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Do Dogs Toenails Grow Back? Care + Recovery

Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon.
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Injuries to a dog’s nails are more common than you might think. When the toenails grow too long, they might get stuck in a hole or break during a game of chase.

While this might cause fractures, serious injuries can lead to a torn nail that has been ripped out by the root.

Do dog toenails grow back?

Fortunately, dog toenails usually regrow within 8 weeks but in severe instances, the toenail might need to be removed by a vet which costs up to $300. To make sure your dog quickly recovers, you should regularly change bandages and give meds as prescribed.

You’ll also learn more about dog toenail removal and how to properly care for your pooch after nail removal. There are a few things to look out for!

Symptoms of a Broken Nail

If your dog’s nail is seriously injured, the first sign will be a trail of blood leading your dog’s way. You might find splinters or even the whole nail laying on the ground.

Your dog will start licking the spot excessively or bite at the injury.

The broken nerves will cause the dog severe pain leading to limping and lameness of the injured paw. The toe might swell and become warm in the process.

Examine the paw and see if there might be another reason for the bleeding like a foreign object that got stuck between the toes.

A broken nail will require medical attention because of the risk of infection.

Dog Toenail Broken at Base

This is the worst-case scenario that could happen after an accident. The nail might be dangly and barely attached to the root or might even fall off completely.

The first thing you will need to do is stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth.

You will need to apply a styptic powder which you should definitely add to your doggy first aid kit.

The powder quickly seals the wound but you can also use flour or cornstarch as an alternative.

Properly clean the wound and take your pet to a veterinarian for further examination.

Dog Broken Nail Vet Cost

Your veterinarian will remove any small pieces and completely sanitize the wound.

Sedation will be needed if a part of the nail needs to be torn out or cut by the quick (more on that below).

The cost will depend on what type of treatment your vet will recommend.

Nail injuries will usually cost about $300 including sedation and medication. Antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent infection and bandages will be applied.

At home, you will need to regularly change the bandages and your dog will probably need to wear a cone.

Dog Toenail Removal Cost

A canine toenail removal will need to be performed by a veterinarian surgeon with a local anesthetic injection.

Your vet will advise if a partial or a complete nail removal will need to be done.

Depending on where the surgery is performed, the cost can range from $200-$500.

Dog Toenail Removal Recovery

Your dog won’t feel any pain for hours after the surgery. Make sure that he is resting well and goes easy for the first two days.

Restrict movement even if he’s feeling better until the healing is complete. Give your dog his medications as prescribed and take him to follow-up treatments.

Ask your vet how you should take care of your dog’s wound and bandage in between the appointments.

Monitor your dog’s paw for any redness or swelling that could indicate an infection.

Depending on your dog’s age, breed, and well-being, the recovery may take a few days or a few weeks.

Broken Nail Regrowth

The regrowth time depends on various factors like your dog’s breed, age, and well-being.

It also depends on how you care for the wound and if you keep your dog from hurting himself.

It may take up to 8 weeks for a young and healthy dog to regrow a broken toenail.

If the nail bed and the surrounding tissue have been severely damaged in the accident, a second nail might never grow at all.

Monitor your dog’s nail in the regrowth phase and see how the replacement nail is growing. Call your vet if the nail grows at a weird angle or has an irregular shape.

How to Prevent a Broken Nail

Broken nails mostly occur in working dogs that are trained in agility or need to hike in a certain terrain on a daily basis.

The number one thing you can do is to keep the nails short.

To protect your dog’s nails from breaking, it’s possible to buy doggy boots.

Think about any occasion that would require your dog to step on uncomfortable surfaces.

Even if you are just planning a holiday and the nearby ocean is full of sharp stones. The boots also help to prevent sunburnt paws and protect sensitive skin.

A long nail is more prone to breaking than a short nail.

Dog nails should be cut regularly to prevent them from getting stuck while running. You can take your dog to the groomer if you do not want to cut his nails yourself.

How to Trim Dog Nails

I cut my dog’s nails myself and it’s not as hard as it sounds. Before you even start with the cutting, you will need to introduce the nail clipper in a positive manner.

For my dog, I use a traditional nail clipper and I will also explain the cutting process.

If you are too scared or find it inconvenient to cut the nails then you can also go for something like the Casfuy Dog Nail Grinder.

When introducing the nail trimmer to your dog, simply lay it on the ground and let your dog sniff it. Use high-value treats to create a positive association with the clipper.

The right introduction is extremely important as it will shape your dog’s future interaction with the trimmer (just like with introducing the leash or harness).

Dogs that are scared of nail clipping will growl or even snatch at you when you come around the corner with this hellish tool.

You will want to make the experience as stress-free and positive as possible.

Trimming dog nails in 3 easy steps:

  • Let your dog sit or lay on the ground.
  • Hold the paw gently but steadily at an angle that is comfortable for you and the dog.
  • Only cut off small amounts at a time at a 45° angle. Watch out for the quick (blood vessel).
  • The beginning of the quick looks like a small black dot. If you see it, stop immediately otherwise you will cause bleeding.
  • If it does happen, use the styptic powder I have mentioned above to stop it.
Graphic explaining how to trim dog nails

Watch the video below for clear instructions. They not only use a clipper but also a grinder like the one I have mentioned above.


