What Causes Brittle Dog Nails and How To Prevent Them.


Dogs boast robust and rigid nails, playing a crucial role in various activities such as running, digging, and providing stability. Although canine nails share a keratin composition with human nails, they are not immune to becoming brittle and flaky for a range of reasons. Ensuring the well-being of your dog's nails is pivotal for their daily functions.

Overlooking their care can lead to brittleness, rendering them susceptible to breaks and splits, ultimately compromising functionality and causing discomfort. Recognizing frequent splitting or cracking in your dog's nails is imperative for identifying the root cause and taking corrective action. This article delves into common factors contributing to brittle dog nails and outlines preventive steps to maintain optimal conditions.


Factors Contributing to Brittle Dog Nails:

External Damage:

Engaging in rough play or running on uneven surfaces can result in broken nails. External damage often targets individual nails, heightening their vulnerability to additional issues like infections. Dry and brittle nails, in particular, are prone to breakage and splitting, creating a recurring cycle of problems.

Nail Infection:

Infections caused by fungi or bacteria compromise the immune system, leading to weakened and brittle nails. These infections may arise from small cuts or exposure to allergens. Fungal infections manifest a crusted appearance, while bacterial infections may involve inflammation, often accompanied by excessive licking of the paws.

Lupoid Onychodystrophy:

This immune-mediated, non-contagious condition affects the cells around the nails and is a form of lupus. Certain breeds, like German Shepherds and Rottweilers, may be more susceptible, but early detection allows for effective treatment with supplements. Severe cases might necessitate the surgical removal of affected nails.

Nutrient Deficiency:

Given that dog nails are primarily composed of keratin, a deficiency in nutrients obtained through food can result in cracked and brittle nails. Even with a high-quality diet, inadequate nutrient absorption during digestion may signal an underlying issue.

Long Nails:

Lengthy nails are prone to catching on objects or breaking during daily activities. Regular nail trimming, ideally every two weeks, is crucial to prevent brittle nails and ensure the dog's comfort and safety.

Nail Bed Tumors:

Cancerous tumors, such as squamous cell carcinoma, can develop in the nail beds, weakening the nails and causing breakage. Certain breeds, like beagles, Labrador retrievers, boxers, and bull terriers, may be more predisposed to this condition.


Preventing Brittle Dog Nails:

Routine Nail Trimming:

Frequent trimming, especially for less active dogs, prevents overgrown nails. Using a dog nail grinder is recommended for inexperienced groomers, ensuring a safer and smoother finish.



Healthy Diet:

Providing high-quality dog food meeting nutritional standards is crucial for overall health, including the condition of the nails. Consultation with a vet can help determine the best diet for your dog.

Vet Visits:

If concerned about brittle nails, consult a vet to identify the cause and receive appropriate treatment, especially if infections or specific conditions like Lupoid Onychodystrophy are suspected.

Paw Pad Safety:

Protecting the pads of the paws is essential for overall paw health, indirectly influencing nail well-being. Precautions such as walking during cooler times and regular pad maintenance help prevent injuries and infections.

By paying attention to these factors and implementing preventive measures, you can ensure the strength and health of your dog's nails, enhancing their overall well-being.
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