Dog Nail Infection: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Nail infection is a common problem among dogs. This is because their claws and paws get infected when they’ve been sniffing around in areas they shouldn’t be. Also, the nails of dogs are soft and delicate, and they are easily damaged by rough surfaces, such as concrete. This increases the risk of picking up bacteria, fungi, and other contaminants.
Nail infections can be hard to detect because they often begin in the nail bed (where the nail and the skin touch), rather than the nail itself. Without early detection, infections can worsen and spread to the bone, making them even more difficult to treat. This article takes a look at what are dog nail infections, the symptoms to look out for, and the best ways to treat and prevent it.

Symptoms of Dog Nail Infection

If the nail is infected, it may be a sign of an underlying problem that needs to be treated. The symptoms of an infected nail include:

  • Swelling around the base of the nail
  • Excessive scratching of the paw
  • Dry or cracked paw pads
  • Redness or soreness around the nail
  • Chewing or licking the nail
  • Limping or itchiness
  • Yellowish or brown discoloration of the nail
  • Pus or a foul odor in the nail

Types of dog nail infections

Nail infections in dogs are caused by bacterial, yeast, and fungal. They are also referred to as “paw infections” because they can occur on the paw pads of dogs. Although most of these infected claws are not life-threatening, they can cause pain and discomfort for your canine friend.
The affected foot pads can be treated with home remedies and antibiotics. Here are all the possible infections:

Bacterial Infections:

Bacterial infections in dogs are caused by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It usually starts with a small red bump that is not painful. Over time, the area becomes sore and the nail will turn yellow. They are also accompanied by a foul-smelling discharge and pain. If the infection is not treated, the nail will eventually fall off.
First, the nail is removed, and the infected area is cleaned. Then, the paw is soaked in an antibiotic solution for a few minutes. The nail is then cleaned and dried. Finally, the toe is dried and wrapped in a bandage.

Fungal Infections:

Fungal infections in dogs are caused by a variety of fungi such as dermatophytes (ringworm) and onychomycosis. The symptoms of a fungal infection include red, itchy, and inflamed nails. The nail becomes thickened, discolored, and brittle if not treated. Fungal infections are treated with topical antifungal creams and oral antifungal medications.

Nail Trauma:

Nail trauma in dogs is caused by an injury to the nail, which can occur from a sharp object and improper nail trimming. It can be characterized by a cracked, bleeding, or swollen nail. The nail may also be bent or split. Trauma is treated with nail clipping and nail bandaging.

Food Allergies:

Food allergies are caused by an allergic reaction to a food that your dog is eating. The most common food allergens in dogs are wheat, dairy, corn, soy, and eggs. The symptoms of food allergies are vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. These infections are treated with dietary changes and antihistamine medication.


Neoplasia is a cancerous or precancerous condition caused by abnormal cell growth that can develop into a tumor. It can occur in any part of the dog’s body, but the most common types are skin, internal organs, and the nail. Abdominal swelling, difficulty in eating or breathing, and non-healing wounds are the main symptoms of neoplasia. This infection is treated with surgical removal of the tumor.

Dog Infected Nail Prevention Tips

To prevent dog nail infection follow these easy tips:

Give your dog regular nail trims:

Most dogs have long nails that can easily get caught on objects or become tangled. This can cause painful and potentially dangerous injuries. It’s important to give your pup regular nail trims after every 3-4 months to prevent infections and damage. Make sure to know how to trim dog nails. A dog nail grinder will make it easier to trim the nails without damaging the claws.

Go on outdoor walks:

Going on outdoor walks with your dog is a great way to exercise your furry friends and help them to maintain their nails strong and healthy. Keep them away from the muddy areas during the walk to prevent them from containing dirt and debris in their nails.

Clean Your Dog’s Toes Regularly:

The nails of a dog are often kept in a dirty environment. Cleaning the nails will help to prevent bacterial and fungal growth, and will keep your dog’s feet and nails healthy. A good way to do this is to soak his nails in warm, soapy water. Then, rinse the nail thoroughly.

Handle your dog’s paws a lot:

Dog’s paws are usually the first area that is affected by nail infections. It is important to handle your dog’s paws a lot to help prevent paw infections. This will keep the nails soft and help prevent the nails from breaking.


Nail infections are very common in dogs. They can be caused by many factors, such as overgrown nails, nail trimming, or injuries. It is important to regularly trim your dog’s toenails and prevent their claws from getting infected by following the tips mentioned above.

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