Dewclaws don’t wear themselves down the way the rest of a dog’s nails do, so they can get rather long and unpleasant.
My dog, Magdalena, just went through a broken dewclaw that ended up semi sorting itself out just days ago. Thankfully, the top and sides of the nail came off on its own, which makes total regrowth possible.
It freaked me out at first, but having a warped dewclaw due to breakage and weird regrowth can be problematic for the rest of a dog’s life, so I’m pleased. Regrowth has already begun around Maggie’s quick, so I’m very happy a trip to the vet wasn’t needed.
Either way, if your dog has a broken dewclaw or an injured dewclaw, in general, here is what you can do at home.
Inspect and Assess
Before anything else, you need to ensure the bleeding is stopped as quickly as possible.
If you don’t have any cauterizing powder or a styptic pencil, get some flour or baking powder and apply some generously on the nail.
If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 minutes, wrap it up in a towel and get your pup in the car. You’ll need to get her to a vet as soon as possible.
Remove the Damaged Nail Area
To ensure your dog won’t get poked in the sensitive quick area, which is now live, tender tissue, you will need to remove the areas of nail that are damaged.
At the time, I couldn’t find my dog’s nail trimmers, so I had to use ones for humans. It worked fine and will work for you, so long as you’re careful.
Removing the damaged nail also ensures regrowth will be better. Just be careful you don’t hit the quick directly while you’re doing this.
Clean the Entire Area and Wrap it Up
Once the bleeding has been stopped and the damaged nail bits are either cut down or cut completely off, it’s best to soak your dog’s paw and use a mild disinfectant.
I filled up the bath with approximately 3 inches of warm water, added some of my dog’s shampoo, and swished it around her feet to clean it out.
Once her paws were dry, I wrapped up the injured nail and kept it covered both in the house and when going outside, just to be sure.
If your dog refuses to keep regular bandages on and pulls socks off, I suggest using band-aids. Yes, it may sound painful, but Maggie didn’t even wince whenever I removed them, and they do the job nicely at keeping the area covered and protected.
Watch Out for Possible Infection
Even if it’s clean, covered, and seemingly okay, an infection can still occur.
Listed below are symptoms that may indicate an infected dewclaw:
- Soft texture
- Brittle texture
- Visible pus
- Visible pain in the area – holding foot in the air
- Swollen nail bed
- Limping and/or lameness
- Odd smell coming from the nail
If you spot any of the signs listed above, go to the vet as soon as possible.
Preventing Future Dewclaw Injuries
The best way to ensure no dewclaw injuries pop up in the future is to keep them trimmed down.
Dogs can get them stuck in the carpet, blankets, you name it. Even though it may not seem like a simple carpet stick will break a nail, it does happen.