December5 , 2023

    The Essential Guide to Dog Nail Loss and Care


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    Canine nail health is an essential part of pet wellness that’s often overlooked. You’ve probably asked yourself questions like, “Do dogs lose nails?“. This comprehensive guide will delve into this and more, uncovering the mysteries surrounding our furry friends’ paws.

    How Often Do Dogs Lose Nails?

    It’s not every day that you find old dog nails falling off, but it isn’t entirely unusual either. The frequency with which dogs lose their nails varies greatly. It’s influenced by factors such as their age, breed, and overall health. Senior dogs may experience this more frequently due to their increasing vulnerability to health conditions.

    The Anatomy of a Dog’s Nail

    Before we explore further, it’s crucial to understand the structure of a dog’s nail. Like ours, it consists of an outer shell and a quick, a sensitive core filled with blood vessels and nerves. When your dog’s nail falls off, it’s usually the outer shell that gets detached, leading to a scenario where the dog nail shell comes off, exposing the quick.

    Why Do Dogs Lose Nails?

    So, why are your dog’s toenails falling off? The reasons are myriad. Trauma is a common cause, such as when your dog’s nail gets caught on a carpet or rough surface. The disease can also lead to nail loss. Certain fungal or bacterial infections can weaken the nail, causing it to fall off. Nutritional deficiencies can also play a part in unhealthy nails.

    Do Dogs’ Nails Grow Back?

    Yes, dog nails regrow and grow back unless they have been completely removed. In the latter case, the nail will not grow back. However, if your dog has torn off part of the nail, if it has been cut or broken, don’t worry: in a few days it will return to its normal state.

    Case Scenarios

    We’ve identified some case scenarios that may resonate with many pet owners. Let’s delve into these to shed more light on the specific instances.

    1. Dog Nail Fell Off, No Blood: This usually occurs when the outer shell of the nail gets detached. It’s alarming, but not necessarily an emergency if there’s no bleeding or visible pain. Still, it’s crucial to monitor the situation and consult your vet if necessary.
    2. My Dog’s Nail Fell Off and the Quick is Exposed: This scenario can be painful for your pet because the quick is sensitive. It’s essential to keep the area clean to prevent infection and seek immediate veterinary attention to manage the pain and assess the need for antibiotics or pain management.
    3. Dog Nail Shell Came Off: This is typically due to some form of trauma or infection. It’s best to keep the paw clean and avoid any further damage. Consider reaching out to your vet for advice on the next steps, as a treatment for infections might be required.
    4. Old Dog Nails Falling Off: Age can cause a dog’s nails to become brittle, leading to more frequent nail loss. Regular grooming and nutritional supplements can aid in maintaining healthy nails in senior dogs.
    5. Dog’s Nail Fell Off and Bleeding: This situation can be distressing for both the pet and the owner. It’s critical to stop the bleeding immediately by applying pressure with a clean cloth or bandage and seeking immediate veterinary help.

    Can Dogs Lose Toe Nails?

    Can dogs lose toenails? Indeed, they can. The reasons are similar to those causing dogs to lose their regular nails. Trauma, disease, and nutritional deficiencies are all potential culprits. Prevention is always better than cure, so regular foot checks and nail trims, good nutrition, and avoiding activities that can cause trauma to your dog’s nails are recommended.

    Broken Dog Nail: What to Do?

    If you notice that the broken dog nail is without blood, remove the broken part using the pet nail clipper. Already in case there is bleeding, take gauze and put it on site. Press until the bleeding stops. After that, the removal of the broken part can be done using the cutter. However, when he takes the irrigated portion or when the tutor finds the dog’s nail broken at the root, the animal feels pain. Therefore, the procedure cannot always be done at home. The best thing is to take the pet to the veterinarian, so that the specialist evaluates and performs the procedure at the clinic. Remember that, because the dog is in pain, it can become aggressive, try to run away and even bite. When taking it to the clinic, the professional can sedate it so that the removal can be done calmly, safely and correctly.

    How to Prevent The Dog From Breaking a Nail

    The fact that the dog has broken a nail can serve as a starting point for you to be more concerned about its care. Thus, you should regularly check if the nails are short. Otherwise, you must cut them, paying special attention to the spurs, if any. In this way, it is possible to see that the best way to prevent the dog from breaking a nail is to maintain proper hygiene. For this, you can file the nails regularly, using a file for dogs, or cut them.

    How to Cut a Dog’s Nail

    Keeping a dog’s nails in perfect condition goes beyond aesthetics, it is a health issue that can prevent the appearance of sores on their paws and other problems derived from excessive length.It is good to accustom the dog from the first moment to handling the paws and cutting the nails. To cut, start by picking up the paw and, with two fingers, fully exposing the nail. With a dog nail clipper, always cut respecting the area of vascularization, which is easy in the case of dogs with light nails, as it is quite visible. For dogs with dark nails, without this possibility of visualization, we must cut parallel to the pad.

    How Often Should You Cut Your Nails?

    After knowing the importance of maintaining the health of your nails and knowing when to start, you may wonder how often to cut them to prevent problems from appearing in your dog. But the truth is that there is no specific period, since each breed of dog has a specific growth rate. Likewise, depending on the type of exercise that the dog performs, the nails are naturally filed and, therefore, do not need to be cut as regularly.

    I Cut The Dog’s Nail More Than I Should, What To Do?

    Sometimes it can happen that your dog moves even when the cut is being made, or because his nail is black, we cut it more than we should and it started to bleed. If this happens, the first thing you should do is stay calm. Afterward, the quickest and most effective thing is to take a clean piece of gauze, moisten it with hydrogen peroxide and clean the nail, both to disinfect the wound and to stop the bleeding. If you have chlorhexidine gluconate at home, it is best to choose to use it because it manages to disinfect without irritating the animal’s skin. The ideal is to have disinfectant products on hand before you start cutting your dog’s nails so that you can act as soon as possible in the event of an accident. You can also go to the vet beforehand and ask for a special antiseptic powder for dogs, as it is much more effective than hydrogen peroxide when it comes to stopping the bleeding.

    And if it is impossible for you to cut your dog’s nails, consult your veterinarian or canine hairdresser to be an expert to carry out this task. Especially those dogs adopted as adults have problems when carrying out activities such as cutting their nails, because they already have a series of acquired habits and, among them, this one is not found, or because the experiences they have had were so traumatic that they cannot avoid fear, nor feel insecure.


    The health of your dog’s nails may not seem like a big deal until you’re faced with a situation where your dog’s nail fell off and is bleeding or the quick is exposed. By then, it can be quite distressing. Regular grooming, good nutrition, and vigilant monitoring of your pet’s nails can prevent many of the issues discussed in this article. Your furry friend depends on you to take care of them, so keep those paws healthy and happy!