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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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Poodle

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15 Years

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Unknown severity

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8 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Nail

Dog toenail is very long and hanging off on the root of skin it looks like

Dec. 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Hello it looks like he broke a toe nail. This will eventually fall off and a new on will grow back.

Dec. 23, 2020

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chicaua

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

My dog is a tea cup chicuau and has been holding her foot up all day when walking upon inspection I've noticed that one of the nails has broken off little more than half way, there is no bleeding and I haven't noticed any where she sleeps. How do I safely treat her at home and help her with pain management as I can not afford to go to the vet, thank you

Dec. 11, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Hello. This will eventually come off. If it is bleeding you can apply corn start him to the toe. I would also apply triple antibiotic cream to this nail

Dec. 11, 2020

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mix

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4 Years

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Unknown severity

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Licking At Foot

My dog is limping. When looking at his foot the quick was showing from the side of his toenail.

Dec. 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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4 Recommendations

Poor dog. Unfortunately, yes, the claw looks to have split high up. This can be very painful and can lead to further splitting and damage. Prevent licking with a buster collar and keep it clean by bathing it in salty water. As he is limping he is uncomfortable and will need pain relief and anti inflammatories from the vet. When at the clinic, they will examine the claw and determine if it needs to be removed or not.

Dec. 9, 2020

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Chihuahua mix

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Fourteen Years

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Unknown severity

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Nail Ripped

her nails are black and one ripped off, showing a white under nail or bone? what do i need to do

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That is the quick of the nail, and the actual top part of her nail is gone. That will heal, and a new nail should grow over it in a few weeks. That area may be sensitive, so make sure you don't touch it if you can help it. It would be similar to you tearing off a fingernail.

Oct. 11, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Thirteen Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Bloody

My dog snagged his nails, one of them was very loose and I was able to clip it myself. The other one is sticking a bit up and not loose. Should I take her to see a vet, Or leave it. It doesn’t seem to bother her unless I touch it.

Aug. 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. He does need to see a veterinarian, yes. Sometimes, if those nails are not loose enough to pull off without quite a bit of pain, dogs need a little sedation, and we can remove that now so that it can grow back as a healthy nail. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Aug. 15, 2020

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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

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

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

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

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

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