My dog has torn a nail, what should I do?

Torn nails can be difficult to treat and painful for your dog.  The nail may be bleeding and your dog will probably lick at the area and may limp.

Here is a guide of how to deal with your dog’s torn nail.


Controlling bleeding

Torn nails can bleed a lot.  Initially try steady pressure with a cold damp cloth.  If the nail is still bleeding after 5 minutes or your dog will not tolerate you holding a cloth in place you can try
applying flour to the area or try a cauterizing pencil.  If the nail continues to bleed, apply a light covering dressing and contact your vet for further advice.


If the nail is hanging off, it will need to be removed, as your dog will continue to catch the nail causing pain.  In some cases your vet will be able to do this in the consultation, other cases will need sedation, local anaesthetic or even a general anaesthetic dependent on the severity of the injury.

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Try to keep your dogs nails to a minimum length as this can help to reduce future injuries, but unfortunately some dogs just have problematic nails. Walking on hard concrete/tarmac will help to keep most nails trim, make sure you regularly check the length of the dew claw as these are often the ones which ‘catch’ on things.