Why Dog Chew Their Nails? [Answered]

Dogs utilize their teeth to get to the bottom of a lot of problems since it’s their sole way to relieve itching on their bodies.

When your dog chews on his or her dog’s nail, it’s usually a sign that something is troubling them around the paws.

If this becomes a recurring issue, it could be an indication that something more serious is on the way.

Any time your dog exhibits unusual behavior, it’s something you should be aware of.

If they are chewing their nails, it’s also vital to keep an eye out for any other unusual behavior, such as eating less or being less enthusiastic around their family.

Dog Chew Nails
Dog Chewing Nails

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To us, a dog’s teeth are similar to our fingers.

Imagine not having your fingertips and enduring constant itchiness that you can’t get rid of.

It’s understandable that this would drive you insane.

Dogs use their jaws and mouth to scratch locations they can’t reach with their dog’s paw because they don’t have hands and fingers like we do.

The action of a dog biting and chewing is similar to that of a person scratching and plucking.

A dog biting and chewing at their nails is trying to communicate with us that something in this area is bothering them when not in nail clipping.

So, what are the causes of this behavior?


Allergies can be excruciatingly painful for your canine companion.

Itching, swelling, redness, and soreness are all symptoms of skin allergies in more severe situations.

The following are some of the allergies that your dog may have:

Grass allergies:

Some dogs are known to be allergic to the grass they are exposed to on a daily basis.

Puppies will come in from outside with acute itching and will bite and chew their paws to relieve themselves.

On their next journey outside, they are exposed to the grass once more, just as the itching begins to fade.

Grass allergies may make dogs extremely unhappy.

You may usually help with this by using a sensitive-skin puppy wash or an oatmeal-based dog shampoo.

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Food allergies

Food allergies is frequently manifested by skin redness and itching.

While most puppies will itch all over their bodies, they will bite at their paws in an attempt to alleviate their discomfort.

Seasonal allergies

Just like humans, some dogs have seasonal allergies that are triggered by allergens in the environment.

These puppies will often appear fine one day and then develop itching at different times of the year.

If the allergen is present in your grass, their feet can get very itchy.

This motion frequently results in significant skin irritation and wounds on the paws, which are quickly infected as a result of their contact to dirt and bacteria on the ground.

If the area surrounding your dog’s nails and paws appears red and irritated, you should see your veterinarian right away before the problem worsens.

Typically, your veterinarian will start your pet on antibiotics, send home a topical treatment for the affected region, and an E-collar to keep your dog from licking any more.

Another consideration is the presence of foreign material in the paw or around the nail.

Grass blades, foxtails, or any other plant or stick material can readily become caught in the paw of your dog.

This is frequently the case.

Separation Anxiety

While nervousness can manifest itself in a variety of ways, chewing and biting of the nails might be an indication of anxiety or boredom in your pet.

When we’re stressed, we bite our nails or fingers, and a nervous puppy is no different.

It can become a compulsive problem that can lead to complications down the road, whether it’s due to your absence, a change in their surroundings, or boredom.

If your dog is experiencing other anxiety symptoms like destructive behavior, it could be an indication of a more serious anxiety problem.

Paw chewing can cause obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs, so if this is a persistent problem for which you haven’t found a solution, contact your veterinarian.

They can assist you in implementing new anxiety-relieving behaviors and, if necessary, prescribe anxiety medication.

Ticks and fleas

Fleas and ticks prefer to hide in the dark crevices of our pets.

Ticks are particularly fond of the area between the toes on their paws, and this can cause a lot of pain.

Check between your dog’s toes and on their paw pads for any unwelcome fleas or ticks if you notice them gnawing at their nails or toes.

If you notice any ticks or other undesirable pests between their toes, take them to your veterinarian for thorough removal.

Ticks can be difficult to entirely remove, and pieces of their bodies are frequently left on the skin throughout the procedure.

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Your veterinarian will be able to show you how to safely remove these unwanted visitors.

Flea dermatitis is another ailment that can cause itching.

The presence of fleas, or the presence of fleas in the past, causes red and itchy skin.

