Saturday, January 14, 2017

Managing a Broken Toe Nail At Home

Blood, it's a scary thing when its all over your carpet, walls, and seems to be unstoppable. Many a pet parent has called in shaking hysteria recanting some bloody unexplaianble crime scene to find that the crimson spackle decor is simply due to a toenail.

Every time I explain the same thing;
  • "Yes! I know it does look like a lot of blood. But it always looks worse than it is."
  • "No, it isn't an emergency."
  • "Yes, you can manage it at home."

If your pet is struggling with a bloody foot the first thing to do is calmly restrain your pet. Have someone hold the head and body gently. Many pets are adverse to having their feet held. Start at the body and head and then when you have a calm pet look at the foot.

Some pet parents will see their pet limping and not see blood. A toenail that is broken at the base can be painful as the sharp edge of the nail rubs on the tender tissue of the toe. For these cases I ask my clients to


Clean the toe with warm soapy water and then use gentle direct gentle pressure for 10 to 15  minutes to stop the bleeding. Try to discourage your dog from licking the nail. For this reason I usually give either a local anesthetic or a day of an anti-inflammatory (never ever use a human OTC). Or you can try a loose fitting sock to cover it. Make sure that the other nails are kept trimmed so that they don't have the same thing happen to them.

If there are any signs of infection, persistent pain, or a limp see your vet.

No one ever wants to admit it, but a broken nail is not an emergency. It can look like a lot of blood, but if you can stay calm, get it clean, and keep your pet calm hile you apply direct pressure it will stop bleeding. After that just don't let you pet traumatize it any further.

hope this helps.

If your pets nail is almost completely broken off this is the source of the pain, and therefore the subsequent licking. I use a muzzle and tweezers and quickly pull the nail off. If it is hanging on by a small piece of nail it will come off quickly and easily.

If the nail is almost fully attached I cut the nail back as much as possible so it isn't acting as a fulcrum and annoying the delicate raw tissue underneath.

Regardless, none of these are emergencies. Use a sock to prevent licking. Use Quik Stop (or baking powder) to stop the bleeding. But most importantly be careful if your pet is painful, and especially if they are already a pet who hates to have their feet or nails touched. You don't want to be bitten because they are painful (that would be an emergency).

See your vet if the licking, pain, or lameness/limping persists for more than 12-24 hours.

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