What Happens?

  • Like us, the toenails of cats and dogs are continuously growing.  If not maintained and allowed to overgrow, the nails can break off or grow into the surrounding tissues.
  • The toenail in pets is made of a similar substance as our nails, but on the inside, there is a canal that is filled with nerves and blood vessels (called the “quick”).
  • If you trim a nail back too far or the nail breaks, it will be painful and will bleed substantially


What Does It Look Like?

  • Broken toenails usually bleed a lot.  The pet may or may not be limping on the leg with the broken toenail
  • Ingrown nails are usually not bleeding, but pets are often limping with them.  That is why it is so important to look at your pets leg from top to toe if they are limping


What Do You Do?

  • For broken nails, the first step is to cut the nail behind where the break is.  If the break is very high (near the nail bed), it is recommended to bring them to a vet to have them sedated for the procedure
  • Once the nail is cut, use the syptic match to stop the bleeding.  
  • Apply a loose bandage to the foot and remove it less than 24 hours later
  • If the nail is ingrown, trim the nail to the appropriate length.  Remove the remaining nail from the tissue it is embedded into.  
  • Clean the wound with betadine and apply triple antibiotic ointment and follow the same bandage instructions as the broken nail.
  • Do NOT leave the bandage on for more than 24 hours unless it is applied by a veterinarian.