Dogs are on their feet a lot during the day. They're also in a lot of different locations. They may be playing outside in the dirt, digging through trashcans, or romping on the carpet. All those locations have the potential of causing an injury to your dog's toe nails – such as getting caught in the carpet fibers, or being ripped out while digging a hole. If your dog has an injured toenail, you'll have to act fast to get it cleaned out. An injured toenail can be exposed to harmful germs, which can lead to infection. Here are three steps you should take if your pet has an injured toenail.
Soak the Paw
Regardless of how your pet injured its toenail, you'll need to stop the infection before it begins. The best way to do that is to soak it in Epsom salts. Fill a bucket with lukewarm water and add about a cup of Epsom salts. Place your dog's paw in the solution and soak it for about 10-15 minutes. Once it's done soaking, rinse the affected paw in fresh water to remove the Epsom salt solution. Repeat the application at least twice a day until the wound heals.
Keep the Wound Clean
If the wound begins to ooze, you'll need to cleanse the toenail and paw to remove any crust that might form. Get the affected paw wet and apply a small amount of antibacterial soap. Gently wash the foot with a soft brush and then rinse well. Repeat this at least once a day to keep the wound clean. If you'd like, you can wash the wound while your pet is soaking in the Epsom salts. This is particularly helpful if your dog tries to avoid the water.
Cover the Paw
It's impossible to ask your dog to stay off its paws while it recovers. That's why it's important that you cover the wound until it's had time to heal. Apply antibiotic ointment to the wound and then place a gauze bandage over it. Once the bandage is in place, put a cotton sock over the affected paw. The sock will protect the foot and prevent further damage.
If your pet has injured its toenail, use the simple steps provided above to alleviate discomfort and prevent infection. If you notice a foul-smelling discharge, or your dog experiences an increase in pain, be sure to consult with a veterinarian at a clinic like Covington Veterinary Hospital PC as soon as possible.