Fleas can cause an allergic reaction, causing severe skin irritation and itching throughout the body.

It could be attributed to this irritating condition if your dog has fleas and chews at their nails and paws.

Keeping your pet on flea and tick treatment on a monthly basis can help prevent secondary conditions caused by these nasty skin pests!

Fleas and ticks can be treated in a variety of ways, with topical remedies being one of the most popular.

Injuries to the nails

Broken nails or ingrown nail are not uncommon in dogs.

Because of how active our dogs are, they are likely to get a dog nail injury at some point during their lives.

This can easily happen if their broken nail gets hooked on anything or if their nails crack due to some form of force.

This can be excruciatingly painful, prompting a dog to lick at the injured nail in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort.

You may also notice the following indicators if you have a nail injury:

  • The paw and nail are licked.
  • Puncture wound of the nail bed
  • A ring of redness around the nail
  • There is blood on the paw or on the carpet where they stood.
  • Limping
  • Sensitivity of the paw pad
  • You are not allowed to examine their paw.

If you suspect your dog has a nail injury, make an appointment with your veterinarian straight once.

These wounds are known to become infected rapidly and cause your dog a lot of suffering.

If left untreated, infections can be damaging to your dog’s general health, if not lethal.

When the dog’s arch nemesis, the foxtail plant, becomes lodged in their paws, this is especially true.

Skin Problems

There are a variety of skin problems that might manifest themselves around your dog chewing paws and nails, causing gnawing or biting.

Demodectic mange is one of the most frequent skin disorders, and it is often found on the paws.

Hair loss on the paws and legs, dry skin, chewing at their feet, and possibly secondary infections on the feet from chewing are common symptoms.

A skin scraping will be performed by your veterinarian to adequately identify this illness.

This procedure entails scraping the skin with a tiny blade and examining the tissue under a microscope.

Once your dog has been diagnosed, medicated baths, oral medication, or injections might be used to help him recover.

Which treatment technique your puppy chooses will be determined by the severity of their condition.

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Allergy dermatitis, yeast overgrowth on the skin, bacterial infections, and Ringworm are among other skin disorders in dogs that can cause nail and paw gnawing.

Because some of these diseases cause your dog to stink, they’re a little simpler to spot.

If you suspect your dog has Mange, you should contact your veterinarian right away.

Paw enlargements

The presence of any growths or lumps on the paw is one of the less prevalent reasons for dog biting nails and paws.

Interdigital cysts (cysts between the toes), lumps around the nails, and abscesses on the nails are all possible after effects of past injuries in dogs.

Even though lumps and bumps are uncommon, they are crucial to be aware of.

If you notice any suspicious lumps on your dog’s paws, contact your veterinarian right once.

Final Thoughts

Overall, your dog’s need to chew and bite his nails is a signal that something is wrong.

This action should not be overlooked, whether it’s for a basic nail trim or a hint at anything more.

While these eight frequent disorders account for the majority of the reasons why your dog may be chewing excessively, there may be more causes that should be investigated by a veterinarian.

The first step in diagnosing your dog’s problem is to make a thorough list of their symptoms.

If you have a concern that you can’t handle, your next best option is to consult your veterinarian.

Consider these factors the next time you notice your dog chewing on his or her nails or paw!

Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it normal for dogs to chew their nails?

Grooming can cause dogs to bite their nails, especially if their nails are quite long and painful.
They do, however, bite more frequently for medical reasons, like as allergies, a skin disease or illness, or even anxiety. Biting may become a coping mechanism for a dog.

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

Boredom may lead to your dog eating his nails as well. Either can lead to compulsive behavior.
To keep him occupied, leave a nontoxic, cone-shaped rubber toy filled with unsalted, organic peanut butter and chunks of dog biscuit.
This will assist a dog in coping with anxiety or boredom.

Why does my dog chew his paws at night?

Excessive licking is a common coping mechanism for anxious dogs.
Separation concerns to obsessive-compulsive disorders are all possible causes of anxiety.
Paw-licking or chewing in dogs may be analogous to human nail-biting in this regard.
Before going to bed, some dogs lick their paws or lick themselves to sleep.

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