Can Dogs’ Nails Get Infected?


Have you noticed your dog’s nails looking and smelling abnormally nasty? Is your dog licking at their feet in an effort to relieve itchiness or pain? Are they having difficulty getting around due to pain in their paws? If you answered yes to the above questions, your pet may be suffering from a nail infection. There are several potential causes of nail infections, and they can be a source of much discomfort for your pet. However, with help from your vet and a dedicated approach to home care, your dog can overcome these nail infections and get back to full health as soon as possible.

Signs and Symptoms of Dog Nail Infections:

It’s essential to recognize the body language and behavioral warning signs that could indicate the presence of a nail infection. The first sign many owners notice is their pet paying undue attention to their paws, typically licking at the affected nail(s) in an effort to relieve pain or itchiness. On closer inspection, you may notice that your pet’s nails look different than normal – discolored, emitting an unpleasant odor, and surrounded by red and swollen tissue. Depending on the infection, the nails may appear relatively normal, but your dog may still exhibit symptoms such as difficulty moving, swelling, and redness.

Body Language:

Watch your pet’s body language closely for signs such as weakness, whimpering, raised paw, and excessive licking. Other signs may include licking paws, lameness, difficulty walking or reluctance to exercise, pain in the feet, redness and inflammation surrounding the nails, nail plate deformity, and abnormally colored nails.

The Science of Nail Infections in Dogs:

Healthy dog nails can become infected due to various causes. Some infections are a result of trauma, while others are fungal infections contracted from the environment. Additionally, an overgrowth of yeast cells or exposure to bacteria can also lead to nail infections. Certain dog breeds are predisposed to nail problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Dog Nail Infections:

If you suspect a nail infection, take your pet to the vet for a full check-up. Infections can spread quickly and potentially lead to serious health problems. Diagnosing nail infections involves examining a nail clipping under a microscope and taking a skin scraping. Treatment varies based on the infection and its severity, with options including oral antibiotics, foot soaks, topical ointments, and surgical removal of the nail plate. Fungal infections may require long-term treatment with topical creams or sprays, and oral medications in severe cases. Act quickly when you notice signs of infection and consult your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

“Take notice of your dog’s body language – they may be trying to tell you they have a nail infection.”

Tips & Things to Know

1️⃣ Pay attention to your dog’s behavior and body language: Dogs are good at hiding pain, so it’s important to watch for signs such as licking paws, lameness, difficulty walking, and redness and inflammation around the nails. Recognizing these signs can help you identify if your dog is suffering from a nail infection.

2️⃣ Know what’s normal for your dog: Every dog is different, so it’s important to be familiar with what is normal for your dog’s nails. This way, you can easily spot any changes or abnormalities that could indicate an infection. Discolored nails, an unpleasant odor, and swollen tissue around the nails are common signs of a nail infection.

3️⃣ Seek veterinary care promptly: If you suspect that your dog has a nail infection, it’s important to take them to the vet for a thorough examination. Nail infections can spread quickly and lead to more serious health problems if left untreated. Your vet will be able to diagnose the infection and recommend the appropriate treatment, which may include oral antibiotics, topical ointments, or anti-fungal medications. Acting quickly can help ensure a speedy recovery for your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions, Answered ✅

1. What are some signs that my dog may have a nail infection?
– Signs may include licking or biting at the affected nail, discolored nails, unpleasant odor, redness and swelling around the nails.

2. What are some body language signs that my dog may be in pain or discomfort?
– Signs may include weakness, whimpering, raised paw, and licking.

3. What are some possible causes of nail infections in dogs?
– Causes can include trauma to the nail, fungal infections from contact with fungi in the environment, overgrowth of yeast cells, and bacterial infections.

4. How can I diagnose a nail infection in my dog?
– Your vet can perform a full check-up and may take a small clipping for examination under a microscope. A skin scraping may also be taken.

5. What are the treatment options for dog nail infections?
– Treatment varies based on the nature and severity of the infection. It can involve oral antibiotics, antimicrobial foot soaks, topical ointments, or surgical removal of the nail plate. Fungal infections may require long-term treatment with topical or oral anti-fungal medications.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our team.

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