Duke’s Broken Nail

I thought for This ‘N That Thursday, I could bring up something that’s been happening with Duke lately. My apologies that it doesn’t have anything to do with Halloween. Happy Halloween though!

So, Duke broke his nail. He broke the dew claw on his front left paw.

It started on Sunday, when we were at the park playing fetch.

Playing ball! #fetch #dogsofinstagram #daysofdukethedog #bostonterrier #boxer

A post shared by Duke The Dog (@lifewithduke) on

We noticed he started bleeding at the park and realized he had a crack in his nail. We did a quick Google search (new pet parent’s best & worst friend – sometimes you don’t want all that information they give you!) but it seemed like no big deal, we trimmed up what we could on that nail without hurting Duke, cleaned it up and he seemed totally fine.

Until Tuesday afternoon. I came home at lunch and found Duke sitting in a pile of bloody blankets and pillows. (I’m sparing you the pictures from this moment!) Needless to say, I freaked out. While looking for the injury, I discovered his nail was missing! Just his quick (I think that’s what it was) was exposed, which had of course bled a ton. But it had stopped bleeding by the time I got there which was good news.

I called Sam at work (he was not spared the bloody pictures!) and he Googled it to find that most times it heals fine. Luckily, there is a vet about two blocks away from our apartment, so I ran up there and they confirmed what we had learned online – watch for infection but the nail should grow quickly and he’ll likely be fine.

So out of the woods! Until last night when he was playing too rough with his Kong and it started bleeding all over again. Poor boy! It never seems to cause him any pain but we cleaned it up, bandaged it (it was a little MacGyvered, but it worked!) and now I think we’re all set. Hopefully! We’re cleaning it daily and trying not to let him get too rough with the Kong.

The nail is growing back quickly & since it is the dew claw, it doesn’t touch the ground when he walks. But boy, has this been an ordeal! We’ve learned to move nail care to the top of our list! We did’t neglect it before, but it also wasn’t a high priority. We checked his nails often to make sure they weren’t too long & trimmed them when we noticed they were. I think professional, religiously scheduled nail trims are in his future.

I’ve been hesitant to post this out of fear that anyone would think we were bad pet parents because of this! But you all have been so supportive & full of advice, I decided to post it to get your input on your thoughts on nail care. So thank you in advance for being nonjudgmental. πŸ™‚

Q: How do you handle nail care?Β 

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20 thoughts on “Duke’s Broken Nail

  1. Thanks so much for participating in TNT! It is This ‘N That so doesn’t have to be Halloween related, just something fun since it fell on Halloween. I am still toying with having a Turkey Day edition since Thanksgiving will fall on TNT next month. πŸ™‚

    You are not bad pet parents! Nail and pad injuries happen to all dogs especially if they run or play hard. I cannot tell you how many times Thunder has been to the vet with a foot injury. He has had a cracked nail (not a dew claw, his were removed since he is a hunting dog and more likely to injure it). His seemed to take forever to heal. Usually he injures his feet in the winter when nails are more brittle. We keep them trimmed, but he still runs very hard.

    One year he had a pad injury (cut pad). That took a long long time to heal. Hubby took him pheasant hunting when he thought it was healed only to find a trail of blood in the snow. Thunder never complained, but hubby had to put him up so as not to injure it more.

    One season Storm had a puncture in the webbing of her foot. That was a bit painful and had her limping, but no blood. Foot injuries are very common with working dogs.

    Hope Duke’s nail heals quickly and do keep an eye out for infection. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much for the reassurance! I really appreciate it. It’s interesting to learn that the dew claws are so susceptible to injury. Makes me feel a lot better! I’m curious to see how his paws do in the winter – it’ll be his first snowy winter, so this might just be the first in a series of paw issues, but hopefully we can keep him nice & healthy! Thank you for sharing your experiences, it makes me feel so much better to know others have had similar issues!

  2. Dew claws can be tricky. Our dogs walk and run on pavement enough that they naturally wear their nails down. But the dew claws aren’t worn down and can get long. It seems that some dogs dew claws grow fast and some not at all. But dew claws CAN catch on things if they get the least bit lengthy, so it’s probably best to keep them trimmed really short. You’re not a bad pet parent – this is just part of leaving with a dog…especially a playful, active dog…get ready, there will be more πŸ˜‰

    • That makes so much sense, thank you for sharing! We monitor Duke’s nails, but like you mentioned, they always seem to be at a good length because he does so much walking on pavement. But I never realized that the dew claw isn’t getting that benefit of the road, makes so much sense! Thank you for the reassurance, he is quite active & playful so sounds like it’s time to invest in a dog first aid kit!

  3. Nails can be the worst since they bleed so much. You are not bad pet parents, these things happen. We’ve had broken nails….first time I went running to the vet, but we probably didn’t really need to! I try to keep up on trimming their nails too, but it’s just not easy, they grow so fast! I also made Kobi bleed once when trimming his nails! So I felt like a bad pet parent then too, because I hadn’t been careful enough. He ran all over the house bleeding….it didn’t hurt him, but I was freaking out of course. He just knew it was an opportunity to get some treats out of me! That time I didn’t run to the vet, but just called and then the bleeding stopped anyway. I never even realized the whole nail could tear off like that….I’m glad it is growing back and hope it continues to heal now.

    • Thank you for the reassurance, I really appreciate it! πŸ™‚ Glad it seems like my reaction was right on par – with the run to the vet & the freaking out, but just like Kobi, Duke was fine! I’m surprised at how quick it is growing back, should be all healed up by the weekend!

  4. Gizmo is not happy getting his nails done so though I do try and do some in-between grinding lately I’ve been taking him to have them professionally done at a monthly nail clinic run by our favorite pet store…they do it so quickly it amazes me

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this; I had no idea that this was a possibility, but it makes sense. Sydney gets her nails trimmed weekly, because they grow so fast. Rodrigo gets his nails clipped monthly. Even though they are 3-1/2 years old, I still handle their paws a lot to keep them used to it.

    • Of course, hopefully sharing this will mean one less bloody mess for someone else! One of the first pieces of advice we got was to handle Duke’s paws, ears, tails, etc often so he would do better at the groomer and vet, and with small children. Doing so really helped us out last week, he didn’t mind letting us look and it and clean it a bit. We’re hoping to get Duke on a nail clipping schedule soon.

  6. Pingback: What Does My Dog Do When I’m Not Home? | Life with Duke

  7. Pingback: What Does My Dog Do When I’m Not Home? |

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