If you own a pet dog, you’ve probably seen a missing nail or two on your dog’s paw, but do dogs shed their nails, or what happened? Sometimes you may even find a nail lying on your floor at some point. This could be a scary sight for some people who are serious dog lovers. You might be wondering if this is normal and do dogs shed their nails?
Yes, it is normal for dogs to shed their nails. You shouldn’t worry too much about it. However, if you notice your dog losing nails on a regular basis, there could be some underlying issues.
Dogs can lose their nails both naturally and unnaturally. So, it is important to look out for signs so that you can help your dog.
Factors That Cause Dogs to Shed their Nails
There are several factors why a dog might shed their nails. If you see that your dog is missing a nail, it is important to examine it and determine what might have caused it. Here are some of the most common reasons why a dog might shed their nails:
- Overgrown Nails
Overgrown nails are one of the most common reasons why your dog may shed their nails. The nails easily break off once they become excessively long. Running on hard surfaces or getting stuck in clothes can easily cause them to snag or tear off.
It is a condition caused by allergies that result in overgrown nails. Neoplasia affects the cells making the nails grow longer than they should. As a result, the overgrown nails start to shed.
- Lack of Nutrition
It’s no secret that poor nutrition weakens the body. Even the nails become weak without proper nutrition. As a result, the nails of a dog will start to break and even shed. If you have a dog experiencing nail shedding due to a lack of nutrition, experts suggest that you add minerals, proteins, and vitamins to their diet.
- Medical Condition
There are some medical conditions that can also cause nail shedding, for example, brittle nails. This condition can really weaken the nail, causing them to break off very easily.
- Hormonal Imbalance
Certain hormones control the growth of nails in dogs. So, when there is an imbalance or overproduction of those hormones, the nails may start to overgrow. This makes it easy for the nails to break off or shed.
Factors That Cause Unnatural Nail Shedding in Dogs
Naturally, nail shedding occurs in a dog when the nails have grown too long or become too weak. However, there are also other reasons which may cause nail shedding in dogs:
- Nail Injury
Since dogs are very active and playful animals, nail trauma is quite common for them. It is a situation where the nail gets injured or fractured while playing or simply running. This can cause the nail to break off unnaturally.
- Ingrown Nails
When the nails become too long in dogs, they start to bend inwards by curling. This causes the nail to grow inside the paw and eventually shed off the nail. You can avoid this problem by trimming your dog’s nails on time.
- Fungal Infection
Fungal infection is one of the most common causes of unnatural shedding in dogs. When there’s a fungal infection in the nail, the nail becomes weaker and fragile over time. And as such, the infection may cause the nail to break away.
- Bacterial Infection
Since dog usually bites their own nail, it creates the possibility of a bacterial infection. When that happens, the bacteria can affect the nails by making them weak. As a result, nail shedding occurs.
Signs of Unnatural Nail Shedding in Dogs
If there is unnatural nail shedding in dogs, they may act differently and show signs of pain and discomfort. It is important for you to read those signs and give them the treatment they need. Here are some of the signs that you should look out for:
Usually, when there’s an injury, a dog will limp excessively. If you see them limping, make sure to examine their nails to see if there’s some injury to the nails.
- Bleeding from the nails
The unnatural shedding of nails will cause bleeding almost every single time. If you see bleeding from the nail, it’s probably because of injury or infection.
- Excessively licking the paws or nails
Dogs tend to lick injured areas to ease the pain. If you see them licking their nails or paws excessively, there’s probably been an injury to the nail.
Importance of Nail Care in Dogs
If you want to prevent frequent shedding of nails, it is important to know how to take care of a dog. The first thing you should do is provide them with a good nail care routine. This can help prevent both natural and unnatural nail shedding.
Besides avoiding nail shedding, good nail care will also help your dog move around comfortably.
Make sure that the nails never grow beyond the paws. If you see signs of an overgrown nail, always cut it off to the right length. You can also take your dog to a groomer if you don’t think you can do it yourself.
When Should You Trim Your Dog’s Nails?
Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to trim your dog’s nails:
One of the most common tale-tell signs is when your dog starts limping around the house. It’s a sign that the nail is causing discomfort, and they are unable to move freely.
- Nails clicking on the floor
If you hear the nails click on the floor whenever your dog walks, it’s a sign that you should trim them off.
- Nails getting stuck on clothes
If you see that your dog’s nails keep getting stuck on fabric, it’s probably too long or overgrown. Once this happens, you should get them trimmed as soon as possible.
- Curled-Up Nails
It is very common to see an overgrown nail curling or bending downwards. This is a sign that the nails are too long and need to be trimmed. Nail curling can be extremely painful for dogs and will result in nail shedding.
What to Do When Your Dog’s Nail Fall off?
There are several reasons why your dog’s nail might fall off. However, in most cases, you shouldn’t worry about it a lot since it is natural. However, you should take action if nail shedding occurs regularly or if you see excessive bleeding from your dog’s paws. In such a situation, you should try to take them to the vet as soon as possible.
The vet will know everything that’s wrong with your dog and why the nail falls off. Once they examine your pet’s nail, you’ll get to know whether it’s an injury or some type of infection.
You should also consider giving your dog some first aid when you see any kind of injury. Here are some of the steps on how to take care of a dog with a nail injury:
- First, try to restrain the dog so that they don’t run away and cause more injury.
- If the dog does have an injury, try to minimize the bleeding with the help of a bandage or a towel.
- Once the bleeding has stopped, clean the damaged area. If it is too painful for them, consider numbing the area to minimize the main.
- Next, get some antibacterial ointment to prevent any kind of infection.
- Once the injury has been treated, you can provide your dog with some pain medication to deal with the pain.
How Often Do Dogs Nail Fall Off?
There is really no one answer to this question. It is not possible to determine how often dogs’ nails fall off since there are several reasons for it. As already discussed above, the loss of a dog nail is often a result of a dog’s behavior, hygiene, the aggressiveness of the dog, nail care, and many more.
If a dog loves to play around a lot, that particular dog will be more susceptible to nail injuries than other dogs that like to stay idle. The injuries will further lead to the nail falling off. Similarly, if a dog is more aggressive, they are likely to get into fights with other animals, which could also result in nail injury.
Hunting dogs can also experience more nail injuries as compared to your average dog. And as such, their nails will tend to fall off more.
Hygiene and nail care also matter a lot. Good hygiene will result in better nail health and lesser infections. And as such, your dog will rarely ever have its nail fall off. Trimming the nails also reduces the risk of injuries.
So, with all these things considered, it is impossible to say exactly how often dog nails will fall off. It completely depends from one dog to another.
Conclusion on Do Dogs Shed Their Nails
Nail shedding can be extremely painful for dogs depending on the cause. If you don’t want your dogs to go through all the pain, it’s important that you start taking care of their nails. It’s never too late to start, and it will also make walks and playtime for your dog much more fun and enjoyable.
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