With a broken nail the keratin cover of the nail may splinter or become lost entirely. Alternatively, the whole nail may be torn off.
Owners usually first discover a broken nail after noticing their dog limping on one leg. The affected nail is often twisted to one side, compared to other claws and feels loose. Handling is painful for the dog and causes him/her to make evasive movements.
Injuries to the nails often occurs when dogs become trapped. For example, when they put their paw in between fence posts or slats. Injuries to the claw can also occur as the result of slipping on wet ground.
Broken nails have to be removed. After removal they will grow back quickly. The area below the keratin cover is soft and sensitive. Therefore the paw itself has to be protected from outside irritation and stimulation. Rocky or uneven ground should be avoided on walks. Bathing the paw in mild disinfecting solution can prevent infection.
Preferably, a veterinarian should remove a broken claw. The reason being, that the procedure may be painful for the animal and cause him/her to snap out due to the pain. Applying a cast to a claw is difficult, and should also be done by a vet. Also, your vet can give you advice on how to properly clip your dog's nails. In the following paragraphs you can find a short overview on how to clip you dog’s nails.