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My dog has a broken claw: how should I react?

Author: Rémi

All dog owners have experienced it. It is very common for a dog to break or tear off a claw. Although not serious, this injury, which can cause limping in some cases, must be treated to relieve your pet’s discomfort and reduce the risk of infection.

It can be an accident, or it can be a symptom of a pathological condition called onyxis.

Has your dog lost a nail? Has he pulled out a claw? You will find all the information and advice in this article on what to do if your dog has a broken nail and when to consult a vet.

Your dog has a broken or torn claw. What is it?

Known as traumatic onyxis, a claw fracture in dogs is a fairly common accident. It occurs when the dog’s nails are a little large, either due to rapid growth or very slow wear. This is how, during a walk or activity, the dog breaks his claw.

It should be pointed out that the most commonly affected claw is the dewclaw, present on the fifth finger of the dog, which corresponds to our thumb, because it is not in contact with the ground. Thus, this claw tends not to wear out, which predisposes it to tearing and breaking issues. It is therefore important to cut this small claw regularly.

In some cases, a broken claw is a warning sign of an underlying disease. Leishmaniasis in dogs, for example, is characterized by abnormally long and deformed claws. They tend to break more easily.

Can you treat your dog’s broken claw yourself?

chien ongle cassé

Under certain circumstances it is possible to treat your dog’s broken claw yourself. When the claw is neatly broken at its tip, just apply an antiseptic (diluted betadine for example) to disinfect it, making sure the dog does not lick it by using a collar for a few days.

A broken claw usually causes heavy bleeding and can be painful for the dog, so it’s important to be careful when caring for your pet, as his reactions can be unpredictable. Disinfection of a torn or broken claw should be done twice a day for 3 days.

Monitor the progress of the injury and contact the veterinarian if you have any doubts.

Broken claws: when to consult the veterinarian

Because of the pain, the dog will probably refuse to be treated. In this case, go to the vet. In some cases, the intervention of the veterinarian is mandatory. Especially when the claw is completely torn off or broken at the base of the finger. Removing the claw in this case is the only solution, it is called claw removal, which is done under sedation. The aim of this procedure is to facilitate the regrowth of the claw and avoid infection.

The procedure takes only a few minutes, after which the dog will come out with a bandage to protect the claw. Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics may be prescribed in the most severe cases. In some cases, the claw is already infected. You must then take your dog to the veterinarian.

In summary, if your dog has a broken claw, take him to the vet if:

  • The bleeding is heavy and the claw is painful;
  • The dog won’t let you touch him;
  • The claw is infected.

How can I prevent my dog from breaking his claws?

To avoid claw breaking, it’s simple. Keep an eye on his nails and regularly trim his claws, especially the dewclaws. Since the dewclaws are not in contact with the ground, they tend not to wear out quickly and the claw may become elongated, causing it to break.

In addition, physical activity and regular walks allow the dog to run, move around and exercise, which enables him to wear out his claws and thus prevent them from breaking.

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