Why Does My Dog Chew His Nails?

Dogs use their teeth to get to the bottom of many issues, as thats their only resource to relieve itchiness or other discomforts on their body. When you see your pup biting or chewing on their nails, its usually indicative of something bothering them around their paws. If this becomes a chronic problem, it could be a sign of something brewing.

If you imagine not having your fingers available, and experiencing itchiness throughout the day that you arent able to relive, that would understandably cause insanity. Since dogs dont have hands and fingers like we do, they rely on their teeth and mouth to scratch places they cant reach with their paws.

If you see your furry friend licking and chewing at their nails, the first thing you should do is check and see if its their way of telling you to make an appointment with the groomer, or find a way to DIY at home ! Pups will come in from their time outside and experience severe itchiness and resort to biting and chewing their paws for relief. Benadryl is an antihistamine used to relieve the symptoms from minor allergies, so it has brought comfort to many pups experiencing itchiness from seasonal allergens.

This action will often lead to severe skin irritation and wounds on the paws that easily become infected with their exposure to dirt and germs on the ground. If the area around your dogs nails and paws look red and irritated, its best to pay your veterinarian a visit before the situation gets worse. The vet will often get your pet started on antibiotics, send home a topical spray for the affected area, and an E-collar that will prevent your pup from any additional licking.

Blades of grass, foxtails, or any other plant or stick material can easily become lodged in your dogs paw. Whether its due to your absence, a change in their surroundings, or out of boredom; it can become a compulsive problem that can cause complications down the line. This may include a kong toy with treats inside, a food bowl that entices them to search for the kibbles in hidden compartments, or a healthy bone to chew on while youre away.

Dogs can sometimes develop an obsessive-compulsive disorder with paw chewing, so if this is a chronic problem that you cannot seem to find relief for, give your vet a call. Fleas can trigger an allergic response that results in severe skin irritation and itchiness all over the body.

How can I get my dog to stop chewing his nails?

You should take your dog to get his nails trimmed on a regular basis to avoid overgrowth and chewing. Regular clippings will make the process easier in the long run as your dog will get used to the sensation. It’ll also help to keep the quick down so that you can avoid unwanted bleeding.

Why do dogs lick their paws and chew their nails?

Like in humans, airborne allergens often cause intense itchiness. Dogs then lick and chew their paws to relieve the atopy itchies. Dogs may also engage in nail biting while trying to cope with itch-inducing allergies. These behaviors can also be triggered by other allergic reactions, such as those from food allergies.

Can dogs trim their own nails?

Many dogs and people hate this grooming task, but these owners found a unique way to solve the problem. Most dogs can learn to scratch an emery board through simple observation and imitation. …

Why do dogs bite their toes?

Boredom and stress can also cause your dog to lick and bite their front paws out of frustration which can then become habit. Keep a close eye on your dog to see if anything in particular is triggering the licking and biting. … Some dogs may chew or lick their feet due to anxiety as it makes them feel better.

Like many dog owners, I often catch my dog lying on her bed, chomping on her nails. For a while I assumed it meant it was time to clip them she hates getting her nails trimmed, so frequent trimmings can be tricky. But does that explain why she’s biting them? I asked a couple vets to find out. The consensus? Maybe yes, maybe not. Dog nail biting is often the result of a number of conditions. Here’s what vets had to say and what you should do to help your dog stop the habit.

Christie Long , DVM, chief veterinarian for PetCoach, agreed that environmental allergies are usually the main culprit behind nail biting in dogs. While talking to your vet is the best course of action to identify the reasons and the treatments for nail biting, especially if they are doing it a lot, there are some things pet owners can try to see if it gives them relief.

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Until then, it is important that doting doggy parents are aware of unusual behavior like excessive paw licking/chewing that may indicate your dog is suffering from a physical ailment. Atopy (inhalant allergies) is the most common cause for excessive paw licking and nail chewing in dogs.

Additional symptoms of allergic reactions include swollen and red skin, itchy and watery eyes, respiratory issues, and a runny nose. Other foreign objects that often make their way in pup’s paw pads are ticks, grass awns, and burrs. Thus, it is important to clean any wounds, apply antibiotic ointment, and perhaps wrap the paw to prevent exacerbation of the injury.

This may include cutting certain foods from your dog‘s diet, avoiding environments where certain allergens are present, or using medication. If you’re totally stumped on why your dog is persistently chewing her nails or biting her paw a veterinarian can help determine the underlying cause. This is because excessive nail biting and paw licking may be signs of a condition that needs additional veterinary care.

This is especially true if the behavior begins suddenly, continues for long periods of time, or is accompanied by redness, bleeding, inflammation, odor, limping or other possible signs of pain and injury. If your dog is licking/chewing their paws as a result of anxiety – and really, you should always visit a vet to determine the reason – there are some supplements (and CBD options) that can help them out.

