Torn Nails

Have they torn a nail?

Torn or broken nails
  • Are common
  • Can be painful
  • Can get infected if left untreated
What you may see
  • Limping
  • Blood on paw
  • Licking paw
  • Nail is at an angle

Step 1

Ideally get someone to help you safely hold your pet - click here for help with this. Remember torn nails can be painful so take care not to get bitten.

  1. If you can't safely touch the area or if you are worried your pet is in pain or the nail is infected, go straight to your vets
  2. If the torn nail is loose enough remove it at the level of the break by pulling it free or using the nail clippers (avoid cutting the nail bed if using these).
  3. If the break is high up near the base of the nail, is too well attached or painful to remove, go straight to your vets.
Removing torn nail

Step 2

  1. Use the styptic stick to stop bleeding by gently pressing this against the bleeding nail.
  2. If bleeding won’t stop apply pressure with gauze swabs.
  3. If it still won’t stop apply a bandage and go straight to your vets.

Step 3

  1. Clean area around the nail with the iodine prep pad in your kit.

Step 4

  1. Place a paw bandage (follow this link to learn how to apply paw bandage) and leave it in place for 12 to 24 hours.
  2. Watch that your pet doesn't try to chew the bandage off. If they start messing with it you will need to buy an Elizabethan Collar/Buster Collar from your local vets or pet store.
Cat with buster collar to prevent licking wound

Step 5

  1. Remove the bandage daily and monitor the site for signs of infection, irritation or pain.
  2. If in doubt, get it checked by your vet.


  1. Check nails regularly to see if they need trimming (click one of these links for advice on trimming dogs nails or trimming cats nails).
  2. If in doubt, get it checked by your vet.