How should I care for my dog's ripped toenail?


Quick Answer

According to About.com expert Dr. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, caring for a dog's ripped toenail involves staunching the bleeding, cleaning the wound and bandaging the affected paw. If the ripped portion of the toenail is still partially attached, remove it before cleaning and applying a bandage. Inspect the toe and change the bandage daily.

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Full Answer

The quickest, safest way to stop bleeding is by applying a styptic powder or pencil directly to the torn nail bed. Pets Adviser explains that flour is an effective substitute, although it takes longer to work. Once the bleeding stops, apply a topical canine antiseptic spray or gel. Bandage the wound with gauze and elastic adhesive tape, or insert the affected paw into a clean baby sock and secure it with tape.

Bandaging the injured paw is key to preventing contamination and potentially dangerous infections. Most dogs hate having anything fastened to their paws and persistently attempt to remove wound dressings by gnawing through them. The most effective solution is a plastic cone collar.

Examine the torn nail bed for signs of infection during each daily dressing change. Pus, persistent bleeding, redness and swelling indicate a developing infection and require veterinary intervention. Limping, favoring of the injured foot and other symptoms of significant pain also warrant professional veterinary attention.

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