Dogs’ nails are used for a variety of purposes.
Above all, they give traction and stability when standing, walking, or running.
They are also useful for activities such as playing, digging, and grabbing objects.
Maintaining an adequate length of your dog’s nails and feeding them nutritious food will help to avoid nail disorders from occurring.
Serious nail issues like brittle dog nails can have a negative influence on your dog’s quality of life.
Nail discomfort in dogs is often harsher than in people since dogs walk with their weight on their nails.
Early detection can make treatment easier and help to avoid your dog from experiencing prolonged pain and suffering.
The Nail Anatomy of a Dog
A blood vessel and nerve are coated in thick, hard keratin in dog nails.
The area inside the nail containing the blood vessel and nerve is commonly referred to as the “quick.”
Because the nerve and blood vessels of the nail usually finish before the keratin shell, the rest of the nail may be empty or even filled with dirt.
The nail bed is the area where the nail exits the digit of the paw.
Signs of Dog Nail Problems
Nail disorders in dogs can manifest in a variety of ways, depending on the cause of the problem.
Any of the following symptoms may suggest an issue that necessitates veterinarian care.
- Limping or supporting the paw
- Excessive paw or nail licking
- Nails that are brittle
- Nail discoloration
- Bleeding or discharge from the nail or from the nail bed
- Nail or nail bed swelling and/or redness
Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy
In dogs, symmetric lupoid onychodystrophy (SLO) is an intriguing nail illness that should be examined when a dog exhibits the following clinical signs:
- Onychalgia (pain)
- Oncholysis (nail splitting)
- Onychomadesis (nails falling off)
What was formerly thought to be a pathognomonic histopathologic pattern observed in nail biopsy specimens from affected dogs is now found to occur in other nail disorders (e.g. leishmaniasis).
As a result, some people think of SLO as a reactive pattern rather than a distinct condition.
Common Causes of Dog Nail Infection
Dog nail problems are frequently caused by injuries, infections, or even bad nutrition.
Some of the more prevalent issues to are listed below.
Accidental Nail Trimming
Many of us have been shocked by the sensation of clipping a dog’s nail too tightly using nail clipper.
It’s very easy to accomplish this “quicken” by accident, which results in the blood vessel and nerve inside the nail being severed.
Heavy bleeding is usual, and it can be excruciatingly uncomfortable for the dog.
If you cut into the quick by nail trims, take the following precautions:
- Maintain your composure. The bleeding may appear excessive, but the damage is most likely not as severe as it appears.
- While you get something to halt the bleeding, apply pressure with a cloth or paper towel.
- If you have styptic powder, you can dip the bleeding nail into it and push it against the bleeding nail.
- If you don’t have this substance on hand, cornstarch or flour will work in a pinch but will be less effective and take longer to stop the bleeding.
- While you wait for the bleeding to stop, try to keep your dog calm and immobile.
- Contact your veterinarian if the bleeding lasts more than 15 minutes, the dog’s paw appears bloated, or your dog limps or holds up the paw.
Injuries to the nails
In dogs, torn nail injuries are rather common.
They can easily become entangled in objects when rushing around, causing the nail to tear or fracture.
If you suspect your dog has a nail injury, carefully examine the paw.
If your dog allows it, stop any bleeding and clean the area.
If only the keratin portion of the dog’s claw was damaged, you should be able to clip any sharp edges and then observe the paw.
A veterinarian should be consulted if a nail damage affects the quick or nail bed, or if it seems red, inflamed, or generates a discharge.
Infections of the Nails
Bacterial infections can be caused by an untreated injury, but they can also be caused by other nail and/or skin problems.
Paronychia, an infection of the nail bed, can occur in dogs.
However, nail infections can also be caused by allergies, other skin diseases, traumas, or nail defects.
Nail bed infections are either bacterial or fungal in nature.
Bacterial nail infections induce swelling at the base of the nail and the digit of the paw.
The affected area may appear red and heated to the touch.
There may also be a discharge from the affected area that seems to be pus or fluid.
It is normal for the dog to limp and lick or gnaw the affected paw.
Nail Fungus infections, also known as onychomycosis, can produce dry, brittle, and crumbly nails.
To properly diagnose and treat a fungal infection, your veterinarian will need to take a scraping of the affected region to identify the fungus.
Treatment for nail fungal infection may include a variety of topical and/or oral drugs.
Some infections take a long time to heal and necessitate close monitoring by both the veterinarian and the owner.
Brittle nails, poor coat quality, weight loss, and lethargy are some common symptoms that a dog’s diet is deficient in vitamins, minerals.
Your veterinarian will collaborate with you to develop a nutrition plan that is beneficial to your dog.
Never feed a homemade diet or give supplements to your pet without first seeing your veterinarian.
Some autoimmune illnesses affect only the nails, whilst others affect the entire body.
Treatment varies depending on the disease, although it frequently entails long-term usage of immunosuppressive medicines.
Tumors can form on the paws or nail beds and interfere with nail growth.
Some of these tumors are malignant and can cause significant damage to the affected area.
To have a clearer picture of what is going on, your vet may need to gather samples and perform radiographs (X-rays).
Surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy may be used in the treatment.
How to Prevent Dog Nail Problems
Taking good care of your dog is the greatest approach to avoid a nail problem.
Shortening your dog’s nails (while being careful not to cut the quick) can help him prevent injury.
Regular nail cutting also allows you to inspect your dog’s nails and maybe detect an issue before it becomes severe.
If you discover a problem with your pet’s nails, contact your veterinarian right away for advice.
Also, as indicated by your veterinarian, take your dog to the vet for routine wellness checkups once or twice a year.
It is also critical to feed a high-quality diet that is comprehensive and balanced according to your veterinarian’s recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Splitting nails might be an indication of insufficient nutrition; discuss your pup’s diet with your vet to ensure he is getting enough nourishment.
Keeping his paws clean can help limit the chance of infection, which can result in nail damage.
Overgrown nails and rough play are a dangerous combination that can result in broken or split nails.
The dog’s nails should be visible but not extend past the paw.
If your dog has long hair, the nails may be difficult to notice.
However, if your dog’s nails extend past the bottom of the paw pad, you’ll know they’re too long.
Keep your dog’s nails trimmed to avoid the inconvenience of a broken nail.
Shorter nails are less prone to snagging than longer ones.
So you can cut your dog’s nails at home, ask your veterinarian or veterinary technician to demonstrate correct nail clipping.