How do you treat a broken toenail on a dog?

Answered by Cody Janus

Treating a broken toenail on a dog requires prompt attention and proper care to prevent infection and promote healing. Here are the steps that are typically taken to treat a broken toenail:

1. Assess the situation: Start by examining the broken toenail to determine the extent of the injury. If the nail is partially or completely torn off, it is important to address the exposed nail bed.

2. Stop the bleeding: Apply gentle pressure to the affected area using a clean cloth or gauze pad to help stop any bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t stop within a few minutes or is excessive, it is advisable to seek veterinary assistance.

3. Clean the area: Once the bleeding has stopped, clean the exposed nail bed with a mild antiseptic solution or diluted betadine solution. This helps to remove any dirt or debris that could potentially cause infection.

4. Apply antibiotic ointment or powder: Your veterinarian may apply antibiotic ointment or powder to the exposed nail bed to prevent contamination and promote healing. This helps to protect the nail bed from infection and aids in the regrowth of a healthy nail.

5. Bandage the foot: To further protect the injury, your veterinarian may bandage the foot. This helps to keep the area clean and prevents the dog from licking or chewing at the wound. It also provides support to the injured toe.

6. Prescribe oral or injectable antibiotics: In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe oral or injectable antibiotics to further prevent infection. This is especially important if the nail bed or quick is exposed, as it is attached to the bone and can be susceptible to infection.

7. Monitor for signs of infection: Keep a close eye on the treated area for any signs of infection, such as increased swelling, redness, pain, discharge, or a foul odor. If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian immediately.

8. Follow post-treatment care instructions: Your veterinarian will provide specific instructions for post-treatment care, which may include keeping the foot clean and dry, changing the bandage regularly, and administering any prescribed medications as directed. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper healing.

It is worth noting that some dogs may require sedation or anesthesia for nail trim or removal if the broken nail is causing significant pain or if the dog is uncooperative. In such cases, it is best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate approach.

Treating a broken toenail on a dog involves cleaning the area, applying antibiotic ointment or powder, bandaging the foot, and potentially administering oral or injectable antibiotics. Monitoring for signs of infection and following post-treatment care instructions are crucial for successful healing. If you are unsure about how to handle a broken toenail or if your dog is in significant pain, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian for proper guidance and treatment.