My dog's toenails keep 'sharding' off in pieces!
Hello! I am hoping someone can help, but also hope I can help someone else by sharing this recent experience! I have an extremely healthy 12 year old black lab mix (he's my son, my buddy, my baby!), and recently I have found that his front paws' toenails have sort-of 'shards' that have peeled off, making them vulnerable! I'm a personal trainer, so we are very active, and he always accompanies me on walks, hikes, and runs. One day, after a mellow hike, he was limping and very gingerly with how he was walking. Of course, I rested him, thinking it was a joint issue or something. (He's been getting fish oil caps for a long time to safegaurd any issues like that though.) Anyway, the limping (which breaks my heart) was sort of on and off, but mainly on...and I was so worried! Well, it came time to trim his nails (which he loves actually...you've never seen a dog sink into such a relaxed state while I do his paws!! So precious!), and he was especially sensitive to one nail in particular. Well voila, there was the reason for the limping!! Even though I had inspected his paws for any sign of injury, I did not think to look at his nails! The middle one was very sharded (don't know what other term to use), and it had caused his toe to because red and inflamed!!! (Again, heartbreak!) I have a wonderful vet who immediately prescribed antibiotics to heal the infection (which was obviously from the partially exposed quick), and I began soaking his paw in warm water and epsom salt twice a day for 15 minutes ea time. Thank goodness the healing began immediately and the limping stopped!!! :D After (and during) the antibiotics I also gave him probiotics to replenish his system (of course, 2 hours after or one hour before the antibiotic), so all was great! Well, that was Christmas time when all this happened, and last week he began limping due to the OTHER paw! I noticed that the other paw has some sharding nails too, especially the middle toe, which is the same one that was causing the issues on the other paw!!! Oh man!! My vet said to do the Epsom salt soaks again, and I had already begun that. (It was infected this time, just causing pain.) The soaks stopped the limping, but I am wondering what in the world could cause this sharding!! Anyone?? Last night I trimmed his nails again, and afterward I put some aquaphor on them...maybe they are just extra dry for some reason??? Also, I usually file his nails when I trim them because it just seems right to have them smooth...but maybe THAT is causing it?? Sheesh, I just want him to feel great and never have any issues!! He gets top of the line food, fish oil supplements (the same ones I take personally), and NO junk food! I've always prompted him to drink lots of water (because I do, and try to get my clients to do the same..SO IMPORTANT!), and he DOES! :) Does anyone have any solutions to dry, cracking nails on healthy dogs? Am I on the right track with the Aquaphor? Thanks for any input!