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Thread: My dog's toenails keep 'sharding' off in pieces!

  1. #1

    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'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!!! 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!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    You say you are very active with him, and your username is "snowfitness" - is the air very dry and cold outside now? And is the air in the house very dry? Has his diet changed at all recently?
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Delaware, USA - The First State/Diamond State - home of The Blue Hens
    Have you ever noticed him biting his toenails? My Pom sometimes does this, and she has the same problem - sharding as you describe it. It's like they peel off in layers, and hers get very sharp too - like cat's claws. She hates having her nails cut, but that's the only way to remedy the situation and keep her from biting her toenails, so I have to take her to the vet or groomer to have them cut, since I personally can't do it without coming up on the short end of the stick.
    If your dog isn't biting his nails and causing this problem, then I don't have a clue. I hope you can find an answer.
    Wolfy ~ Fuzzbutt #3
    My little dog ~ a heartbeat at my feet

    Sparky the Fuzzbutt - PT's DOTD 8/3/2010
    RIP 2/28/1999~10/9/2012
    Myndi the Fuzzbutt - Mom's DOTD - Everyday
    RIP 1/24/1996~8/9/2013
    Ellie - Mom to the Fuzzbuttz

    To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
    Ecclesiastes 3:1
    The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power
    To know just when the hands will stop - on what day, or what hour.
    Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will -
    Don't wait until tomorrow - the hands may then be still.
    ~~~~true author unknown~~~~

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    St. Louis, Missouri
    I tend to see this a lot in older dogs, actually. Not quite sure the cause, but sometimes they do "peel" back to the quick and may bleed a little. Only thing I can think is just ask your vet. None of my vets ever really seem concerned about it. There are a few disease processes that affect the nail bed but you would be seeing more issues than just shredding nails.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    West Lake Village, CA
    The nail shredding thing is nothing but is an indicator of the dogs aging process. As the dog grow older there nails are bound to become long and brittle and as a result they tend to walk slow and avoid running. We had an expert assistance from a online vendor named Compoundia pharmacy, which provided a good assistance on such issues. So you may Google them and do share your experiences on that.

    Have A Great Day!!


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