– Dont wait to call the vet Seek veterinarian help immediately if your dog is unable to walk, bleeding heavily or if the area is very swollen or oozing pus.

One common reason is due to irritation from allergens like pollen, mold, dust, and grass that make their paws and nails itchy. Another is food sensitivity to typical proteins like eggs, soy, lamb, chicken, or beef, which can cause dogs to become itchy and bite their nails.

Something like a rock stuck in your pups paw might be easy to spot, but figuring out if your dog has an infection or allergy may require a vet visit. This is because the allergy causes atopic dermatitis (atopy), a condition that can affect the entire body or just a few areas usually the feet, ears, face, and front legs. Along with atopic dermatitis, your dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and ear infections as a reaction to certain foods.

Bacteria or fungi enter the skin through the open sore and can cause swelling, redness, pus, and a foul odor. If the wound appears the same or worse in terms of swelling, redness, tenderness, or pus, it may be infected, which will require antibiotic treatment. Just like human skin, paw pads are susceptible to drying, cracking and burning in extreme temperature conditions.

In addition to potential sensitivities to salted roads, dogs can be more susceptible to cuts when walking on hard, icy terrain. Loaded with antifungal and antibacterial properties, Paw Soother has organic, vegan ingredients such as vitamin E and jojoba oil, with the lowest-risk Skin Deep scores possible. Users love that Mushers Secret comes in a large tub (that never expires) and that it wont make a huge dent in your budget.

Rather than sudden and acute symptoms, as with an injury, youll notice the paw-licking happen slowly as your dog ages. Joint supplements work to slow down the process, reducing the speed at which enzymes wear down the cartilage. Mites cannot be seen with the naked eye, so your veterinarian will have to view a skin sample under a microscope to provide a diagnosis

Regular walks or jogs, games of fetch and cuddle time can be game-changers for your dogs disposition, especially if you have a working breed. Most underlying causes of persistent nail-biting require some owner intervention in order to heal, so its best to address the problem as soon as possible. Environmental irritants like road ice, fertilizers, debris, and allergens can be harmful if left on your dogs skin.

If you make a habit of brushing away debris with a dry washcloth after walks, youll reduce the chance of irritation. Exposure to hot pavement, ice, or rocky terrain makes paws more prone to dryness and cracking. The material inside a dogs nail is called the quick and is composed of blood vessels and nerves.

The sensitive quick doesnt extend for the full length of the nail, which is why were able to trim them without causing your pooch any pain.

Biting and Chewing in General

A dog’s teeth are like our fingers to us. If you imagine not having your fingers available, and experiencing itchiness throughout the day that you aren’t able to relive, that would understandably cause insanity.Since dogs don’t have hands and fingers like we do, they rely on their teeth and mouth to scratch places they cant reach with their paws. A dogs biting and chewing is the same action as a human’s scratching and picking.A dog that is biting and chewing at their nails are trying to tell us that something in this area is causing them some form of discomfort. So what are some reasons behind this behavior?

It’s Time To Visit The Groomer

If a dog is chewing at their nails or paws, it could simply mean that they are in need of a nail trim! When a dog’s nails get too long, it can make their daily activities more difficult. When they’re nails are overgrown, long nails can put pressure on the paw pad, causing discomfort when they walk.Severely overgrown nails can even begin to dig into their skin, causing severe pain and infections. Long nails can also increase the chance of nail injury, which can be incredibly painful. Regularly trimmed nails help to prevent any complications and keep your pup feeling their best.In some cases, extremely fluffy dogs will be bothered by hair overgrowth on their paws. Some dogs have thick feathering around their paws and legs, which can become wedged between their toes. This could be comparable to the feeling of a thick string bothering your foot inside of your sock. It’s not unbearable, but it’s definitely annoying! This can also be managed by regularly deshedding your dog.If you see your furry friend licking and chewing at their nails, the first thing you should do is check and see if it’s their way of telling you to make an appointment with the groomer, or find a way to DIY at home! This is usually the least painful and cheapest thing to remedy, so make sure to start here first.

Allergies

Allergies can cause incredible discomfort for your canine friend. Allergies of the skin are known to cause itching, swelling, redness, and pain in more severe cases. Some allergies your pup can experience include:If you think your dog is experiencing minor allergies, you can add Benadryl to their daily routine after speaking to your vet about its use. Benadryl is an antihistamine used to relieve the symptoms from minor allergies, so it has brought comfort to many pups experiencing itchiness from seasonal allergens.