A broken or torn nail is extremely painful for your dog and can be prevented with regular trimming and boot protection.

If your dog hurts one of his nails, clean the wound and stop the bleeding.

Bring your dog to a nearby vet for an examination. Surgery needs to be done if small pieces of the nail are stuck in the paw.

If only a portion of the nail broke off, it will be cut down a bit and treated with bandages and medication.

You will need to let your dog rest at home and discourage him from licking or biting the paw.

Bandages will need to be changed daily and the dog will need to be taken to follow-up appointments.

Depending on the severity of the injury, the nail might grow back in a couple of weeks or will never be replaced.

Recommended Reading:

Check this article if you’re interested in how to trim dog whiskers.

Let me know in the comments if your dog ever had an injured or even torn nail and what experiences you have with nail trimming.

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Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

Equipped with 5+ years of expertise as a Rottweiler owner, I partner with licensed veterinarians and trainers to share research-backed and actionable advice for you and your furry friend.


Friday 9th of February 2024

My girl (spoodle) had one of her left rear (paw) nail removed a week ago after splitting it at daycare. She’s handling it really well and the vet told me to remove the bandages after 3 days. I’m finding that it’s still bleeding (a little) when she bumps it or gets too excited. So I’ve gone back to bandaging it. Looking forward for the nail to grow back and she can go back to her normal activities…walks, daycare, swimming etc.


Thursday 13th of October 2022

Holy hell man look my dog has ripped his toe nail off I mean its a mesed up toe idk how he don't it but he's a blue heeler and German Shepard mix one tuff sob I'll say that cause he ain't said a word until I got o really looking at his paw and damn so imma take him to the vet as soon as I can but truthfully were broke and I unfortunately don't have the money to take him at this horrorible time and we got a good vet but she's only here certain days of the week but thanks for the advice I'll write back as soon as I can keep ya updated


Saturday 15th of October 2022

Hi Brion, please do visit your vet and don't wait until your regular vet comes back if it's an emergency. I know it can be hard financially but we have a responsibility to take care of our pets, any way we can. Many vets offer payment plans, just talk to them.

Dogs are really good at hiding pain and you should not delay the vet visit if you think it's serious. If the wound gets infected or whatnot, it might end up costing thousands.


Saturday 5th of February 2022


My Labrador retriever had his nail removed (cauterize) due to an injury a month ago. The vet had prescribed him pain killer and clavamox for a month. The med to prevent infection is now over but I still find the nail area where they removed half of the nail to start bleeding every week or so due to icy/snowy conditions.

To help my dog with his walk and prevent further infection, I've generally been putting on shoes and putting tissue inside to help cushion / slightly cover the open area.

Just curious how long does it take back for skin to cover the wound? I noticed the fur that was trimmed has grown back fully but the area where nail was removed still seems open.

Any comments would be appreciated.


Saturday 5th of February 2022

Hi Neil, it's probably best to call your vet and ask when it's good to go, might require a visit though if it's not healing properly. If you have ice/snow currently (especially if there's salt), shoes are still a good idea (they can irritate your dog's paws too though). Properly clean and maybe use some soothing dog balm/coconut oil if your vet gives the okay.


Friday 30th of October 2020

My dog had to be seen by an emergency vet this evening. The vet said the nail had to be removed at the base. The vet suggested his regular vet change the bandages every 2-3 days and have them keep an eye on it. It's his front paw and he wears a cone. He refuses to walk on the paw and refuses to walk with a cone around his neck. How do I get him to go potty? He's never been pee mat trained. The vet doesn't want him getting the bandages wet but we live in Oregon and it just happened to start raining today (of all days). My dog will not wear boots. He freezes up, just as he does all bandaged up. He sits and looks up at me with sad eyes and refuses to move. I'm at my wit's end. I don't know what to do.


Friday 30th of October 2020

Hey Cassandra,

quite unfortunate that it started raining just now. Maybe you have some space where it's covered and the ground is dry? Could be enough for little potty breaks outside. However, getting your dog to pee on a mat is still possible since they contain smells that attract them (some dogs have problems with peeing inside at all, my Rottie probably wouldn't do it). If you have a pee command, you can use it now, even though your dog never peed on a mat, that command will always work as your dog at least knows that it's okay to do his business there now.

If you can't quickly get such a mat and/or don't have a command, then going outside with boots is your last option. Introduce them to your dog with patience. Only other solution is changing the bandage afterward yourself (as soon as it's dry again, you should be fine without changing bandages). Didn't your vet say anything about this issue?

You could also DIY wrap some kind of (plastic) bag around his paw and fixate with rubber bands or whatnot.

Hope you'll work it out, Danielle


Saturday 10th of October 2020

Thanks for the information. My dog's toe was removed and it still ooz after 12 days. I am very concerned about it. She liked it and the paw is sore. The toe is red of the liking. I put the cone back and she is very cross. She growl for me.


Tuesday 13th of October 2020

Hi Marita,

if your dog doesn't like wearing the cone, you could try another option. It's very important to desensitize a dog to anything new first before putting it on. If she already has an aversion for the cone, one of the alternatives in this blog post could help: 5 Best Dog Cones After Surgery in 2020. Make sure to create a positive association with the cone by using treats or toys and make it an overall fun experience. If the wound doesn't heal, I would highly recommend a second vet trip.

Hope this helped, Danielle