How to Care for Torn Nail of Cat or Dog

rousou1-dog-paw-byAs your dog or cat plays, accidents can happen without warning. Your frivolous happy-go-lucky pet has no concerns when having a good time, as they should. Suddenly you notice blood everywhere without knowing the cause and as a responsible pet parent, you panic. The blood can be indicative of a condition that is less serious than it appears, a broken or torn toenail. In the process, your dog or cat is in pain and distress, running throughout the home, leaving an unpleasant trail.

A torn toenail in a dog or cat is not uncommon. There can be many reasons for the problem although most often it is because your pet got caught on something. Of course, at that moment your pet gets scared and tries to dislodge its immovable nail, causing the nail to break or tear away from the paw. This is not a life-threatening situation although it does cause your dog or cat lots of agony. Your pet will probably begin to limp and whine. You will need to check up on the nail immediately, trying to stop the bleeding. In such a situation, you should call your veterinarian for advice on what to do so the nail does not get infected or continue to bleed.

Most often a torn nail can be treated at home. Be prepared; although your pet may never attempt to bite you in any other situation, that same pet may nip at you out of fear and distress. Have your pet safely secure in your arms or on your lap with no fear of getting bitten so that you can attend to the injured nail. The first thing you want to do is stop the bleeding. Styptic powders or gels can be found at your larger pet supply stores and should always be in your home as a first aid in such situations with your pet. A professional groomer may advise you to use cornstarch or flour to stop the bleeding if nothing else is available. Just pack the affected area with the cornstarch which works as a stopper.

Once the bleeding has stopped, use nail clippers to try and remove any remaining nail very carefully. If the damage to the toenail is high up at the base of the nail, medical attention may be needed as you may cause further damage and more pain to your pet. Allowing a torn nail to grow out can cause additional irritation and will not heal on its own without professional help.

After the repair of the nail, or if you are lucky enough to cut back the nail safely, wash your pet’s paw with warm water, dry thoroughly and place a bandage.  Doing so will help to stop the bleeding further. The paw will remain clean to heal quicker.

The best preventative measure you can take to protect your dog or cat’s nails is to keep them trimmed. Contact a professional like your personal groomer or veterinarian to learn how to clip your pet’s nails on a regular basis safely. This may not stop a nail from getting broken or torn but can lessen the problem when nails are short. Play with your pet’s paws regularly so you can monitor the nails before they become susceptible to any nail damage and distress for your pet.

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