why do dogs bite their nails

Why Do Dogs Bite Their Nails?

It is interesting getting to know that dogs do nail-biting! For humans, it’s considered being ill-mannered. In this article, you are going to come across all possible reasons why your pooch is likely to practice nail bites.

Top 6 Reasons Why Dogs Bite Their Nails

1. Nervousness

Did you know that dogs get nervous? Well, know you are updated. Getting to experience something new gets dogs nervous, just like humans. Dogs struggle to adjust to getting comfortable when moved from their familiar home to a new strange place (separation anxiety). In the process of trying to adjust to the new-normal, the dog is likely to bite the nails.

2. Boredom

It’s not healthy to let the dog stay for long hours alone. It causes boredom. When your dog gets bored, they are likely to resume nail-biting to break down the dull moments. If you’re not able to spend quality time with your dog, it’s best for you to find simple methods to keep the dog occupied. Keeping dogs busy, prevents them from engaging in destructive activities. You can buy the toys to keep the pooch going when you are busy. When you have time, taking a walk together, playing a fan game like fetch can be awesome.

3. Grooming

If you find your pup biting and chewing nails. It is a possible sign that days have piled-up since you last gave a visit to the groomer. Forgetting to let the groomer work on your dog’s nails is very easy. That is why it is advisable to note essential details in your pet diary. It helps in ensuring regular check-ups don’t go unattended. And some simple procedures are not skipped like visiting the groomer, which needs to be undertaken after a few weeks to avoid accidental scratching, which can cause bleeding if the nails are long.

4. Fungal Infection

If your pup contracts a fungal infection. It is likely to bite the nails to ease irritation. The fungal infection finds the between toes, the most suitable place to breed and multiply. Since most of the time, the toes get wet providing a moisturized condition. Also, when the dog cleans-up the feet, it uses saliva. And do you know what happens? It rolls off to the toe area. Creating a time ticking bomb… When the infection sets in, the dog will be biting the nails most of the time due to the disease’s irritation. You should consult a vet before the situation gets worse to an extent where your dog gets it hard to walk, leave alone running. In severe cases, the fungal manifested area starts bleeding due to frequent scratching and biting.

An important point to note: Symmetrical Lupoid onychodystrophy (SLO) is an autoimmune disease caused by bacterial or a fungal claw infection. Also, the condition can be genetic. It gives your pup the urge to bite their nails. The disease prevents essential nutrients from getting to the nails and making the nails irritate, leading to the scratching feeling, which your pup soothes by biting the nails. The condition leads to nails breakage. Even worse, the nail can get plucked off. It is best if you see a consistent nail-biting pattern to let the vet check on what the issue could be.

5. Nail Injury

Have you ever experienced a broken nail? If yes, you clearly understand what I am talking about. And if not, the feeling is horrible. The pain involved when walking! Wow, it makes you appreciate your healthy nails if you have never appreciated them before. Let’s get back to your dog on how it behaves if it has a nail injury. Nail pain can get overwhelming. As a way of soothing the pain, the dog will most of the time, rub, bite the nails due to the irritation from the injured nail. Did you know when dogs break their nail, they try removing the cracked piece which can cause more pain, if any? …Yes, they do it just like humans. But, the problem is, there is a high possibility they are likely to do it in a wrong way.

If you find your pup biting the nail like they are plucking something off, you better ensure the right procedure is being followed before the dog does it by himself. 

Here come some signals that your pup is experiencing a nail injury: 

  • Limping, swelling around the affected nail, which after some few days, starts turning red, and when you try to have a look on what’s happening to the feet, the dog gets defensive. 
  • Another sign is some bloodstain on the dog’s spot. It shows that the injury is quite severe. It would be best if you immediately visit a vet to remedy the situation.

Possible Reasons for a Nail Injury

  • Dog owners sometimes try to do nail grooming at home. If you are not a specialist, it’s better if you let the task be conducted by the pro. 
  • Dogs can sometimes decide not to corporate in the middle of the nail cutting procedure. If you try forcing things out, and the clipper slips, you end-up with an injured nail. 
  • Your dog’s nail long or short (but in most cases long) can get hooked on a random object. Be it grass, string, or by knocking the nail on a hard surface when playing or running over something.

Effects of untreated nail injury

If the affected area is not treated and taken care of properly. Your dog’s general health is at risk. 

  • From getting unable to walk. To swollen feet, which in most cases forms a purse. Biting the nails and scratching, making the feet bleeding. More infection settings in which can quickly lead to the death of the pup. And am 100% sure you are not ready for this, and you won’t wish your cute adorable dog to go through this terrible experience. If you see any weird feet habit, you need to take it seriously.

