Cat & Dog Ingrown Nail Removal and Treatment

When envisaging ingrown nails, pets are rarely at the forefront of people’s minds. However, both cats and dogs can develop ingrown nails relatively easily, and it’s essential you learn how to treat them to avoid expensive surgery cost. And with many families regarding pets as equally important members who are loved dearly, the thought of them being in pain with ingrowing claws is very distressing.

So if you suspect your beloved canine or feline may be struggling with a sharp ingrown claw, this article explains all urgent points regarding effective removal and treatment.

Is a Dog Ingrown Nail the Same as Cats?

Due to the overt similarities between dog and cat paws, a dog ingrown nail pursues the same basic principles as cats. Whilst they may surface differently dependent on size or breed, the general process of how ingrown claws occur is the same. In humans, ingrown fingernails or toenails occur when the nail edges wrongly grow to pierce the surrounding skin – almost exactly the same incidence arises in pets.

If your pet’s nails remain untrimmed and unkempt, they may curl backwards and penetrate the flesh it comes into contact with. If you perceive this has happened to your pet, it’s important not to feel guilty or ashamed. Provided you’re trying your utmost best to take perfect care of them, sometimes ingrown nails are unavoidable – especially if your pet is pretty old. But adhering to regular trimming is almost essential to give your pets the best chance of avoiding such ailments, so keep reading to discover more.

Dog & Cat Ingrown Nail Trimming

As mentioned, proper trim techniques are a crucial part of maintaining the health of your pets paws and claws. Using specialist nail clippers carefully designed for a dog or cat ingrown nail is likely to make the entire process easier, and it’s recommended to trim your pets nails every 1-2 months if possible. The more your pet gets used to the trimming action, the less they’re likely to fight against it. But if you consistently find your animal is routinely difficult to restrain and simply won’t cooperate, you can visit your local vets for professional help.

It’s also noteworthy to realize that many outdoor pets won’t require their nails to be trimmed so often. If your pet spends the majority of their time bounding and playing outside, their nails consistently coming into contact with hard gravelly surfaces will act as a natural trimmer. But if your pet is a notorious homebody and rarely ventures outside their front door, regular trimming is key to help avert the risk of painful ingrown nails.

Symptoms of Pet Ingrown Nails

As with human ingrowing nails, your pet is likely to experience targeted pain in the affected area. There may also be noticeable swelling too. However, the actual ingrown proportion of the nail may be entirely concealed by surrounding flesh, so unless an experienced veterinary practitioner you may struggle to confirm its presence. Other signals you can watch for are your pet’s behaviour, as if they’re regularly licking their paw or even limping it’s likely they’re experiencing some degree of discomfort. For confirmed diagnosis if you’re unsure, seek veterinary care and advice.

Cat & Dog Ingrown Nail Treatment

If your pet has been exposed to regular trimming sessions at home, you may be able to solve their ingrown nail without needing professional input. But if the nail appears particularly severe and you’re feeling unsure of your ability to fix it, don’t take the risk. Consult your vet where they’ll likely complete a minor operation with your pet under sedation to eliminate pain.

But if 100% confident your pet will be comfortable with you administering the removal process solo, there’s particular techniques you should use. Firstly, restraining your pet is essential as you’ll be handling sharp scissors or clippers and if they’re not completely still a serious accident could happen. If necessary, have another person to help keep your animal restrained during the procedure.

Identify the affected nail, and cut the claw as close as you possibly can to the pierced site – leaving your animal with a decent remaining amount of claw is crucial. Bleeding may be present, so have some wipes or tissues to hand to swiftly clean up mess.

Once you’ve achieved a full cut, you must then remove the portion of nail stuck within your cat or dog’s paw pad. You could try with your fingers if the claw is notably large, but it’s recommended to use sturdy tweezers for a clean pull. Once completely removed, apply topical antiseptic to reduce risk of infection.

After Care for Dog & Cat Ingrown Nail Removal

Whether done at home or by a vet, administering correct aftercare post dog & cat ingrown nail removal is key to avoid infection and maintain optimum paw health. Having a neck collar installed will prevent your pet licking their treated paw, and provide regular Epsom salt soaks if possible. However, due to the frivolous, playful nature of pets it may be tricky to expect them to remain seated with their paw immersed in water for longer than a mere couple of minutes! But provided your pet’s paw doesn’t display signs of infection and they’re not demonstrating regular distressed behaviors, they should make a full recovery.



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