Will my dog's torn nail grow back?

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Will my dog's torn nail grow back? Our experts explain how to treat your dog's broken or torn nail...

(Q) My Whippet pulled his nail out while out walking. It's on his back foot and not one of his weight-bearing toes. It has finally healed and dried itself up, but it looks manky, dark, and shrivelled. Is this because he kept catching it, or is this normal for an exposed quick? Will his nail grow back and how long will it take?

(A) Vet Roberta Baxter says: The problem with broken and torn nails is that by exposing the quick they allow a route for infection into the bones of the toe. In rare cases, the toe can become so infected that an amputation is the end result. It is important, therefore, to take these cases seriously and seek veterinary attention.

It sounds as though you are left with an exposed quick which can appear dry, brown, and shrivelled as it heals, until the new nail has grown down over it.

At this stage, it is still relatively fragile and can be easily damaged or infected, so keep a close eye on things. If it seems scabby or oozy, then veterinary attention would be advisable, as an infection could be present and antibiotics might be needed. Usually, it only takes two to three weeks for the nail to grow down. In most cases, they do grow down normally, although occasionally they can be a little distorted.

(A) Holly Mash says: It's always a good idea to take your dog to the vet to have the nail bed checked, as sometimes they can become infected. In the meantime, keep it clean and bandaged or covered when you are outside. Bathing it in some diluted hypercal (calendula and hypericum tincture) may be helpful too.