A hangnail hurts like crazy, doesn’t it? The pain only gets worse, too, if you tear your nail off into the quick. You can’t imagine your precious dog going through that kind of pain, but when he breaks or tears off a nail, his pain can be even worse than that. What happens when a dog damages his nail? Let’s find the answer.
How long does it take for a dog’s nail to heal?
The time it takes for a dog’s nail to heal when it’s damaged varies according to both the severity of damage and the quality of treatment. It takes roughly 2 weeks for a nail that’s badly damaged to re-grow so that it has a solid connection to the quick.
How can I get my dog’s nail to heal faster?
There are a couple of things you can do to help your dog’s nail heal faster. Here they are.
Cover the wound.
Bandage and secure the wound once you apply first aid. It is quite important that you keep dirt and germs out of it because this will greatly decrease the risk of it becoming infected. Plus, it will keep the wound secured together, so it won’t gape open, and it will be able to heal faster.
Dog boots or even a snug sock can aid with keeping his paw clean.
Change the bandage.
Keep an eye on the wound by replacing the bandage with a clean one at least every other day. When you change it, inspect the wound to check for infection.
Will my dog’s nail heal?
A dog’s nail will regenerate and heal itself over time with careful treatment. However, if it’s not treated, infection could eventually set in and cause your dog to be in a lot of pain and possibly become quite ill. He will, at this point, require the care of a veterinarian.
Can a dog’s broken nail heal on its own?
A dog’s broken nail can heal on its own. However, if you don’t apply first aid to and cover a dog’s damaged nail, there is a much greater risk of further damage and infection.
For instance, if a dog has a broken or cracked nail, and you don’t treat and cover it, not only can it split further into the quick, but dirt and germs can get into the wound increasing the chance of infection. Once a dog’s nail gets infected, it won’t heal on its own. It will require treatment by a vet.
How can I treat my dog’s broken nail at home?
The treatment of a dog’s damaged nail varies, of course, with the damage done. Here is what to do if your dog’s nail is cracked or broken.
What to Do for a Nail That’s Been Damaged With a Clean Break
The easiest type of damaged nail to treat is one with a clean break. If the nail is completely broken off and there are no parts that will snag, here are the steps you should take.
Ask yourself whether you should clip the nail to even and smooth the edge.
When your dog’s nail has a clean break that’s not into the quick but there is a piece left that may snag on something, you should clip it so that it’s smooth but only if you are certain that you can do it without cutting it into the quick.
Stop any bleeding.
If your dog’s nail has a clean break that’s not into the quick and it’s bleeding mildly, the first order of business is to stop the bleeding. Just as you do with humans when they are bleeding, you should apply pressure to the spot that’s producing blood with a clean cloth or some gauze until the bleeding stops.
This will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes depending upon the severity of the damage. Don’t keep checking to see if the bleeding has stopped. Apply pressure for at least 5 minutes before checking.
Then, if the nail is still bleeding, apply pressure for 5 more minutes. A styptic pencil or styptic powder can also be used, but if you have neither, you can substitute flour or cornstarch. After 10 minutes, if the bleeding doesn’t stop, take your dog to the vet immediately.
When your dog’s nail is damaged with a clean break into the quick, you will have excessive bleeding. You should not try to treat it yourself but should take your dog to the vet immediately for professional treatment.
A nail injury into the quick is extremely painful for a dog, and treatment will probably require sedation.
Clean the wound.
Use a pet-safe antiseptic wash or spray to clean the area well and kill the germs that could cause infection.
Bandage the damaged area, and tape it securely but not too tightly with medical tape. If you secure it too tightly, you could cut off blood flow to your dog’s paw.
Change the bandage regularly.
You should keep an eye on the wound by changing the bandage regularly. When you do, you should examine the wound checking it for signs of infection (like swelling, discharge, bleeding, or extreme tenderness), clean it, and redress it.
What to Do for a Nail That’s Been Damaged Without a Clean Break
If your dog’s nail has been damaged but the break is not clean, the problem is a bit more complicated. Here is what you need to do if the nail is:
Still Firmly Attached
If your dog’s nail is badly damaged but is still well-attached to his paw, this is the most complicated type of nail injury to treat. All types of injuries fall into this category, from a deeply cracked nail to a nail that’s been half ripped off.
Don’t try to treat this type of injury yourself. Your dog will be in severe pain, and he will most likely need to be sedated to receive treatment. If he has a deep crack, the nail will need to be clipped down low, and this means cutting through a blood vessel and a nerve.
Ask anyone with nerve pain: It can bring you to your knees, and nerve pain in dogs is no different. After clipping the nail, your vet will stop the bleeding, clean, and sanitize the wound, and then, bandage and secure it.
The nail could also be hanging with some meat off the paw but still be securely attached to it. In this case, you should still take your dog immediately to the vet. Wounds like this can easily get infected, and they are extremely painful for your dog.
Barely Still Attached
Sometimes, a dog can damage his nail where the nail is just barely still hanging onto the paw. In these cases, it may be OK to securely hold your dog and gently remove the hanging nail and flesh but consider this.
You should first make sure that it will be a minimal enough procedure. Do this only if there is very little attachment left and removing the hanging piece will be very easy. You won’t want to traumatize your dog.
If you cannot remove the hanging portion easily, just take your dog to the vet and let the professional handle it. If you do decide to remove it yourself, ensure that you stop the bleeding, clean, and sanitize the wound, and wrap, and secure it.
Always keep an eye on wounds by changing bandages at least every other day and checking for infection.