Just like with humans, dogs’ nails chip, get broken and fall out. Many things may cause the dog’s nail to become damaged; however, it is nothing to worry about for the most part. However, if you notice your dog losing nails on a regular, more frequent basis, it might be time to take a trip to see the veterinarian. Below is some additional information about why and what to do when your dog’s nails fall out. 

Do dog’s nails fall out?

When your dog’s nails fall out, most of the time, it is nothing to worry about because it is nothing unusual. However, if your dog’s animals continue to fall off on a more frequent basis, it is time to visit the veterinarian. 

Why are my dog’s nails falling out?

The most common reason a dog’s nails fall out is they are too long. When their nails get too long, they can get caught in carpets, blankets, or items in their bed, which can pull or tear the nail out. In addition, some dogs have brittle nails, which cause them to break more easily than others. Another reason that may cause your dog’s nails to fall out is an infection, bacteria, or fungus on the dog’s paw. Finally, if a dog has a tumor or cancer immune-related diseases, the nails may tend to fall out or easily break. 

Your dog’s genetics and breed also play a massive part in whether it loses nails and how often they fall out. In addition, environmental factors, such as the weather and texture of the ground where they walk, can cause your dog to lose a nail. 

As mentioned above, if the nails fall out on a more frequent basis, it is time to visit the veterinarian for a check-up. There could be other reasons, such as a disease or lack of nutrition which may be causing your dog’s nail to fall out constantly. 

What to do if my dog’s nails fall out?

Chances are there is nothing you can do if your dog’s nails fall out. However, if the dog is continually losing its nails, won’t stop bleeding, or has a swollen paw, it is good to contact your veterinarian. If possible, try to wrap your dog’s paw with some clean gauze to help keep the paw where the nail fell out clean until it can completely heal. 

If your dog has wholly pulled its nail out and is bleeding, apply pressure directly to the paw. If there are small pieces of the nail left in the nail bed, you must have the veterinarian remove those and apply antibiotics to the area to prevent infection. 

What happens if a dog loses a nail?

A dog losing a nail is generally nothing to worry about. Nails get long, break, or fall out when caught in a blanket or carpet. The time to worry is when your dog is constantly losing nails at an alarmingly fast rate. If you are concerned or your dog is acting differently, call your vet to discuss your concerns. 

Below are some steps to take when your dog loses its nail. 

Remove Remaining Nail Pieces

Carefully remove any nail pieces that did not fall out with the rest of the nail. Only do this if there is a piece of nail dangling from the pad. If unsure of how to remove the nail, call your veterinarian for guidance and assistance. 

Stop the Bleeding

If there is any bleeding, use clean gauze to apply pressure to the area. Additionally, a styptic pencil or powder applied to the area helps stop the bleeding almost instantly. 

Clean the Wound

Once the nail has been removed and, bleeding has stopped, clean the wound to help prevent infection. To clean, bathe the paw in warm water to clean out any dirt and debris. Then spray the toe area with a pet-safe antiseptic. 

Bandage the Paw

Bandaging the pay may be tricky as many dogs do not like their paws bandaged up. First, use a loose-fitting bandage and hold it in place with first-aid tape. If this does not work, place a clean sock over the paw and tape it into place. Change the bandage or sock every day until it heals. If your dog won’t leave the bandage in place or keeps liking the wound, consider using a plastic cone to prevent the dog from getting to the injury until it heals. 

Watch for Infections

Signs of infection include swelling of the toe or paw, oozing pus discharge, and bleeding mixed with pus. If signs of infection develop, take your dog to the veterinarian immediately to get antibiotics to help clear the infection. 

Will my dog’s nail grow back?

In most cases, your dog will grow its nail back within a few months of losing it. However, if the nail root or tissue surrounding the nail bed was damaged when the nail fell out, the tissue may be compromised, and the nail may not grow back. Additionally, if this occurs, the nail may grow back but could appear deformed or irregular. If this happens, it may require more frequent nail trimmings or a visit to your veterinarian. 

What are some signs my dog has a broken nail? 

There are several signs your dog’s nails are falling out, or the dog has an infection or injury of their paws. These signs include limping, swelling, and excessive licking. 

Bleeding

When dogs experience rapid nail loss associated with infections or injury, there is often blood on their paws. Additionally, the blood from their paws can get on furniture, flooring, and other items in the house. Typically, bleeding lasts only a short period and requires observation to see if it continues or other symptoms develop. 

Licking

Constant licking of their paws is an indication the dog may have lost a nail. Licking is typical when a dog’s paws feel uncomfortable, itch, or are in pain. Additionally, constant licking is a sign of an infected toenail or paw pad. 

Limping

If you see your dog limping or favoring one paw when walking, it could be an indication of an injury. Your dog favoring one pay when walking could also be a sign your dog shed a nail, or it ripped out, causing pain. 

Swollen Pads

When a dog’s paw is injured or has an infection, it becomes red and inflamed. Injury or infection can cause the dog to be uncomfortable, and it may limp. In addition, the paw will be sensitive to the touch, and your dog may pull away when you attempt to look at it. 

How do I stop my dog’s nails from falling out? 

Depending upon the underlying medical condition, there is treatment available for preventing your dog’s nails from falling out. Antibiotic and antimicrobial soaks can help reduce inflammation and prevent infection. For more severe conditions, surgery may be necessary to remove the nail plate and clean out the infection. 

Additionally, clipping your dog’s nails regularly can help the nails from getting too long and getting caught, causing the nail to rip out. Routine maintenance of your dog’s nails not only helps prevent them from breaking, but shorter nails are more comfortable for dogs.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.