Soak Dog’s Broken Nail and Bandage

Dogs’ nails grow back with appropriate care.


Q. Somehow, my 3-year-old Jack Russell Terrier totally broke off one of his toenails – all the way down. Do you think it will grow back?

A. Fortunately, nails will grow back after they break off, just as they do in humans. But a fractured nail can be painful, so if your Jack Russell is limping around, he would probably benefit from some pain medication. In our ER, we usually soak the foot in diluted disinfectant, apply a padded bandage, and send home some anti-inflammatory pain medication such as Rimadyl.
You could probably do a foot soak at home just using clean, warm water. If you have any Betadine disinfectant, add a few drops to make the water the color of weak ice tea.

Apply a light wrap using some gauze sponges and elastic bandage material, held in place with some white medical tape. Of course, dogs will try to chew the bandage off, so an Elizabethan collar is also necessary. It’s usually safe to give dogs aspirin for up to three days, at a dose of about 5 mg per pound twice a day. If you go at a higher dose, or any longer, there is a risk of bleeding stomach ulcers.
After three days or so, remove the bandage so the new nail can start growing in.

Fractured nails are relatively simple problems, but they can be painful or become infected, so it’s important to treat them appropriately.


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joanette lee   hilliard, International

7/7/2014 11:57:13 AM

my beagle will not let no one and i mean no one cut his nail is there something i can gave him to knot him out until i cut him that won't hurt him.?

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Leslie - 233329   Lakeside, AZ

4/5/2013 11:25:41 AM

Good information. thanks

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Dana   houston, TX

2/24/2012 5:08:32 AM

How do I care for my dog's broken nail once I remove the bandage tomorrow? Thanks!

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Ryan   Silsbee, TX

1/16/2010 7:02:51 PM

my weimaraner split one of his toe nails outer toe on his right rear leg. the nail has comepletely lifted off of the quick and the quick seems to have clotted. It does have an odor - I know this is not good in humans. The nail is still there it is just split on the inner side and 90% of the nail is loose and hanging above the quick. Does this situation require a trip to the vet to have the loose part of the nail removed to prevent further damage and allow the nail to grow back normally?

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