How to Prevent Dog Nails from Splitting

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Does your dog seem to have split nails all the time? Do they split all the way to the toe, causing pain and bleeding? Does this happen no matter how good you are at making sure you are keeping his nails trimmed back? To a small extent, cracked, split, and broken nails are common among dogs simply as part of their active lives. But at the same time, problems like split nails can be an indication of deeper problems within his nails or nail beds that require careful attention if you want the problem to stop. 

Dog's Perspective

While it might not seem that your pup worries about whether or not he has perfect nails, he probably thinks more about them than you realize. Split nails can get caught in the carpet, leading to them being ripped out. They can also bleed, become infected, and you can bet they are painful. He may not like the treatments used to get rid of them, but he is sure to enjoy the pain-free results.

The Medical Approach Method

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Nail Clipper
Step
1
Lupoid onychodystrophy
Lupoid onychodystrophy is a very common cause of dry, brittle nails that split. To determine if your dog has this condition, you need to take him to the vet for an examination.
Step
2
Understanding the disease
Lupoid onychodystrophy is a disease that causes your dog's immune system to start attacking his nails and nail beds. In time, this results in split nails that may never completely heal.
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3
Diagnosis
Before being able to recommend an effective treatment, the vet should perform an examination and biopsy. This involves the vet removing a small part of the tip of the affected toe and sending it into a pathologist.
Step
4
After the pathologist
Once the pathologist has determined that your pup has lupoid onychodystrophy, your vet will be able to recommend the most appropriate treatment. He has a choice of several different types of medication along with a combination of vitamins such as vitamin E and fish oil.
Step
5
Keep up the treatment
It can take up to six months for your dog to fully recover from lupoid onychodystrophy. During this time, you need to be sure you keep up with the regimen of medications and vitamins prescribed by your vet. At the same time, you will need to keep up with trimming his nails. If you are not comfortable trimming them, especially the affected ones, you can always have your vet or a professional groomer take care of them for you.
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The Grooming Method

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Nail Clipper
Nail File
Step
1
Prevention first
One of the most effective methods of keeping your pup from having to deal with split or brittle nails is to be sure you keep your pup's nails properly trimmed at all times.
Step
2
Long walks on hard surfaces
One way to help keep your pup's nails from splitting is to take him for long walks on concrete surfaces like sidewalks. The concrete will help to keep his nails ground down naturally. However, doing this is only partially effective.
Step
3
Use the clippers
The best way to keep your pup's nails intact is to keep them properly trimmed. You should be clipping his nails once per month. Cut back to the quick and then use a file to round them off and finish up the job. If they have been allowed to grow too long, you may have to cut them back in stages until they are the proper length.
Step
4
Keep an eye on his diet
Poor nutrition is another key cause of split nails. When your pup is not getting the right minerals and in sufficient amounts, it can affect the health of his organs. In time this will have a significant impact on the health of his teeth and nails. Be sure his diet includes essential fatty acids and oils, and that you are feeding him a high-quality dog food. Doing this will go a long way to preventing split nails.
Step
5
Regular checkups
The best possible thing you can do to help keep your dog's nails from splitting is to keep them properly groomed and have your vet examine him on a regular basis.
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Caution & Considerations

  • First and foremost, if your dog seems to be suffering from more than the occasional split nail, be sure to take him to his vet to make sure he doesn't have lupoid onychodystrophy.
  • Walking on split nails or nails that are too long can be very painful for your pup, keep them trimmed.
  • Nails that are splitting can be a sign of poor nutrition, talk your vet about your pup's diet to make sure he is getting enough nutrition.
  • Keeping his paws clean can help reduce any risk of infection that can lead to nail damage.
  • Overgrown nails and rough play are a bad mix that can lead to broken and split nails. Keeping them trimmed will prevent this from happening. 

Conclusion

No matter what the cause of your pup's split nails, keep in mind that this can be very painful and make it very hard for him to walk or play. By trimming his nails once each month, you have the chance to look over his paws and find any signs that he may have a condition, such as lupoid onychodystrophy, that needs to be treated by his vet.  If in doubt, have your pup's vet examine his paws to make sure the cause is not medical in nature. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions