Why Does My Dog Bite His Nails? Here is the Reason


Some dogs, as with many people, have the terrible habit of chewing their nails. As we aren’t veterinarians, we can’t give you a definitive explanation for why your dog is chewing its nails, but we can give you some tips on how to get it to stop. A trip to the doctor may be in order if you’re worried that your pet’s nail-biting behavior indicates a more severe problem.

The grooming procedure for dogs reportedly includes biting at their nails, particularly if the nails are too long and painful. Yet, they often bite for therapeutic reasons, such as an allergy, a skin ailment, an illness, or even nervousness.

Why Does My Dog Bite His Nails? Here is the Reason

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Dogs sometimes turn to bite their paws as a kind of self-grooming when their nails are too long or when the sensation of having them on their paws becomes uncomfortable. In desperate situations, dogs may resort to chewing their nails for the following reasons:

  1. Allergy: If your dog comes into contact with an allergen in the environment, he or she may develop atopic dermatitis, which is characterized by an excessive desire to scratch the affected area.
  2. Infection: If you disregard the health issue that your dog is experiencing, it might result in a bacterial or fungal infection. An infection may be present if the paw of your dog is swollen or red, has a foul odor, or contains pus. Your dog may develop a limp and become hesitant to be handled if they have an infection in its paws. If you are concerned that they may have an infection, you need to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
  3. Broken Nails: If you allow your dog’s nails to grow too long, they run the risk of breaking and splitting, which may be quite uncomfortable for your pet. They recommend biting the broken piece of nail down to size as one of the treatments for a chipped nail.
  4. Anxiety and Nervousness: Similar to how nail biting may be a symptom of nervousness in humans, it can also be a sign of anxiety in dogs. Your dog’s tendency of chewing its nails may be an indication that they are anxious, particularly if they have just had a change in routine or if you have to leave them alone for extended periods of time.
  5. Boredom: Your dog may chew at their paws as a kind of self-entertainment if they are uninterested in other activities. If you fear your dog could be bored throughout the day, make sure he or she has lots of toys to keep him or her occupied.
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To restate, if you have any reason to believe that your dog’s nail biting may be caused by anything more serious, you absolutely must schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. They will be able to provide a hand in determining the nature of the problem and coming up with an all-encompassing treatment plan for it.

What should you do in the event that your dog tears out one of its nails?

As soon as you have reason to believe that your dog has pulled a nail out of its foot, there are a few things you should do to assist your dog. The first four may be completed at home, but the fifth and final step requires scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian.

The first step is to locate the nail that is damaged.

The first thing you need to do is find the nail that is afflicted. Do a thorough inspection of each of your dog’s feet in order to locate the torn nail. If your dog has dewclaws, you should also examine them carefully. Do not overlook this step.

The severity of the damage to your dog’s nail, which caused the break, might have an effect on how simple it is to discover the fractured piece. In the event that the dog has totally pulled the nail off, the nail will no longer be there, and the region that was damaged will most likely be bleeding. On the other hand, a nail that is just partially connected to the cuticle could or might not be bleeding.

Keep in mind that looking at your dog’s foot requires extreme caution on your part. The agony caused by broken nails in dogs may be excruciating, and even the friendliest dog may resort to biting as a means of self-defense.

Second step: put a stop to the bleeding.

After determining which nail was damaged, the following step is to apply pressure on the wound to staunch the bleeding. A paper towel, gauze, cotton ball, or even your finger may be used to offer gentle pressure, which will be beneficial.

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The most reliable method, however, is to use a styptic pencil or styptic powder to staunch the bleeding. These antiseptic clotting medications will both staunch the bleeding and protect against infection. You can get them at most pet supply stores, on the web, and even from certain vets. 

You may use cornstarch in place of styptic powder or a styptic pencil, which is also as effective. It will help halt the bleeding, but it will do nothing for the discomfort or the infection.

If you want to use powder or cornstarch, be careful to apply a generous quantity to the damaged nail. A sufficient amount is required in order to provide a barrier or layer of protection.

You should disinfect the area surrounding the missing nail.

After applying direct pressure to the wound, you should clean your dog’s broken nail and foot thoroughly. Warm water and a clean towel can help you gently wipe away grime and dust. In order to reduce the risk of an infection, it is essential to clean the region and maintain its cleanliness.

Wrap your dog’s foot with a bandage.

Last but not least, you may need to bandage your dog’s paw if the broken nail is really bad. You may use gauze, bandage material, and bandaging tape to easily wrap a dog’s paw. Wrap the gauze or bandage material around your dog’s paw carefully, then tape the end closed.

The bandage has to be secure enough to prevent the dog’s paw and torn nail from moving around while also protecting them.

The bandage must be changed once a day as well. The risk of infection is increased if there is moisture beneath the bandage or if the bandage is filthy. After removing the bandage, you’ll get a better look at your dog’s paws and be able to see if anything seems wrong. The toes may have been wrapped excessively tightly if they are swollen, chilly to the touch, or discolored. If you see any of these changes in your toes at any point throughout the healing period, you should consult your veterinarian immediately.

Schedule a visit to your pet’s vet.

Nail injuries in dogs are often not life-threatening, but they are unpleasant and may lead to infection if not treated quickly. Because of this, if you think your dog could require antibiotics or pain medicine, you should make an appointment with a vet every once.

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If, on the other hand, you believe the dog’s nail biting is only a poor habit, you might use one of the following strategies.

Tips to Help You Stop Your Dog From Biting Its Nails

First Advice: Let Them Chew On Something Different

If you don’t want your dog chewing on their nails, you may distract them with a bone or toy. A puzzle toy or lick pad are two more options. You should give them this toy to play with while you’re gone. Whilst it may not be a permanent solution, this may be a more humane method to get them to stop doing it without making them wear a cone of shame.

Second Piece of Advice: Give Them a Foot Bath Before They Enter

It may help to give your dog a quick rinse of water before letting them in the house if you think that allergies are to blame for their nail biting. Any allergies in the air will be washed away. They won’t need to bite as much to express their displeasure, now that their paws are clean.

Third, guarantee that your dog gets enough exercise.

Inadequate exercise may have negative effects on your dog’s health and the growth of its nails. Nails probably aren’t getting filed down enough if they aren’t getting enough exercise outside. Alternatively, they may gnaw their paws out of boredom if they don’t receive enough exercise. Raising your dog’s (indoor and outdoor) activity level is an excellent approach to stop him from chewing his nails again.

Final Note

If you find that your dog bites their nails more than usual, you should take them to the veterinarian to rule out the possibility that they have any underlying medical concerns that are causing this behavior. In addition, supporting your dog with lots of exercises, mental stimulation, and an atmosphere that is quiet and stress-free will help minimize your dog’s anxiety and boredom, which may in turn help you break your dog from the habit of chewing their nails.


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