How To Care for a Dog’s Broken and Bleeding Toenails: 10 Best Steps

Learn how to provide effective Care for a Dog’s Broken and Bleeding Toenails with this comprehensive guide. Discover step-by-step instructions, essential supplies, and tips to ensure your furry friend’s comfort and speedy recovery.


A broken and bleeding toenail in dogs can be a distressing situation for both pets and their owners. Dogs are naturally active, and accidents can happen, leading to injuries like broken toenails. It’s crucial to address this issue promptly to prevent further complications and ensure your furry friend’s well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to care for a dog’s broken and bleeding toenail.

Reasons for Broken and Bleeding Toenails in Dogs

Dogs can experience broken and bleeding toenails for various reasons, ranging from accidental trauma to underlying health issues. Understanding these reasons is crucial for preventing such injuries and ensuring your dog’s overall well-being. Here are some common causes of broken and bleeding toenails in dogs:

1. Trauma:

Accidental trauma is a leading cause of broken toenails in dogs. This can occur when a dog’s nail gets caught in objects, such as furniture, carpets, or fencing, leading to a sudden break. Additionally, rough play, especially on hard surfaces, can contribute to toenail injuries.

2. Improper Nail Trimming:

If a dog’s nails are not trimmed regularly or are trimmed incorrectly, they can become too long and prone to breaking. Overgrown nails are more likely to snag on surfaces, leading to fractures and bleeding. Improperly trimmed nails may also cause the quick (the sensitive tissue inside the nail) to extend further, making the nails more susceptible to injury.

3. Breed Predisposition:

Certain dog breeds are more prone to toenail issues due to their anatomy or nail structure. Breeds with long, curved nails, such as Dachshunds or Basset Hounds, may be more susceptible to breaks. Additionally, breeds with dewclaws (extra toes) may experience injuries to these nails.

4. Fungal or Bacterial Infections:

Infections affecting the nail bed can weaken the structure of the nail, making it more susceptible to breaks. Fungal or bacterial infections can cause changes in the nail, leading to brittleness and potential injuries.

5. Nutritional Deficiencies:

Poor nutrition can impact the health of a dog’s nails. Inadequate levels of essential nutrients, such as biotin, can result in weak and brittle nails, increasing the likelihood of breaks and bleeding.

6. Paw Pad Injuries:

Injuries to the paw pads can indirectly affect the nails. If a dog has a cut or injury on the paw pad, they may alter their gait or posture, potentially causing the nails to wear unevenly and break.

7. Underlying Health Conditions:

Certain health conditions, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease, can impact a dog’s overall nail health. Dogs with systemic health issues may experience changes in their nails, making them more prone to breaks and bleeding.

8. Age-Related Changes:

As dogs age, their nails may become more brittle and prone to breakage. Arthritis or reduced mobility can also contribute to changes in gait, potentially increasing the risk of toenail injuries.

9. External Aggressors:

Sharp objects in the environment, such as rocks, glass shards, or metal, can pose a threat to a dog’s toenails. Running or playing in areas with these objects increases the risk of injuries.

10. Tumors or Growths:

In some cases, tumors or abnormal growths around the nail bed can lead to changes in the structure of the nail, making it more susceptible to breaks and bleeding.

How To Care for a Dog’s Broken and Bleeding Toenails

1. Assess the Situation:

The first step is to stay calm and assess the severity of the injury. Examine the toenail carefully to determine the extent of the break and the amount of bleeding. If the bleeding is excessive or the toenail appears severely damaged, it’s advisable to seek professional veterinary assistance immediately.

2. Gather Essential Supplies:

Before you begin the care process, gather the necessary supplies. You will need clean towels, sterile gauze pads, an antiseptic solution, styptic powder or cornstarch, a small container for soaking, and a pet-safe bandage.

3. Control the Bleeding:

To stop the bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the injured toenail using a clean towel or gauze pad. If the bleeding persists, dip the toenail in a small container filled with styptic powder or cornstarch. These substances help clot the blood and facilitate faster healing.

4. Clean the Wound:

Once the bleeding is under control, clean the wounded area with a mild antiseptic solution. Use a cotton ball or pad to gently wipe away any dirt or debris. Be cautious not to cause further discomfort to your dog during this process.

5. Soak the Paw:

Prepare a warm water and antiseptic solution mixture and soak your dog’s paw for a few minutes. This helps to clean the wound thoroughly and prevents infection. Ensure your dog is comfortable during the soaking process.

6. Trim Jagged Edges:

If the broken toenail has jagged edges, carefully trim them using pet nail clippers. Be cautious not to cut into the quick, as this can cause additional pain and bleeding. Trim only the loose or sharp edges to facilitate healing.

7. Apply Topical Antibiotics:

After cleaning and trimming, apply a thin layer of pet-safe topical antibiotics to the injured toenail. This helps prevent infection and promotes a faster recovery.

8. Bandaging the Toe:

If the injury is extensive or if your dog continues to lick or bite the affected area, consider bandaging the toe. Use a pet-safe bandage to secure the gauze pad over the wound. Ensure it’s not too tight to avoid restricting blood flow.

9. Monitor for Signs of Infection:

Keep a close eye on the injured toenail for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge. If you notice any concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian promptly.

10. Preventive Measures:

To minimize the risk of future toenail injuries, regularly trim your dog’s nails and provide a safe environment free from sharp objects. Consider using nail grinders or seeking professional grooming services to maintain your dog’s nails at an appropriate length.

How To Care for a Dog’s Broken and Bleeding Toenails


Caring for a dog’s broken and bleeding toenails requires patience, attentiveness, and the right supplies. By following these step-by-step instructions and keeping a watchful eye on your furry friend’s recovery, you can ensure a speedy healing process and prevent potential complications. Remember, if in doubt, consult with your veterinarian for professional guidance and assistance.


Q1: Can I use human styptic powder on my dog’s bleeding toenail?

It is recommended to use pet-specific styptic powder or cornstarch for your dog’s bleeding toenail. Human products may contain ingredients that can be harmful to pets.

Q2: How long does it take for a dog’s broken toenail to heal?

The healing time varies depending on the severity of the injury. Mild cases may take a week or two, while more severe injuries may require several weeks of care.

Q3: Should I visit the vet for every broken toenail in my dog?

While minor injuries can be managed at home, it’s advisable to consult a vet if the toenail is severely damaged, bleeding excessively, or if you are unsure about how to handle the situation.

Q4: Can I use hydrogen peroxide to clean my dog’s wound?

It’s best to avoid using hydrogen peroxide on a dog’s wound, as it can delay the healing process. Stick to a mild antiseptic solution recommended by your veterinarian.

Leave a Comment