How to Treat a Broken Dog Nail

At the break, stop the bleeding using slight pressure and Styptic Powder. Then apply dog-safe antibiotic and a bandage. If you can’t get the bleeding to stop, it’s time to see a vet.

A broken dog nail is considered an emergency if it won’t stop bleeding. Find a vet as soon as possible to treat the break. © Russ Rohde/Getty Images

Broken dog nails often come with a lot of blood, which makes most dog parents panic. But keeping your cool is important to getting the broken nail assessed and treated. Tim Vogel, CEO of dog grooming and wellness franchise Scenthound, explains how to treat a broken dog nail at home and when it’s considered an emergency.

Steps to treat a broken dog nail

  1. Have your dog sit or lie down so you can get a close look, says Tim. Treats help relax nervous dogs.
  2. Check for bleeding. Use slight pressure and styptic powder (like KwikStop) to stop the blood.
  3. If there’s no bleeding or when the bleeding stops, carefully remove the hangnail or broken nail with clippers or a Dremel tool, but do so cautiously, he says, in order to avoid more damage or cause your dog pain.
  4. Trim the nail above the break to detach the damaged portion and prompt healthy nail regrowth. Look at the nail head on. If you see black or a pinkish color, you’re getting close to the quick, or the dark park in the center of the nail that contains blood vessels and nerves. Stop cutting.

Dog nail separated from the quick: What to do

If there is a lot of bleeding, chances are your dog’s nail has separated from the quick.

  • First, use a clean cloth to apply gentle pressure to stop the bleeding. Patting your dog’s nail with styptic powder also stops bleeding fast.
  • Then, apply a dog-safe antibiotic ointment (like Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial All Animal Wound and Skin Care).
  • Wrap the paw with a gauze bandage. Keep the bandage dry and clean and monitor your dog so you notice if he chews it off. If he does, repeat the process to re-bandage.

Should I take my dog to the vet for a broken nail?

If you can’t get the nail to stop bleeding, see a vet, says Tim. Bandage the paw for a temporary solution and head to nearest emergency vet. Keep your dog calm, as movement and stress will increase blood flow.

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