What Causes Toenail Breakage in Dogs?

Paw maintenance is imperative for dogs and cats alike.
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Watching your pooch feel uncomfortable is always tough to do, whether he's suffering through a bout of nausea or toenail breakage. If your poor dog broke one -- or more -- of his toenails, it could be the result of anything from a simple accident to infection. Always notify your vet if your dog experiences these types of nail woes.

Lack of Toenail Clipping

Infrequent nail trimming can sometimes lead to broken toenails in canines. Overly long nails are no joke. They can drag onto the ground or over objects, get caught into things and instantly break or rip off. Voila, a major case of "ouch" for your dog. Prevent your dog's excessively long nails from breaking by always keeping them clipped and tidy. If you don't know how to do this properly, your vet can demonstrate for you. You can also have the vet or groomer do it if that makes you feel more comfortable, especially in the beginning. Many dogs act uneasy when people touch their feet, so it often takes time for them to adjust to the whole concept.

Toenail Trimming Gone Too Far

On the other hand, trimming dogs' toenails down too far can also be an issue. This too can bring upon broken toenails -- and lots and lots of bleeding. You want to avoid reaching the delicate quick of the nail during trimming, after all. Dogs' quicks are in many cases easy to see. They describe the nails' "live" segments and usually show up pinkish or grayish, so take note. While your vet trims your dog's toenails, she can show you how to watch out for the quick.

Foot Wound

Dogs also can often experience toenail breakage due to wounds. If your pet hurts his foot, the searing ache of a broken toenail could also accompany that -- a byproduct of the situation. When your pet goes to the veterinarian for the wound, address the broken nail concerns, too. Ignoring broken nails is dangerous and could lead to unpleasant and potentially hazardous infection.


Although broken tails can occasionally trigger infection in dogs, infections can also occasionally come first. If your dog's nails seem especially weak and shatter on a regular basis, it could signify inflammation. Infection sometimes makes dogs susceptible to toenail issues, simply because the toenails are not as strong as they normally are. Take your dog to the veterinarian immediately to figure out what might be causing the fragile nails and inordinate breakage, whether a bacterial infection or anything else.