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Dog nail disorders and how to treat them

Dog nail disorders

Maik Kastner 13/08/2017

Do you know how to recognize a nail problem? Is your dog in pain, does he lick the paws frequently? If something is changed in your pet’s behavior or nail color and texture, you should take your pooch to the veterinarian. After thorough investigations, your vet will recommend you the best treatment for your four-legged friend’s problem. Here’s a short guide about dog nail disorders and how to treat them.

Claw and nail disorders in dogs

When you decide to have a working dog, you must learn a few basic information about canine health. Did you know that most nail problems occur after injury or trimming too close to the quick? When the nail starts bleeding after grooming, you have to make a paste using water and cornstarch (or flour and baking soda). Use a cotton ball to apply to the claws and the bleeding will soon stop. But most nail conditions have symptoms such as:

  • soft, curled, abnormal claw formation – due to Onychodystrophy
  • swollen nails - Onychia (onychitis)
  • claws that are narrower (Micronychia) or wider (Macronychia) than usually
  • they are brittle and break easily - Onychoclasis
  • discoloration (reddish or whiter than normally, due to Leukonychia)
  • the claw plate sloughs off - Onychomadesis
  • pain upon walking or standing (because of the condition Onychalgia)
  • ingrown appearance - Onychocryptosis
  • frequently chewing or licking the paws
  • unusual signs at footpad and the surrounding skin

The most common nail disorders will go away after treatment. You should know that working breeds are more likely to experience claws problems. Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, and Giant Schnauzers are more predisposed to the disorders mentioned above. If your pet spends a lot of time playing in muddy soils or water, he could develop a nail fungal infection. With proper treatment and care, the nail health will improve, and the symptoms will disappear. Depending on the problem that affects your four-legged friend, it may take up to several months for healthy nail growth to return.

How to treat canine nail problems

If your pet has onychomycosis (nail fungal infection), the vet will recommend a topical cream or spray to kill the germs. Your dog will have to wear a collar to avoid licking or chewing the paws so that the ingredients will be absorbed into the tissues. When your dog has Systemic lupoid onychodystrophy (SLO), the treatment includes a combination of tetracycline or doxycycline and niacinamide, plus supplementation with omega-3 and -6 fatty acids with biotin (a B vitamin, also identified as “H”).

Several nail problems are not too serious, and you should not worry about them. Nutritional diseases, allergies, and parasitic infections are easy canine issues to deal with. After establishing the correct diagnosis, the veterinarian will prescribe you some pills along with nutritional recommendations.

You know now how to treat the most common dog nail disorders. Does your furry friend chew or lick the paws frequently? Pay a visit to the doctor and detect the illness before it would affect your dog more!