Why Do Dogs Chew Their Nails?
15 June, 2015
Dogs Chew Their Nails

Our dogs tend to groom themselves by licking themselves and sometimes they might even lick or chew on their nails. Dogs that chew their nails chronically, however, might be telling you something is wrong. Chronic nail-biting means it’s time to take your dog to the veterinarian to determine whether a fungal infection or allergy is causing irritation or if it is something behavioral.  It depends on the frequency and time when your dog is chewing his or her nails to determine why your dog is chewing his nails.

Below are some reasons why your dog might be chewing on his or her nails:

Your dog could be chewing on his nails because they need to be groomed

It is important for so many reasons to keep your dogs’ nails trimmed neatly. When you let your dog’s nails grow too long it can become painful for them to walk. The nails can curve in, making getting around difficult and injuring the skin. Your dog may be biting his nails chronically in an attempt to groom himself. Take your dog to a groomer to ensure his nails are trimmed correctly.  If your dog is chewing on them, the nails are probably too long.

Your dog could be chewing on his nail because it is broken

Broken nails aren’t always obvious. Sometimes they break at the very base of the nail, where the nail is still attached to your pup’s skin; such a break will still be very bothersome to your pup. Your little guy may start biting at and licking the out-of-order nail. He may do it because it’s causing him pain and it’s the only thing he knows to do in response, or he may be trying to actually take the bothersome thing off his foot. Broken nails do sometimes come off on their own, but don’t let the situation resolve itself and become infected and go see your vet.

If your dog has allergies, he or she might bite his nails

Allergies to food or to grass, pollen and other outdoor allergens can make your dog itchy; and chewing on paws is a symptom. He may chew to cope or to relieve itching directly in the paw. Chewing on nails may help to relieve itchiness. Have you changed your dog’s food?  Is there a lot of pollen in the air?  Talk to your veterinarian to determine what is triggering your pooch’s allergic reaction.

Your dog might have an infection in his nails

Your dog may be chewing his nails because the nail bed has a fungal infection. It might also be a result of injuring a nail.   If a nail is injured, and the wound is exposed, infection may result. If the area around the dog’s nails appears red, swollen, tender to the touch or is seeping, it may be infected.  An exposed and untreated wound may lead to infection and make your dog itch. You will have to take your pooch to the veterinarian for treatment with an antibiotic.

Your dog could be chewing on his nails because he is anxious

Some dogs are neurotic or just anxious. Sometimes a case of separation anxiety or stress about his surroundings will have your dog chewing on his nails to relieve his nervousness.  Chewing nails, defecating in the house and destructive behavior are common signs of anxiety. Dogs are den animals by nature, and need to feel secure. Consider leaving a radio or TV on so the dog can hear human interaction, and supply him with a few chew toys to ease his need to gnaw.

Your dog could simply be chewing on his nails because he is bored

Stimulating a dog’s senses is essential. Exercise, playtime, talking and training are all essential. A bored dog will become destructive to himself and his surroundings. Nail biting is a common sign of boredom. Supply your puppy with interactive play toys when dog or human interaction isn’t possible.

Your dog could be chewing on his nail because it is broken

Broken nails aren’t always obvious. Sometimes they break at the very base of the nail, where the nail is still attached to your pup’s skin; such a break will still be very bothersome to your pup. Your little guy may start biting at and licking the out-of-order nail. Broken nails do sometimes come off on their own, but don’t let the situation resolve itself. Lots of blood will be covering your floor, and there’s a good chance of infection, so go see your vet before the nail becomes infected.

If your dog continues to chew on his or her nails after you take him to the groomer, then it’s best to call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment.  If your vet determines that it is not a medical condition, then it is behavioral and needs to be addressed accordingly.

 

 

 

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