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First Aid : Dog Broken or Bleeding Nail

11. Broken or Bleeding Nail

If the nail is not bleeding and is causing the dog pain because it is in the way then it needs to be removed. Only remove it yourself it is loose and you feel comfortable doing so.

You may need to have someone help you hold your pet or muzzle your dog. Grasp the broken nail with a pair of very clean pliers and tug.

Once the loose piece is removed, your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic as a precaution to help avoid an infection within the exposed nail bed. Nail bed infections are very painful and can be extremely difficult to cure, sometimes requiring months of soaking and special antibiotics, and sometimes even surgery.

If it does not come away easily then seek veterinary help.

If the nail is bleeding because your dog tears the nail, cracks a nail, or if you have trimmed the nail too short, restrain him and elevate the affected limb above the body if possible by rolling your pet onto its back. Your dog will be in a lot of pain and may limp or carry the paw in the air.

Try applying dry cornstarch, a dry teabag, or pushing the nail into a bar of soap. Any of these plus keeping your dog as quiet as possible will tend to slow or stop the bleeding.

Apply a clean cloth against the nail. Cotton wool can be used in this circumstance as the fine fibers aid clotting.

Apply pressure for at least 5 minutes. Nails tend to bleed for long periods of time. Do not remove the pad until bleeding stops.

Apply a bandage if the nail tends to start bleeding as soon as the pad is removed or your dog is licking the paw excessively.

Nails may crack or even be pulled totally off. This will usually be painful and bleed, since the nail bed from which the nail grows contains many blood vessels and nerves.

The very best way to stop a bleeding nail is to use styptic powder made especially for clotting a bleeding nail. There are two common ingredients that are used in styptic powder: silver nitrate and ferric subsulfate. Silver nitrate will sting whereas ferrous subsulfate will not.

Have the vet check the toe.

Related Pages

Dog first aid essential advice on first aid for dogs

Dog first aid kit – essential first aid items


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