Treating Torn Toenails

Dog Paw

A torn toenail, while not life-threatening, can be extremely painful. Pets can catch their nails in fabric, carpeting and more. When they attempt to pull the nail free, it can be torn and bleed. Before attending to the nail, you might want to muzzle your dog or wrap your cat in a towel to prevent injury to yourself. Sometimes, even the sweetest pet will lash out, protecting itself when in pain.

After you’ve examined the area, if the nail is hanging by a thread, you can pull it off quickly. If the nail is broken, using a pet nail clipper, clip at the point of the break. If the break is too far down or at the base of the nail, do not clip or pull as it could cause further injury.

Using warm water, gently clean the nail, paw and leg of any remaining debris. If bleeding continues, using a clean cloth or sterile gauze pad, apply pressure to the spot. If you have styptic powder, you can apply it to stop the bleeding. Plain white flour will do in a pinch.

Have your veterinarian examine the injury to make sure there is no other damage. Your vet may bandage the paw and prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.

Keeping nails trimmed as often as necessary is a good way to help prevent accidents.

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