Dogs' nails contain a piece of living tissue called the quick. It contains nerves and blood vessels. Because their nails contain living tissue, broken nails are not something to ignore. If your dog rushes up to you with a broken and bleeding toenail, then you'll need to stabilize the injury and take them to the vet clinic for treatment. Here's a closer look at how you should stabilize the wound, and also what the vet will do to treat your dog.
Stabilize the Paw
Your dog will probably be limping, holding up its paw, and showing signs of pain after ripping or breaking a nail. It is hard to determine the extent of the injury when your dog is in this state, so there's no reason to fiddle with their paw too much. What you should do is try to apply some gauze to the wound, applying pressure to reduce the bleeding. Then, if possible, wrap your dog's paw with an athletic bandage or medical tape to hold the gauze in place.
If your dog refuses to let you handle their paw, don't worry—the most important thing is that you get them to the vet. Wrap them in a blanket, or set a blanket on your cat seat to catch any blood, and then drive to the vet clinic.
Let a Vet Treat the Issue
Once you arrive at the vet clinic, the vet will probably sedate your dog so that they can get a closer look at the injured nail. Then, they will use some iodine or another sanitizer to clean the wound.
Depending on how much of the nail was ripped off, the vet may cauterize the nail, which basically means they'll apply heat to the nail to seal off the blood vessels and stop the bleeding. They may also just trim the nail into a more favorable shape that won't catch on anything, and then leave it to heal.
Most vets will give dogs a dose of antibiotics to prevent infection, since the nails are quite dirty and can easily become infected after an injury. After treating the claw, your vet will wrap up your dog's paw, and you can take your dog home. You may need to bring them back to the vet for a checkup and a bandage change in a few days.
If your dog tears or breaks a nail, it's important to contact a local veterinary clinic. This isn't the most serious of injuries, but it is painful and can lead to an infection without proper care.