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Broken and damaged dog claws

Broken claws or claw damage are common in dogs. Here you can read about how you should act if your dog has injured a claw.
Close up of a dog's paws

A broken claw can mean anything from the claw capsule having ruptured to the entire claw, including the claw bone, being damaged. In milder cases of claw damage, the claw capsule is inflated or cracked. In other cases, the claw capsule may have been torn off, a fracture of the claw may have occurred, or the entire claw including the claw bone may have been damaged.

Claw capsule detachment

The dog's claws can come off or be damaged without external force if the dog suffers from claw capsule detachment. Usually several claws are then affected. Causes of nail capsule detachment can be infections, autoimmune diseases or tumours.

Symptoms of broken claws

  • The dog begins to limp
  • The dog licks its paw
  • The dog leaves a trail of blood behind

Avoid the dog licking the claw

It is common for the dog to want to lick the paw with the injured claw. Then put a paw bandage to avoid the risk of infection or use a collar.

This is how you bandage your dogs paw

If your dog has injured a claw, do this:

  • Inspect the paw and claws.
  • If necessary, wash gently with water.
  • Cut off any inflated part that dangles and moves.
  • Put a paw bandage if it is bleeding and the dog is bothered.
  • Contact a veterinarian.

When should I contact the vet?

Broken claws are not urgent, but a veterinarian should be contacted. Broken claws, injuries or cracks in the claw usually do not heal on their own. If the claw capsule is damaged at the claw fold, it is removed so that a new one can grow. If the claw is inflated, you can possibly cut off the part that dangles and moves.

Healing time after a broken claw

If the vet needs to remove the entire claw capsule after a claw fracture, your dog's paw may need to be bandaged for the following days to protect the pulp and avoid infections. A collar can also be recommended until your dog no longer shows interest in the claw. Follow the vet's advice regarding cleaning and bandaging the paw.

If the entire claw capsule is removed, a new claw capsule often grows after a few weeks. The new claw capsule may become slightly deformed. If the entire clone is removed, no new ones will grow.

Regular nail care can prevent nail damage

Regularly cutting your dog's claws is a good way to prevent claw damage and notice at an early stage if a claw is damaged.


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