Q. My dog has a split nail, what should I do?
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. Split or torn nails are very common in dogs, and treatment depends on the level of the tear. If the nail is split above the quik (blood supply to the nail) then it can be safely trimmed back and the torn part removed. You can find the quik in a dog's nails by looking for a red or pink line in light colored nails, or a darker groove on the underside of dark colored nails.
If the tear is behind the quik or the nail is bleeding, stopping the bleeding with styptic powder or starches such as corn or rice starch can help. It is then best to bring your dog into your local vet to have the nail safely trimmed back. This may require anesthesia or sedation depending on the size of the tear to make the experience less painful for your dog. Your vet may also recommend antibiotics if the tear is large to prevent infection from taking hold until the nail can heal.
Once the torn part of the nail is removed, the nail should be able to begin growing back as normal. Regular nail trims to keep nails short and in shape can also help to prevent tears and splits in the future.