Skin Infections

The area between a dog’s toes are the perfect environment for an infection to brew. If you add moisture to the mix, such as licking of the paws and nails, its a recipe for disaster. Once dogs experience itchiness or discomfort in an area, they will lick and bite at the area in an effort to “relive the problem.” The more they bite and chew, the more damage they actually cause to the affected area.This action will often lead to severe skin irritation and wounds on the paws that easily become infected with their exposure to dirt and germs on the ground. If the area around your dog’s nails and paws look red and irritated, it’s best to pay your veterinarian a visit before the situation gets worse. The vet will often get your pet started on antibiotics, send home a topical spray for the affected area, and an E-collar that will prevent your pup from any additional licking.Another factor to consider is the possibility of foreign material in the paw or around the nail. Blades of grass, foxtails, or any other plant or stick material can easily become lodged in your dog’s paw. This will often be accompanied by chewing at the paws, swelling, redness, and limping. If you notice any of these symptoms from your dog, have them seen by your veterinarian ASAP.

Anxiety

While there are many symptoms of anxiety, chewing, and biting of the nails can be a sign of anxiety or boredom in your furry friend. Humans often bite their nails or fingers when anxious, and it is no different for an anxious pup. Whether its due to your absence, a change in their surroundings, or out of boredom; it can become a compulsive problem that can cause complications down the line.If it seems like this always happens when your pup is left alone or without entertainment, you can try to offer them stimulating toys and activities. This may include a kong toy with treats inside, a food bowl that entices them to search for the kibbles in hidden compartments, or a healthy bone to chew on while you’re away.If your pup is displaying other signs of anxiety such as destructive behavior, urinating in the house, pacing, panting, or any other concerning symptoms; it can be related to more severe anxiety disorders. Dogs can sometimes develop an obsessive-compulsive disorder with paw chewing, so if this is a chronic problem that you cannot seem to find relief for, give your vet a call. They can help you implement new actions to relieve anxiety, and prescribe anxiety medication if needed.

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks like to hide out in dark crevices on our beloved pups. Ticks especially love the spot between the toes on their paws, and can cause great discomfort by doing this. If you see your dog chewing at their nails or toes, make sure to check in between their toes and on their paw pads for any unwanted fleas or ticks! If you do see any ticks or unwanted pests in between their toes, it’s best to visit your vet for proper removal. Ticks can be tricky to remove completely, and parts of their bodies are often left behind on the skin in the removal process. Your vet can show you how to properly remove these unwanted friends.Another condition that can cause itchiness is flea dermatitis. This is characterized by red and itchy skin with the presence, or previous presence of fleas. Fleas can trigger an allergic response that results in severe skin irritation and itchiness all over the body. If your dog has fleas and is chewing at their nails and paws, it could be due to this itchy condition.Keeping your pet on monthly flea and tick prevention can avoid any secondary conditions from these pesky skin critters! There are many different routes you can utilize to treat fleas, and topical solutions are some of the most common treatment avenues for Fleas & Ticks.

Skin Conditions and Mange

Dogs are not exempt from broken nails. With how active our dogs can be, they often experience nail injury at least once throughout their lives. This can easily happen from getting their nail caught on something, or nails getting cracked from force of some kind. This can often be incredibly painful, leading a dog to lick at the affected nail in an effort to soothe the pain. Some other signs you may see associated with a nail injury are:If you think your dog may have a nail injury, it’s important to have them seen by your veterinarian right away. These injuries are known to get infected quickly, and can result in severe pain for your pup. If infections go untreated, they can be harmful to the overall health of your dog, or even fatal. This is especially true of the dog’s archnemesis – the foxtail plant, when it gets lodged in their paws.

Growths on the Paw

One of the less common reasons for chewing at the nails and paws is the presence of any growths or masses on the paw. Occasionally, dogs can develop interdigital cysts (cysts between their toes), masses around their nails, or abscesses on their nails from previous injury. While lumps and bumps are less common, it’s important to be aware of. If you see any concerning lumps on your pups paws, have your vet take a look ASAP.

Why Do Dogs Bite Their Nails?

Dogs can bite their nails as part of the grooming process, especially if their nails are very long and uncomfortable. However, they tend to bite more for medical reasons, like allergies, a skin condition or infection, or even anxiety.”Toes and paws can certainly have skin issues — it’s a common place for us to see them,” Beth Spencer, DVM, medical director at Goodheart Animal Health Center in Denver, told POPSUGAR. “Because their feet touch everything, oftentimes nail biting is related to allergens they’ve picked up walking around.”Christie Long, DVM, chief veterinarian for PetCoach, agreed that environmental allergies are usually the main culprit behind nail biting in dogs. “Allergens stimulate a hypersensitivity response, which results in inflammation,” she told POPSUGAR. A dog may turn to biting for relief.Dr. Spencer also noted that biting nails can be a sign of anxiety in dogs and might be diagnosed as such, especially if that habit pairs with other anxious behaviors, like cowering or pacing.