6. Allergies

Have you ever experienced an allergic reaction? If yes, you understand how the situation worsens within minutes. For the first few days before discovering a remedy to an allergic reaction, things can get thick since the situation moves from bad to worse within a few minutes. And if not taken care of immediately, it ends up being a medical emergency.

The good news is that: Allergies once identified (diagnosed), a preventive measure can be taken to prevent the attack from striking again.

If your pup keeps contacting numerous minor allergies, you can avail Benadryl drug (an antihistamine) at your disposal. And make a routine of giving your dog a daily dosage.

Signs of an allergic reaction

  • Nail-biting due to an irritation, eyes redness, coughing, swelling causing boil like reactions.
  • If your dog is all happy and full of energy, and the next minute it seems sick and the situation is moving from bad to worse in minutes. High chances are your dog is experiencing an allergic attack. You need to consult a vet immediately.

Common Causes of Allergy

Food: It feels quite sad to realize that a particular food is making your pup sick. It is best if you discover early enough and drop the meal to help your dear dog enjoy a healthy life.

Signs food reactions include General body itchinesswhich results in scratching and pawing to relieve the irritation—skin swelling and turning reddish.  

Grass: This one is worse than even a food allergy!Can you get to imagine that your adorable pup can’t enjoy the tender, soft grass texture when having an outdoor fun day! Anyway, it’s heartbreaking, but it does happen.

Signs of grass reaction include Intense itchiness, which makes your dog scratch while biting the nails and pawing severely with the intention of easing the irritation. If you don’t control the situation as first as possible, the dog is likely to end up bleeding.

You can home remedy the situation by Bathing your pup using (pup shampoo for sensitive skin or dog shampoo oatmeal). If you are busy, you can apply on the skin of the dog then do the washing later. Since it will remedy the situation either way instead of waiting and letting your pup hurt.

Dust: Dust can get irritating to even dogs. Can you imagine going out with your pup and coming back all sick due to dust reaction! It is so sad!

Signs of dust reaction include Swollen or reddish eyes, which causes severe itchiness—making your pup scratch the face while biting the nails trying to relieve the burning sensation. You should avoid dusty areas if your pup does react with dust to help him/her stay safe and healthy.   

Pollen: It is a bit easy to control contact pollen compared to grass and dust.

Most plants that contain potent pollen, which pups or even humans react with, are mostly found at the farm. For example, Napier grass and maize plants making it easy to restrict your dog from getting near the allergy-causing components.  

Signs of pollen reaction include Coughing, which comes with a choking feeling. Also, watery reddish eyes, plus an itching and irritating sensation. Making your pup scratch the face while biting the nails and pawing. To calm the situation down. Since it feels better when scratching. If the pup steps on pollen, already on the ground, it is likely to react on the feet, whichwill lead to severe scratching and biting of the nails. Also, you can identify that your pup is suffering from a pollen reaction if the attacks come in a specific season during the year when a given plant is likely at the flowering stage. The best solution for this condition is to avoid pollen contaminated areas if you can. To facilitate good health for your dear pup.

Effects Of Long Nails

  • Long nails make your dog’s daily routine hard. For example, when your pooch is playing, the nails get tangled on grass or woven materials.
  • Discomfort when walking. When the nails get long, they grow curving-wards, causing pressure to the paw pad, making moving a real hustle.
  • Dog breeds that grow a lot of furs can find it hard when they have long nails. Imagine the feeling when putting on socks and a piece of thread twist and hold itself tight between the toes! Woeful right? Yes, that is what it feels like when fur gets stuck at the paws of your pup.

That being said, you need to be very strict in following regular procedure without letting some slide with the idea of being less critical.

The reason why it is essential to let the groomer work on the nails and not you to do at home is, the groomer has all the necessary equipment to work on the nails and leave them healthy without causing injuries. Plus, if the nails have any condition that can escalate to something dangerous, they know how to fix it before it worsens. In addition to that, they have experience of working on dogs’ nails, making them feel smooth and grow healthy.Once your dog’s nails are attended, you can’t imagine how happy they get. They feel fresh and rejuvenated.

Tips on how to stop the nail-biting habit

Nail-biting for dogs is considered a regular practice that doesn’t need to raise eyebrows. But, when it happens several times a day, it starts getting more than just a habit. Moving to the next level of being named a disorder. At this stage, you need to contact a vet on the best way forward. 

The best home remedy technique on how to deal with the nail-biting include:

  • Cutting your pooch’s nails short. It not only keeps the hygiene standards of your pooch high, but it’s also a safety measure. When doing the cutting, use a disinfectant and clean water (warm or cold), but I will go for warm water to clean the nails.

If you always keep the nails of your pooch short, for example, when they are scratching, chances of bleeding are low. Also, a short nail makes humans-dog play safe. 


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