Dog Grooming, Dog Paws

What to Do When Dog Nail Grows Into Paw


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We all try to do the very best we can for our dogs. Sometimes, we miss the mark, though. That’s what happens when a dog’s nail grows into the paw. I know because that’s what happened to Paris – you can see her here. If you’re wondering what to do when dog nail grows into paw, we have the answer for you.

Why a Dog Nail Grows Into the Paw

The most common reason a dog nail grows into the paw is overgrown nails. As the nail grows, it starts to curl when it gets too long. As it curls, it goes right into the paw. The pointiness of the nail is what punctures the paw, which means as it continues to grow, it goes deeper into the paw.

The other reason a dog nail grows into the paw is from injury. Since a dog’s nails can be sharp, especially when they aren’t ground down or the ground doesn’t dull them, the nail can pierce the dog’s paw.

Many dog owners believe there’s nothing you can do when a dog’s nails grow into the paw, but there is something you can do and you should do it as soon as possible. Bleeding can occur and lead to infection.

What to Do When Dog Nail Grows Into Paw

When a dog has long nails, it usually means it’s been a while since the last nail trim. Dog nail clippers are sufficient to cut the nail down. The problem is that the wick is likely long as well, so it will take multiple nail trims to get the long nails down to a good size.

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If you’re able to get to the end of the nail that is the dog’s paw, start to grind it from there. Sometimes, you can pull down on the paw to reveal the nail.

If you’re not able to get to the end of the nail to cut it down, you can try to grind the nail as close to the paw as possible. This way you know there isn’t a wick in the way that will hurt your dog if you grind it.

Once you grind through the nail closest to the paw, you’ll be able to easily remove the nail from the paw. Just pull it out like you would pull out a splinter from your skin.

You can then continue cutting or grinding down your dog’s nails.

How to Avoid Nail Problems

The best way to avoid nail problems is to keep your dog’s nails trimmed. The more often you trim them or grind them, the easier it will be to do. The wick will shrink back each time you clip your dog’s toenails, so soon they will be closer to your dog’s foot.

For pet parents with dogs that have black nails, don’t worry too much about hitting the wick. As long as you clip the top of your dog’s toenails each time, you won’t hit it. Some dog owners take their dog to the groomer multiple times to get their pet’s nails down to a good size, and then they just keep it up with regular nail trimming.

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Taking care of your dog’s nail health is important. If your dog has abnormal nail growth, an ingrown nail, or brittle nails, consider the following:

  • Feed a healthy fresh raw dog food diet, as this will provide the necessary nutrition for strong nails.
  • Use Aquaphor on your dog’s paws and nails when outside in the snow to protect them from the cold and becoming dry. Don’t forget to put it on the nail bed as well.
  • When your dog has a broken nail, inspect it to make sure there’s no bleeding. A bleeding nail is susceptible to infection. Be sure to keep it clean and use Aquaphor to help it heal.
  • Speak to your veterinarian or groomer about ways to make your regular nail trimming easier. They often have a lot of tricks to make a pet more comfortable with the nail grinder or nail clippers.

Learn more about dog paw health by reading: Iodine for Dog Paws and Betadine for Dog Paws

When to Contact Your Veterinarian

One of the things you should do when asking what to do when dog nail grows into paw is contact your veterinarian, especially if it’s happening multiple times. Abnormal nail growth can be a sign of a more serious medical problem, so it’s good to check on your pup’s overall health for possible causes of it.

For pet parents who have tried everything to get through the nail out of their dog’s foot, the veterinarian is the only answer. The vet will be able to remove the nail from the paw pad with minimal pain and provide guidance on how to fight infection.

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If you’re just uneasy taking care of the nail growing into the paw, the vet is the one that can help you. Once the nail issue is resolved, you can then go back to regular nail trimming.

What to Do When Dog Nail Grows Into Paw

When your dog’s nail grows into the paw, grind through the nail closest to the paw. Once the nail grinder gets through it, pick the nail out of the paw pad. You can then trim the rest of the nail down to a normal length.

Possible causes of nail issues are insufficient nail trimming, injury, or poor health. Increase the number of times you trim your pet’s nails and contact the vet if you notice any changes in your dog’s nails, as it can be the start of a nail disorder.

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