Why Do Dogs Bite Their Nails?

Dogs do some peculiar things and our actions are often very similar to those of humans.

While biting our nails may appear comical, this odd behavior can often be an indicator that something is bothering us.

Have you noticed that your dog appears to be biting their nails? If so, you are likely wondering why this is? That’s where I come in.

Sometimes there’s a simple explanation as to why we are biting our nails. We often bite our nails as part of our grooming regime, especially if our nails are rather long as this can be uncomfortable for us.

Our nails grow quickly so if they aren’t trimmed by our owners we’ll take it upon ourselves to trim them using our teeth. Trying to walk or run on outdoor adventures with long nails can inflict a lot of pain on us rather than enjoyment.

Dogs with long nails are also more susceptible to nail injuries and infections and this can be very painful for us. If there do not appear to be any signs of infection, you can trim our nails at home.

However, some owners may prefer to take their dog to the groomer. Doing this regularly will avoid overgrowth and will also stop us from chewing and biting our nails.

For dogs, allergies can be extremely uncomfortable and as we aren’t able to communicate our pain with you verbally, we often do so through our actions.

Allergies can cause swelling and itching so we will bite our nails in an attempt to ease the pain and discomfort. Different dogs will experience different allergies and some won’t experience them at all.

Unfortunately, some dogs suffer from grass allergies, and while most of us love playing outdoors exploring our surroundings, contact with a grassy surface can often cause paws to become severely inflamed and itchy.

It may be a seasonal allergy that affects us more at certain times of the year. Some dogs may be allergic to certain foods in their diets. Allergies can leave us feeling extremely miserable.

Of course, we want to be showering you with love and cuddles and running around in the garden but the irritation and inflammation that these allergies cause, often mean that you will find us cooped up indoors biting away at our nails instead.

I’m sure you’ve broken a nail before and either bitten off or bitten away at the nail that remains. Well, us dogs sometimes do the same.

Not only do broken nails feel super uncomfortable but they can also be extremely painful. You should try your best to prevent me from biting a broken nail because my mouth can transmit bacteria that may lead to an infection.

Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety and we sometimes bite our nails to relieve any feelings of uncertainty. We appreciate stimulating toys as they can be a helpful distraction from biting our nails, something that can become very compulsive for us if it isn’t acted upon.

The area on our paws between our toes can be a feeding ground for infections, particularly when it has been exposed to moisture. This can become very irritating and itchy so you may catch us biting our nails to ease the irritation.

Once we begin biting our nails, it can sometimes be difficult to stop, however, this can worsen the infection and leave us feeling much more agitated.

In some instances, we may not be biting our nails for any of the reasons listed above but quite simply because we are bored. Just like humans often begin biting their nails as a result of boredom it can become a habit so we love to have toys to keep us distracted.

Is it bad for dogs to chew their nails?

It’s quite normal for us to chew or bite our nails occasionally, however, it can become more problematic when we begin to do it excessively.

In some cases, it can be caused by a medical issue such as an infection, or for other dogs, it can be caused by a behavioral issue.

Chronic nail biting should not be ignored because we can end up making ourselves bleed and the constant biting can also cause infections.

We should be taken to the vets if we appear to be biting our nails excessively.

How do I stop my dog from biting his nails?

This depends on what is causing us to do it in the first place. As you can see, there can be several reasons why we’re biting our nails. If it is due to boredom, we will need to be distracted by other means.

We love treats and toys as they stimulate our minds and keep us distracted. They can also help us cope much better with boredom and anxiety. If it is because our nails are too long, they will need to be trimmed.

How do I know if my dog’s nails are too long?

Keeping us still can be a challenge, particularly for active dogs who love to run around. However, when we are standing in front of you, we will try to stay still for long enough so that you can check the length of our nails.

If they appear to be touching the ground then they are too long. Sometimes you will hear our nails making a clicking sound or they will even begin growing sideways and this is a sign that they need a trim.

What happens if I do not cut my dog’s nails?

Failing to cut our nails can lead to several issues. Our nails grow quickly and when neglected they will continue to grow until they curve into our footpads.

As I’m sure you can imagine, this most certainly isn’t a pleasant feeling for us. Our nails are also at greater risk of splitting, again this is extremely painful but also presents an increased risk of infection.

Final Thoughts

As you can see there are many reasons why we bite our nails, some of which are more severe than others.

While occasional nail-biting tends to be a normal part of our grooming routine, if we proceed to do it continuously it is a sign of a severe issue that needs to be addressed.

If you are concerned by our constant chewing and nail-biting, you should consult a vet as they will be able to examine our nails and paws for any issues.