What To Do If Dog's Nail Is Split Down Vertically

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Key Takeaways

  • In the case that a dog nail split vertically, you should either apply gentle pressure and remove the dog nail yourself or take your dog to the vet to remove the split nails.
  • Split nails can be caused by physical stress, a nutritional deficiency, a medical condition, or long nails.
  • Nail splitting can be prevented by feeding your dog a balanced diet and trimming long nails.
  • Long nails are prone to nail splitting, whether half vertically or horizontally, or becoming a partially attached torn nail.
  • Nail splitting can cause your dog a lot of pain and can cause infection.

We all want to ensure that our dogs are as healthy as possible, but this can be hard as something as simple as a split nail can cause your dog a lot of pain.

So what should you do if your dog’s nail is split vertically? If your dog’s nail is split vertically, you should trim it down and remove all of the damaged parts of the nail. However, if the split is deep enough that it causes your dog to bleed, you should try to get to a vet as soon as possible.

No dog owner ever wants to see their beloved pet in pain, and seeing that your dog split a nail and is in pain for the first time can be really scary both for you and your dog. Still, split nails are quite common, so there’s no need to worry too much if you find that your dog has one. Most of the time the nails can be fixed easily and your dog will be back to his old self in no time. So what should you do if your dog’s nail is split vertically, how can you tell if your dog has a vertically split nail, and how do nails split in the first place?

In this article

What To Do If Dog’s Nail Is Split Down Vertically

If your dog’s nail is split vertically, what you should do depends on how badly the nail is split. For instance, if it isn’t too bad, your dog may not be bothered by or even feel it all. In this case, you should just try to trim the nail down so that all of the broken parts of the nail are removed.

However, if the nail is split deep enough that it reaches the quick, or nail bed, it will begin to bleed and cause excruciating pain for your dog. In this case, you should seek veterinary care immediately, as not only will this be extremely painful for your dog but it could also get infected causing further problems.  In the meantime, the use of a styptic pencil can help stop the bleeding.

How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has A Vertically Split Nail?

If your dog is in pain because of a particularly bad vertical nail split, it won’t be hard to tell. Firstly, there will almost definitely be blood to clean up, but besides this, a split nail may also leave your dog limping. Your dog is also likely to vocalize his discomfort to you by whining or whimpering.

On the otherhand, if the split isn’t too bad and your dog isn’t in pain it will be harder to tell. If you notice that your dog is excessively licking the paw, this could be an indicator. However, inspecting the paw and looking for any visible split in the nail or inflammation in the surrounding area is the only way to truly know for sure.

What Causes Dog Nails To Get Split Down Vertically?

There are lots of different things that could potentially cause your dog’s nails to split. Split and broken nails happen all the time, but vertically split nails are much worse than if they are split horizontally or otherwise broken. So what are some of the most common causes of nail splitting?

Physical Stress

It’s no secret to any dog owner that most dogs love to run, jump and play anywhere and everywhere. While rough play is all well and good, it does mean that your dog has plenty of hard surfaces to injure itself on throughout the day, with nail injuries being some of the most common.

A split or broken nail can be caused by something as simple as your dog jumping and landing on one of its paws awkwardly.  You can consider this expected wear and tear on your dog’s nails and though normally, broken nails like this won’t be much of a problem, if you notice a broken nail be sure to inspect it and make sure it isn’t causing your dog any harm.

Nutritional Deficiency

Another thing that could make it more likely that your dog’s nails split, is if your dog has a lack of sufficient essential nutrients. Proteins like keratin are incredibly important for nail health and not having enough of it could cause your dog to have brittle nails, and brittle nails only lead to a higher chance that your dog’s nail splits.

Ensuring that your dog has a balanced diet with sufficient nutrients can go a long way to preventing a part of the nail from breaking. Giving your dog fish oil for a bit of extra biotin can also be effective in keeping your pet’s nails safe

Medical Conditions

A dog nail split vertically could also be a sign of underlying medical conditions or other nail disorders. There are plenty of nail disorders or other diseases that can cause this to happen including endocrine and autoimmune disorders, tumors, viruses, and bacterial or fungal infections

Overgrown Nails

Another thing that can will increase the likelihood that your dog’s nail splits vertically is if your dog’s nails are too long. While many dog owners are good at keeping their dog’s nails short, it’s not uncommon for dog owners to have trouble remembering to keep their dog’s nails trimmed, even though having short nails are much better for the dog.

Still, the longer the dog nail, the more likely it is that the nail breaks during normal rough play, so ensuring that your dog’s nails are trimmed regularly can go a long way to keeping them firmly attached and preventing a damaged nail from ruining your dog’s day.

What Happens If A Split Nail Goes Untreated?

In the case that the dog's nail splits vertically, it is incredibly important that you get your dog safely to the vet for immediate treatment.

Dog nails are connected to the bones in a dog's foot via something called the quick, or nail bed, which is living tissue full of blood vessels. If the dog nail split deep enough and it leaves the quick exposed, it will begin to bleed from where the nail split and cause your dog severe pain.

However, not only will it be very painful for your dog but when a dog nail splits vertically can be prone to infections. A dog’s broken nail will also affect the way your dog walks possibly putting your dog’s other nails, especially the dew claw, at an increased risk of breaking.

That is why it’s so important to make sure you keep your pet’s nails strong and short through proper diet and regular trimming, as longer nails are much more likely to be injured in such a way that could make the nail split or get completely torn off.

Because a dog nail split vertically can cause so much additional harm if left untreated, if this happens to your dog’s nail, you should get your dog to the vet as soon as possible so that they properly remove the torn dog nail and administer pain medications if need be.