An infection

The best way to treat an allergy is by eliminating exposure to the allergen. And while you may be able to eliminate dust and mold, some environmental and outdoor allergens are unavoidable, especially at certain times of the year. It’s also possible your pet could be suffering from food allergies.The bottom line is that there are a ton of reasons your dog could experience allergic reactions. If you’ve tried a lifestyle or diet change to no avail, consider asking your veterinarian for allergy medication or whether your dog could benefit from an aller-immune supplement for dogs.
Changing your dog’s diet every few weeks is not an effective way to diagnose an allergy. The only way to test for a food allergy is a food elimination trial, which is tedious, but effective. Under a vet’s supervision, a novel protein or hydrolyzed protein diet is fed for 6 to 8 weeks. Nothing but the vet-approved food should be ingested — no treats, flavored medications, fish oils, or supplements. After that time, food is reintroduced and you can look for a reaction.

Broken or overgrown nails

Overgrown nails can make walking painful for dogs, so they may try to bite away from the excess nail. They might also attempt to grind their nails down by scratching at the ground excessively. Nails of a healthy length should not curve back around toward the paw.Nail breakage is one side effect of letting your dog’s nails get too long – overgrown nails splinter and break more easily. But injuries can happen for any reason, so check for a broken nail even if you regularly trim your dog’s nails.If your dog is constantly losing and breaking multiple nails, it’s possible that they have

Foreign object or puncture wound

With a puncture wound or foreign object, symptoms are usually limited to the paw area — your dog may limp and lick the affected paw, which may bleed or appear swollen and red. They may also be hesitant to let you examine the wound.The important thing is to act quickly. Wounds can easily turn into infections if left alone. If you see a foreign object that looks easy to remove, like a thorn, you can use a clean pair of tweezers to extract it. You can then clean and bandage the area. The same goes for shallow puncture wounds– clean and bandage them. If the wound is deep or if you’re worried you haven’t removed all of the debris, you should seek help from your veterinarian.In the days following treatment, watch the area closely for signs of infection. If the wound appears the same or worse in terms of swelling, redness, tenderness, or pus, it may be infected, which will require antibiotic treatment.

Dryness or burns

Just like human skin, paw pads are susceptible to drying, cracking and burning in extreme temperature conditions. Especially in the summer, asphalt and concrete can become far too hot for dogs to walk on, even when the weather is comfortable for you. A good rule of thumb is to place the back of your hand on the ground. If it’s too hot to hold your hand there for 5–10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.Cold conditions can also pose a problem. In addition to potential sensitivities to salted roads, dogs can be more susceptible to cuts when walking on hard, icy terrain. In general, it’s best to avoid extreme weather conditions or invest in some dog shoes.Some dogs, however, are genetically more prone to paw injuries than others. Whether you live somewhere with extreme weather or your pup just has sensitive paws, paw balms and waxes can prevent and heal dry, cracked paws by moisturizing and creating a protective barrier. Here are a couple of our favorite products:

Interdigital cysts (furuncles)

Interdigital furuncles are easy to identify – they are red, fleshy bumps that appear between dogs’ toes. These cyst-like growths are most common in dogs with short hair and prominent toe-webbing, like the English Bulldog and Labrador Retriever.Interdigital furuncles are usually the result of an infection, sometimes due to an ingrown hair or even mites. While surgery is not usually required, you should take your dog into the vet to make sure the bump isn’t malignant. Furuncles are notoriously tough to eradicate, but there are a few at-home remedies you can try. A combination of regular cleaning, Epsom salt soaks, and healing balms may heal the area.

Arthritis

Arthritic pain may be one reason your dog licks their paws nonstop. Rather than sudden and acute symptoms, as with an injury, you’ll notice the paw-licking happen slowly as your dog ages. If your dog is older and you’re not able to see anything unusual in the area (swelling, redness, nail breakage, etc.) sore joints may be the culprit.Arthritis is a natural part of aging, so there’s no cure. However, joint supplements can help. As dogs age, enzymes break down cartilage, which is the cushion-like tissue in between bones that protects your dog from painful bone-on-bone contact. For overweight or large dogs, this can happen sooner in life. Joint supplements work to slow down the process, reducing the speed at which enzymes wear down the cartilage.

Anxiety or mental distress

Fleas, lice, and mites are all parasites that may take in interest in your furry companion and make them miserably itchy.You can check for parasites by combing through and closely examining your dog’s fur, but it may be difficult to identify exactly what kind of parasite has set up camp on your dog. For help identifying the problem, read our guide to identifying bug bites on dogs. Parasites usually don’t go away on their own, so it’s best to seek help from a veterinarian, who can prescribe medication to help.