Ingrown Toenails on Pets

An Ingrown toenail is when the toenail grows into the pad of the paw, which causes pain and discomfort and is a result of nail overgrowth. Ingrown toenails can happen to any pets whether it be a cat or dog and at any stage of their lives.

High-Risk Groups: Senior and Polydactyl Cats

However, ingrown toenails do seem to be more common in our senior cats and in polydactyl cats (meaning cats that have extra toes.) Cats nails tend to change as they age, they become much thicker and more brittle as well as not shedding as often. Older cats can get ingrown toenails due to lack of grooming and by not using scratching posts as much. This could be caused by arthritis which causes pain and lack of mobility.

Symptoms and consequences: Ingrown toenails can be very painful for your pet, and can cause your pet to have trouble walking, inflammation of the pad and paw, bleeding and infection!

Recognizing the Signs of Discomfort

Some signs to watch for are:

  • lack of interest in things he/she use to enjoy
  • not walking around as often or putting pressure on the paw
  • inappropriate urination due to the pain and pressure that is present in the paw
  • loss of appetite
  • excessive licking at the paw
  • you may also notice an odour which is a sign of infection.

Preventative Measures

The best way to avoid ingrown toenails is to keep your pets’ nails cut short. This can take time and patience for many pets as they do not naturally like their feet touched. If you are able to gently touch your pets’ paws often to get them use to having them handled (this is best to start at a young age) it will help make nail trims more enjoyable for you and your pets. If you are unable to perform nail trims at home your local animal hospital or pet groomers are trained in performing nail trims and are here to help!

Written by Natasha Cavanagh, VA