How is it even possible that such an itsy-bitsy injury brings so much discomfort? A completely non threatening breakage of a tiny claw on one toe can be severely painful. The pangs can be so strong sometimes that a large and dauntless dog would literally be ‘reduced to tears’. Any breed, either a large one or small, limps and whines with discomfort. Moreover, the injury often causes bleeding, which only makes things worse.
What Causes Claw Breakage?
Dogs can break their claws as they get hooked on carpets, upholstered surfaces or get tangled in grass roots, etc. Or the dog may jump down the chair or porch in such an unfortunate wat that the claw twists and breaks. Sometimes the claws in older pets become dry and brittle and can break very easily. Longer claws tend to get hooked in things and break more often than short ones. Regardless of the cause, a broken claw brings pain and bleeding, and therefore requires immediate treatment.
Why Is Broken Claw Such a Trouble?
Dogs’ claws are located against some large blood vessels and are coated with a layer of solid stuff called keratin. Claws have no living tissue, therefore clipping them is not painful for your pet. Also, the claws are immediately attached to the bone, which makes any damage of a claw a potentially serious condition.
As a rule, there are 5 claws on each forefoot and 4 claws on each hindfoot, but sometimes there may be an extra claw higher on the animal’s paw. All but the extra claws usually get worn out when the dog walks on hard surfaces, which makes trimming unnecessary. Extra claws do not wear out, and therefore should be clipped more often, as they are more prone to breaking.
First Aid Treatment When the Dog Has a Broken Claw
If your dog whines in obvious pain, begins hobbling all of a sudden or drags slightly its leg, be sure to check the paw for claw integrity and follow these steps:
- Hold your dog firmly in place. Ask someone to hold your pet for you while you examine the claw. Remember that even the calmest and most gentle of animals can become snappish when it is in painful. Hold the dog firmly, this will help both to immobilize it and ensure safety.
- Stop the bleeding by applying a compressing bandage. If the bleeding would not stop in 5-10 minutes, you should use styptic pencil or powder. Both remedies can be purchased at the pet store or in the first aid section of a regular pharmacy. If you do not have these medications at home, try spraying flour on the claw, or hold the tip of the claw in the soap box to staunch the flow of blood.
- Remove the broken piece of the claw. You may also need cuticle scissors, but if the injury is serious enough, it is best to leave it to the veterinarian. On the way to the veterinary, keep the injured paw wrapped in a towel. This procedure is often painful, but is also fast enough and, as a general guide, does not require sedatives. Excision of the damaged nail piece provides a good basis for its future growth.
- Protection of the nail root from infection. Your veterinarian will apply an antibiotic ointment or powder on the nail root and bandage the leg to prevent contamination and minimize further bleeding. Oral or injectable antibiotics may also be prescribed.
- Pain treatment. When the claw is excised, tender tissue underneath as well as blood vessels and nerves, becomes very sensitive. The veterinarian can prescribe an analgesic that will sooth your pet’s discomfort.
How to Prevent Claw Breakage in Dogs?
To avoid the unpleasant condition as much as possible, keep all the dog’s claws neatly and timely clipped. Trimmed claws are less prone to breakage than the long ones. Ask your veterinary about proper trimming techniques of trimming the claws at home.
Keep treatment of your dog’s claws on your to-do list, along with outings and bathing, to keep trouble away as much as possible.