Do Damaged Toenails Require Treatment?
My dog broke her dewclaw, but it is still halfway
attached. It is very tender and she WILL NOT let
me touch it. Will it fall off by itself?...and how
long will that take? If not, is there a chance of
infection or anything else I should be aware of?
Torn toenails are very common. Dogs may injure nails during active play or digging. If the nail snags or catches on carpeting, vegetation or rocky soil it may tear or separate from the nail bed.
Damaged nails generally are painful. Your dog's nail may fall off naturally. However, leaving the nail to its own devices could cause your dog to suffer for several days.
I recommend that you have a vet check your dog's nail. He or she may be able to remove the injured portion. This will speed up the healing process. I usually perform a nerve block on the affected area before working with it--this numbs the toe and makes the process more pleasant for the dog.
Damaged toenails sometimes become infected. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics if the affected area is red or swollen. Prescription anti-inflammatory painkillers are helpful in most cases as well.
Most damaged toenails grow back normally over time. However, in rare instances damage to the nail bed prevents normal regrowth. Nails that do not grow back normally may be unsightly, but they generally are not painful and do not cause problems for the affected pet.