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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17094
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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His Dew claw is hanging/mostly torn off but still attached….

Customer Question

Hello! His Dew claw is hanging/mostly torn off but still attached….
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Sika 1.5 yrs
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Sika?
Customer: no, hes just no his usual peppy self, Im sure it is painfull :(
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 month ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

If the nail is dangling loosely, then it sounds like Sika has caught it and partially torn/avulsed the nail from its nail bed. This tends to make them very sore and often dogs will lick the area constantly (their treatment of choice for anything bothering them). Some dogs can also so reluctance to walk on the foot with the sore nail or lameness when doing so.

In this situation, if a nail is partially torn, then it needs to be fully removed. (otherwise it will continue to be sore and we could see secondary infection). If it is "hanging by a thread" this can sometimes be done quickly while they are conscious. That said, more often we will see remnant nail material left behind at the nail bed, which also needs be removed to allow healing. And since tends to be a sore intervention, we often need to use sedation to do so.

In this situation, it would be ideal to consider having him seen as soon as possible. The vet can remove the left over nail, clean and bandage the remaining tissue, and cover him with dog safe anti-inflammatories (ie Metacam, Rimadyl, Onsior, Previcox, etc.)

If your vet isn't currently open and it is very loose, you could choose to remove this. Bleeding can be stopped with pressure on the area +/- use of styptic powder, cornstarch or flour to help it clot quicker. Otherwise, if it isn't that loose, you can salt water bathe this area to keep infection away (since there will be the nerve and blood vessel rich "quick" exposed under the loose nail), dry it gently, and cover it with a bandage. This will keep him from licking at it further and hold the loose nail stable until he can be seen by his vet.

Finally, I do want to note that you do not want to give in to any temptation to give any human anti-inflammatories (ie Tylenol, paracetamol, ibuprofen). These can be very dangerous to animals and can cause ulceration (and sometimes perforation) of the stomach. It isn't strictly dose dependent, so even one small dose can cause these signs. Dogs and cats just don't metabolize these medications the same way we do, and not only does it cause these problems but they don't even provide great pain relief for them. Even aspirin which we use occasionally in veterinary medicine (for its blood thinning properties and not for its pain relief) is not advisable here. The reason is because the pain relief it gives is poor, a blood thinner isn't ideal with there is an open nail bed, and if you use it then the vet can't use dog safe anti-inflammatories until the aspirin is out of his system.

Overall, it sounds like Sika has avulsed this nail. While it is not an emergency, it will be very uncomfortable for him. Therefore, it would be ideal to have him seen but if your vet isn't open just now, then do try the above to keep it clean and protected from him licking until he can see his vet.

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Should i try to snip or pull the hanging nail off, it seems to be hanging by a thread, then i am confident to clean and bandage it…?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 month ago.

Hi again,

It does depend on what is still attached. If it is nail, it needs to be pulled (and its ideal to have someone hold him as you do). If it is the tissue/skin, then that can be snipped. We just need to get all the nail material off so it doesn't pinch or impede healing. And as long as we don't have active bleeding (which usually if its hanging by a thread, we won't get more with the removal of this last bit), we can go ahead with the cleaning and then bandaging for Sika.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond.

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