What to do if Your Dog Stepped on a Nail

dog paw wrapped

If your dog stepped on a nail, the first thing you should do is call the vet. The vet will give you first aid advice and help you bandage the wound if they think bandaging is necessary. Do not clean the wound yourself (unless recommended by the vet), as this could cause an infection.  

Ouch! Your dog somehow stepped on a nail you hadn’t noticed. Chances are you’re currently in panic mode, frantically researching what to do or who to call. If you’ve landed here, we are here to walk you through what to do now and throughout the healing process. 

Is The Local Vet Open?

Any time your dog punctures their skin, there is always a chance of infection, so it’s important to get it checked out by a trained professional as soon as possible!

Begin by calling your local vet. If it’s after hours, you might be able to reach your vet on an emergency line.

If you get in touch with your vet – great! Do exactly as they tell you. If you aren’t able to get in touch with your vet, search for local emergency vets. These veterinary offices are used for emergency cases, so you’ve probably never been to one before. 

Most emergency veterinary offices operate as 24-hour clinics, so your odds of getting in touch with a medical professional after hours are significantly increased. 

If you visit an emergency vet, it’s still a good idea to let your dog’s primary vet know what’s happening. They will provide advice on the healing process and be able to check up on the wound a few days after the injury.

How to Help Ease The Pain

If you have a history of treating your dog with over-the-counter pain medication, then feel free to provide them with the same type of medication. However, it’s important you don’t increase the dose. Provide your dog with the exact same dose you’ve given them in the past. 

If you are uncertain what medicine to give your dog or how much, it’s better to play it safe and wait for the vet’s advice. 

What OTC PainKillers Are Safe For Dogs?

Most of what you will find in the house is not safe for dogs. Aspirin is the recommended pain killer for dogs, but only in small doses. 

It’s been found that continued use can lead to a few serious health conditions for dogs. However, in a scenario like this, some Aspirin would be perfect. 

On the other hand, Ibuprofen, which is found in Advil, is toxic to dogs and can lead to lasting damage to their kidneys and intestines. 

Your vet might prescribe Tylenol, but it depends on your dog’s health and any preexisting conditions. 

Why Was The Nail There?

While you’re at the vet, it would be a good idea to have your significant other or family member look at the area where the nail was found. Are there any additional nails in the area? Where did it come from? This will give you some peace of mind when your pup is back at home.

What to Do After Leaving The Vet

When you leave the vet, it’s important to follow the doctors orders. If the paw requires bandages, this might require buying fresh supplies to change out every few hours. 

You may also need to pick up prescribed medication or healing ointment. If they gave your dog stitches, make sure your dog doesn’t bite at them. 

Getting Your Dog to Take it Easy

It’s important to make sure your dog takes it easy for a few days. As all dog owners know, that’s much easier said than done!

Some dogs enjoy the “lazy lifestyle”, so taking it easy won’t be an issue. However, if your dog is energetic and playful, getting them to lay low is going to be a difficult task. 

If the pain meds work, your dog shouldn’t be in much pain, which means they might forget they shouldn’t apply pressure to the wound. Although it’s a great thing they are without pain, pain can also remind them to keep pressure off their paw. 

It’s best to keep your dog in an enclosed space so they don’t have much room to run around. This might mean crating them for more time than usual or enclosing an area of your house with a baby gate. 

Make sure that wherever you intend to keep them, it’s comfortable! There should be blankets and pillows and an optimal sleeping space. 

The next step to keep your dog on bed rest is to make sure everyone in the household limits excitement and noise. 

If you have a visitor over, your dog might get excited. For a few days, it’s best to avoid inviting guests over. 

It’s also important to keep your dog close to you. If the area you set up for them is close to you, they will feel more comfortable taking it easy. 

Finally, keep their schedule as close to the same as possible. This means the same meal times and the same amount of food. Swaying too much from their routine might cause stress, and stress can lead to excess energy. 

What Does The Recovery Timeline Look Like?

A flesh wound on dogs takes about ten days to heal. If your dog had to get stitches, the vet will probably take the stitches out around the 10-14 day mark. If your dog keeps putting pressure on the wound, it may take 14-21 to fully heal.

Ensuring a Proper Recovery

Mistakes happen. The best thing you can do for your pup is to remain vigilant and notice anything wrong as soon as possible. 

Any wound that your dog may experience will be lessened if you can seek medical treatment immediately. 

It’s critical to always listen to your vet’s recommendations. It’s so easy to think that your dog is getting better remarkably quickly, but if you allow them to exert energy or push themselves before the vet gives the green light, it could set them back in their progress and cause long-term damage. 

Will My Dog Fully Recover? 

Yes! No one ever wants their furry friend to experience pain like stepping on a nail, but it’s not a life threatening injury. Just act quickly and treat the wound properly, as outlined above.

All wounds can develop into an infection. Infections can be dangerous for dogs if left untreated. 

This typically happens when a wound is not properly cleaned, which is not always easy to do when your dog is in pain. 

This is yet another reason to bring them to a trained professional who has the experience and tools to efficiently clean the wound.

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