Why Are Dog Nails Splitting? (The Truth)

A closer examination of your dog's limping while out playing may reveal a cracked, fractured, torn, wounded or brittle nails.

A broken toenail is a painful and sometimes costly injury for our pets, and one that I frequently see in the veterinary emergency room.

The nails of a dog can be injured in a variety of ways.

Minimal toenails have only a slight break with some leaking, but others have a 90-degree angle to them.

Because a dog's nail can be painful or cause bleeding when it breaks, a veterinarian may be the best option for treating a cracked or broken nail.

That being said, a trip to the emergency room may not be necessary.

You may be able to treat a splitting Dog Nail at home, or you may be able to wait until the morning to see your usual veterinarian, depending on the severity of the injury.

So, what should you do if your dog suddenly favors one paw over the other if you notice blood from the nail?

First, examine the dog's paw thoroughly, particularly between the toes and the webbing, to determine whether there is a cut, foxtail or other foreign object, insect stinger, or (you guessed it) a broken nail.

Always keep a tight eye on the nail bed when doing so. There may be breaks or injuries in the dog's nail that are buried behind the fur line, where the nail's base enters the toe.

In dogs, there are three different “categories” of nail injuries:

  1. The nail on the dog's foot has fully broken off on it's nail bed and is bleeding.
  2. The nail on the dog's foot is cracked or broken, but it is just weakly attached to the nail bed.
  3. The dog's nail is cracked or broken, but it is still linked to his nail bed.
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claw and nail disorders
Brittle Dog Nails

1. A Splitting Dog Nail

The best-case scenario is when the nail is completely broken off and there is some bleeding.

Bleeding is usually minor in these circumstances, but it might be concerning if it persists.

These are the easiest injuries to treat at home because all you have to do is apply pressure to the nail with a gauze or clean towel to stop the bleeding.

The trick is to keep pressure on the wound for at least 5 to 10 minutes without checking to see if the bleeding has stopped before then.

It's crucial to keep your pet calm during this period since excitement raises blood pressure, which prevents a good clot from forming.

If bleeding persists despite the application of pressure, apply styptic powder (such as Kwik Stop) and apply pressure for another 5 minutes or so to avoid fungal infection.

If you don't have any styptic powder on hand, a pinch of baking soda may suffice.

If the bleeding persists despite these efforts, I would prefer go to the ER than wait.

2. Cracked or broken nail that is loosely attached

If you come across a nail that is really loose and dangling, you might try to remove it yourself at home.

It's critical to have someone assist you in properly restraining your dog as you try to remove the virtually broken-off nail with a swift pull action.

Only try to remove the nail if it is very loose!

Consider a “loose wiggly tooth” from your childhood.

Also, be cautious when inspecting or attempting to remove a loose nail, as this can give an unexpected and unpleasant pain sensation, prompting some dogs to nip or bite.

If bleeding occurs after the removal, apply gauze and gentle pressure, or Kwik Stop, as described above.

3. A Nail That Is Firmly Attached But Is Cracked Or Broken

Finally, there is a sort of broken nail that should be treated by a veterinarian in the first instance.

These are broken, uncomfortable, and possibly bleeding nails that are still securely attached.

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The most common treatment for these stubbornly injured nails is sedation with pain medication, followed by cutting off the damaged nail just above the crack's level.

Because you are cutting through the very thick section of the nail with a live blood vessel and nerve, which is quite painful, sedation is required.

This is frequently followed by the administration of styptic powder and the wearing of a bandage for around 24 hours.

The bandage encourages rest for a day so that a solid clot forms and the minor cut does not bleed more if it is bumped.

Although these types of injuries necessitate medical attention, they can wait until the next day if you can't arrange an appointment with your veterinarian right away (unless your dog seems excessively painful, then I would not wait).

How to Trim the Nails of Your Dog

Unless your dog spends a lot of time on hard surfaces, you should cut or clip his toenails once a week – if you hear them clicking on a hard surface, it's time for a trim to avoid nail fungus.

Most dogs despise having their feet touched, so clipping or trimming may not be your favorite shared activity, but introducing your dog to this habit at a young age will help you both get through it.

After you've finished clipping your dog's nails, give him a huge hug, a boisterous “Good dog!” and a healthy scratch behind the ears.

If you can't clip all of your dog's nails at once, symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy could be spotted.

Don't worry; you can do one paw at a time while doing other things or taking a break.

To cut your dog's nails, follow these steps:

  1. Maintain a firm grip on the foot, but do it gently.
  2. Snip a little piece of each toenail's end.
  3. Place a tiny part of the nail in the nail clipper and snip with the guillotine or scissors-type clippers.
  4. Stop cutting the nail if it feels spongy when you're trying to cut it Because you're cutting the quick!
  5. Any bleeding should be stopped right away.


Antibiotics are not required for any form of nail injury or nail infection because dogs are quite good at keeping the area clean on their own by licking.

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A little licking is fine, because it's what a dog would do to keep himself clean in the wild.

As a result, you should keep an eye on the area for any signs of redness, swelling, murky discharge, or increasing discomfort before nail trims.

In all but a few cases, the torn nail will recover normally, regardless of the type of damage it has received.

The dog nail may sprout with a tiny bend or a different hue, but it normally returns to its original look after several months—much like when we humans lose a fingernail.

It's always advisable to seek veterinary help if you're unsure about the seriousness of an injury, but maybe this will save you a trip to the ER if something happens to your dog while you're out having fun on the weekend.


How do you treat a split nail on a dog?

What should I do if one of my dog's nails is broken?

1. Restrain your dog in a secure manner. While you work on the nail, have someone keep your pet.
2. Wrap the foot in gauze or a towel and apply pressure to the damaged toe to stop the bleeding.
3. Remove the portion of the nail that has been damaged.
4. To avoid infection, keep the nail bed clean.
5. Control the discomfort.

Should I take my dog to the vet for a split nails?

In dogs, a bleeding or broken toenail is a common injury.

If the problem is serious, it usually necessitates a trip to the veterinarian right away.

A bleeding or fractured toenail can cause blood loss, pain, and infection if left untreated, while it is rarely life-threatening.

Will a dog's split nail heal?

Is it necessary to send my dog to the veterinarian because of a nail disorder?

Injuries to the toenail, such as bleeding or breaking it, are fairly prevalent in dogs.

If it's serious, it usually necessitates a trip to the vet right away.

A bleeding or fractured toenail can cause blood loss, pain, and infection if left untreated, however it is rarely fatal.

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