A dog’s broken nail may seem small, but it can turn into a big problem. Broken nails are painful and at risk of infection if left unaddressed. When your dog has a broken nail, the vet cost for treatment could be as much as $300.1
If you’re struggling to afford the cost of vet visits for your dog, don’t lose hope. Let’s take a look at ways to recognize and avoid broken nails, as well as how pet insurance could help you pay those expensive vet bills.
Dogs can tear their nails in numerous ways. It could be as simple as snagging their nail on a carpet or on roots if they’re running outside. Dogs can also break a nail by landing on their feet wrong. The list goes on and on. It’s also important to be aware that senior dogs tend to have brittle nails, making them more likely to break.
Broken nails are fairly common. So why are they considered so dangerous?
Dog nails are a bit more complex than human nails. They have a collection of blood vessels in their nails, known as the ‘quick.’ The quick is covered by keratin — the same stuff our nails are made of — to protect those blood vessels. Unlike with a human broken nail, dogs can lose a lot of blood when their nail breaks because it can expose and damage the quick.
Blood loss isn’t the only concern. The quick is attached to your dog’s bone. Once the quick is damaged, your dog can be susceptible to infection in the bone, which can rapidly become dangerous.
Regular grooming is generally the best way to avoid a broken nail. Dog groomers and vets can safely trim your dog’s nails to reduce the likelihood of a break.
If you would rather trim your dog’s nails at home, make sure your clipper stays sharp so it cuts properly. Dull trimmers are more likely to cause a break. You might also want to consider a dog nail grinder.2 These tools file down the nail, making it much easier to avoid cutting the quick.
You may notice your dog limping or elevating one of their paws. This could indicate a broken nail. You’ll know your dog’s quick has been damaged when they start bleeding from the broken nail. Don’t panic. Here are some steps you can take to care for your dog:3
- Restrain your dog — ideally, with help from another person your pooch trusts. A hug can be a good way to keep your dog still and calm at the same time. If they’re prone to biting, a muzzle may be required.
- Control the bleeding by wrapping your dog’s paw in gauze or a towel and applying pressure. If after 5 – 10 minutes the bleeding hasn’t stopped, you may need to use other methods. Cauterizing powder, silver nitrate sticks, or a styptic pencil can all be purchased at a pet store or pharmacy to help stop bleeding. In a pinch, pressing the broken nail into a bar of soap can also stem the flow of blood.
- Bring your dog to your trusted veterinarian. They can safely remove the broken nail, treat the area, and prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. Your vet might also send your dog home with medication to manage pain during recovery.
If your dog has a broken nail, the vet cost for treatment may average around $200 – $300. That includes:1
- Exam: $50 – $80
- Nail trim: $20
- Medication: $20 – $60
- Sedation: $100 (if required)
Prices may vary depending on your dog’s specific case, as well as your chosen clinic. Location can also influence the cost of vet bills. Generally, more populated areas may have higher vet prices. However, our dog insurance policies could reimburse you for as much as 90% of covered expenses.4
Let’s take a look at a real example. A MetLife Pet Insurance customer in the greater Los Angeles area brought their mastiff pup to the vet for a torn nail. The exam and treatment came in at over $750. Fortunately, we were able to reimburse them for around $630 — that’s over 80% of the final bill!5
MetLife Pet is here to help your dog get the care they need, whether it’s for a broken nail or something more severe. Learn how much pet insurance costs or fetch a free quote today to see your personalized rate.