If your dog breaks, cracks or splits a toenail it will grow back in most cases. However, a broken toenail can be quite painful for your dog. It pays to clean the area by soaking your dog’s paw in clean warm water. Many dogs will lick the paw as part of the healing process. Read this article to learn more about the antiseptic qualities of dog saliva.
Depending on the severity or type of break the nail may become infected. Monitor the injury and if you have any concerns, consult your vet.
Entire toenail has been pulled out
Occasionally, a dog may completely pull a nail out from the root. In most situations, a lost nail will grow back after a few months. If your dog does pull the entire nail out, apply pressure to stop bleeding. It is best to have your vet check the paw in this situation as your dog may need antibiotics to prevent infection as the nail regrows.
If the toenail root or tissue surrounding the toenail has been severely damaged when the toenail was pulled out, regrowth may be compromised. In some cases, a replacement toenail may not grow at all. If regrowth is compromised, the toenail may regrow in an unusual manner. This may require more frequent trimming and care. If your dog’s toenail does not appear to be growing back or is growing back in an irregular way, speak to your veterinarian.
Regular trimming and maintenance of toenails
To prevent broken or torn toenails it is best to keep your dog’s toenails trimmed. Regular trimming of the toenails also prevents the “quick” from becoming too long. The “quick” is the blood vessel inside the dog’s toenail. These can bleed if you cut your dog’s nails too short. If your dog already has long quicks, by trimming them on a regular basis, the blood vessel will dry up and retard.
Ensure you don’t forget to trim the dew claws also. To learn more about a dog’s dewclaws see here. If the dew claws become too long they can often get caught on something and be torn, or as they grow they may curl around and stick into the dog’s thumb pad.
Also, if your dog’s toenails are too long they can push back against your dog’s paw and cause discomfort or even pain and over the long term can cause injury to the toes. You may also find that your dog’s front toenails are longer than the back ones, particularly if they are a leash puller. As dogs use their back legs to move forward they tend to put more pressure on the back toenails resulting in them wearing down more.
The rate of growth of a dog’s toenails can vary from dog to dog and also depends on how much the walk on concrete or hard surfaces. It is generally recommended to trim your dog’s toenails about every three weeks. Many dogs don’t like having their toenails clipped. If you are unsure or unable to trim the toenails yourself, it is best to have it done by a vet or dog groomer. You can learn more about how to trim your dog’s toenails here.