exposed spot.

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Torn Toenail Average Cost

From 444 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$300

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Torn Toenail Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Shiba Inu

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Nail

his nail has a weird color and its bleeding.

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello Thank you for your question. It's possible that your pup got his nail caught and it got pulled a little bit. I recommend that you clean the area with a warm washcloth and continue to monitor it. If he seems like he is in pain, I recommend that you take him to a veterinarian for an exam. Good luck.

July 24, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

My dogs nails are visibly long, and he’s been limping on one paw for about a week now. I’m not sure if a nail is broken or just long. What do I do?? He won’t let me cut his nails ive tried to get him comfortable with the nail cutter but if I even pick up his paw he hates it.

July 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. He should probably be seen by a veterinarian so that they can look at his foot and trim his nails. Some dogs are so averse to having their feet touched that they do need sedation for nail trims. If the nail or foot is painful, that is going to make the experience worse for him. I hope that you are able to get him seen and get that taken care of for him.

July 20, 2020

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Theo

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Pomeranian

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5 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Licking Of The Paw

My dog has a crack in his toe nail that is fairly close to his toe nail. His toe nail is still intact. The toe nail is partly black inside and has some dried blood on the outside. He allows me to touch his foot but, If I get close to his toe nail he starts to move around. I can’t afford to go to the vet because of expenses. What can I do to help him?

Aug. 23, 2018

Theo's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

In these cases it would be best to visit a Veterinarian (regardless) or a dog groomer to cut the nail in a way so that the crack doesn’t grow larger, this may damage the quick resulting in a lot of bleeding; this isn’t something you should try at home and depending on exactly where the crack is and proximity to the nail bed an alternative method may be needed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 24, 2018

My dog has a crack in his toe nail that is fairly close to his toe.* If u were to half his nail the crack is closer to his toe.

Aug. 23, 2018

Theo's Owner

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Auggie

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Mix

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8 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Foul Odor

Hello, my dog cracked his toenail a little over a week ago after him constantly licking and causing extra inflammation around the toenail base we got him a cone. While coned we disinfected the area then applied ointment after every walk. The inflammation went down and he has stopped limping, he even lets me handle the paw and manipulate the toenail with no issues like there were before. I am noticing a strong smell though along with what seems to be oozing blood blending with the ointment. Is there an issue I should be looking for even though he is no longer showing pain?

Aug. 9, 2018

Auggie's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

A strong smell may be an indicator that there is an infection present, even with regularly cleaning and an antibiotic ointment infections may still occur; you should pop into your Veterinarian to check the nail and to determine if any further treatment is necessary. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 9, 2018

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Merlin

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German Shepherd

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Toe

My gsd tore one of his toe nails, the vet rmoved it and bandaged but di not not give antibiotics after two days dog lame and bandage smell,, took him back as suspected infected, i was not happy as I specifically asked if he needed antibiotics. After around week half dressing removed, after a day he began to lick it and infection started again, took him back 10 days antibiotics and large cone. After another week small nail or hardenened quick again fell off and bleedind started, I stopped it with wound powder. Is this normal that small nail growth should break off, is it that this first nail quick was already damaged, now all I see is bare toe no nail or quick

Aug. 4, 2018

Merlin's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without examining Merlin’s toe carefully I cannot say what exactly is going on, however if this continues it may be a case of having a partial digit amputation to help speed up recovery. You should also visit another Veterinarian for an examination and another opinion to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 4, 2018

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Charlie

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German Shorthaired Pointer

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4 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Pain And Lickin

We need help for our Charlie dog. He ripped his nail off and since then, each time it grows back, it grows on an angle and breaks off again. This is #5 in the few years. It is very painful. Why does this continue to happen and how can we help him so this stops? Thank you so much, Joe, Laura & Charlie dog

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Macie

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Part golden/ lab

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Was Limping Not Any More But Nail Pand
Was Limping Now Chewing And Licking

My dog started limping.took to vet thought sprained left front paw.A week later started licking and chewing all over but also paws. Vet put her on clartin. Kinda helped now 4 weeks later, left front paw middle nail is pointing up.

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Bo

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Pit bull

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Toe
Split Nail

Noticed my dogs dew claw is split down the middle and his toe is swollen. He isnt limping and lets me examine his paw but he yelped when jumping off my bed as it may've caught on the blanket when he was jumping off. What are some home remedies I can do to make it better?

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Jasmine

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Chiweenie

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7 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Nail Lost

She recently completely lost a nail like it’s all gone and other then her not liking you messing with where it was she’s not bleeding or in pain. She has chipped and cracked her nails before but I haven’t really heard of a whole nail just dropping off a dog... there’s no other ones missing and I was just wondering if it’ll grow back or? She’s lost teeth when she was younger and I never thought that was a big deal since other dogs I’ve had have lost them before too but never nails. I never really knew that could happen to a dog.

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Hershey

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Chihuahua

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14 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

A few days ago my dog’s toenail completely got pulled off it bled and stopped when I took immediate action from what I learned watching doctor pol, I have been curious because I cant afford the vet at the moment, she’s walking fine unless you hit it hard it seems to be little to no pain it was 3 days ago when this all happened. Should I be concerned ? I see no signs of swelling and I been keeping her foot clean, it seems to be healing.

Torn Toenail Average Cost

From 444 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$300

Cannanine