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Why Does My Dog Chew Their Nails? [COMMON REASONS]

Why Does My Dog Chew Their Nails? [COMMON REASONS]

Chewing nails could be seen as normal in humans, even though it is usually not advised since it is unhealthy. However, seeing a dog also chew its nails could become surprising. If your dog has been chewing its nails, you need to understand that it could indicate different things. Keep reading as we share more insight about this behavior.

When your dog bites or chews on their nails, it is usually a sign that something is troubling them around the paws. If it becomes a recurring issue, it might indicate that something more serious is on the way. Canine claw problems can also be identified by uncomfortable walking. 

Dogs utilize their teeth to know the root of many problems, and it is their sole way to get rid of itchiness. A veterinarian should treat nail-biting as it can result in bleeding and disease. Nail-chewing is not appealing to humans and is also not good for animals.

cut nail pawWhy Does My Dog Chew Their Nails?

Chewing of nails is a behavior that is quite normal in many dogs, and they often do it occasionally. Sometimes, a dog could chew its nails to groom itself. However, aside from grooming, some other reasons could make a dog chew its nails. Excessive chewing could indicate either a behavioral or medical problem with a dog. Some common causes for this behavior will be explained below.

Overgrown Nails

This is a common reason why dogs chew their nails. Lack of regular grooming could make your dog’s nails overgrown. So, when its nails are overgrown, it might experience some difficulties in walking, injuries, and pains.

In an attempt for the dog to reduce its nails, it could begin to chew the nails and sometimes be seen scratching its legs on the ground excessively. So, whenever you notice this, you need to confirm if your dog’s nails are overgrown.

Once this is confirmed, you can call on a professional groomer to help cut your dog’s nails or get a nail trimmer yourself. If you are doing it yourself, ensure you are very careful so the nail does not break or split. If it breaks, it could make your dog bleed and feel uncomfortable.


Another common reason that makes dogs chew their nails is allergies. Just like us humans, dogs are also allergic to certain things. Dog’s allergies could either be gotten from food, environment or even during a particular season. Common examples of dog allergies are grass, pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and dairy products.

So, when a dog has an allergic reaction, it could begin to develop itchiness on its skin and even around its toes. At a point like this, the dog could begin to bite its paws or chew its nails to relieve its symptoms. Other symptoms to watch out for include redness and inflammation of the skin, sneezing, vomiting, and constant licking.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog and suspect it has an allergic reaction, you will need to take the dog to a vet. The vet is best positioned to detect the allergy and give necessary treatments.


Fungal or bacterial infections could also cause a dog to chew its nails. Infections are usually an indication of other things that are yet to be treated in dogs. For instance, if a dog is injured, perhaps it has an open and untreated wound in its paws; the dog could begin to lick or chew its nails or paws to soothe itself.

In doing this, the implication is that the dog would worsen its condition, as it could lead to further exposure to the wound. When this happens, dirt, germs, and bacteria could easily enter its skin. A common sign to watch out for is redness and irritation of the dogs’ paws. If you ever notice this, it is best to take your dog to a vet before your dog’s condition worsens.


If a dog is not getting enough physical and mental stimulation daily, it could easily get bored. When it gets bored, it could be seen displaying some weird behaviors or engaging in something like chewing its nails to stay busy. This behavior is quite normal and even better than your dog engaging in some destructive behavior due to boredom.

However, to stop your dog from doing this, you could get some interactive toys to keep it busy. Regular daily exercise of about 30minutes minimum is also advised. After the exercise, the dog will likely sleep off, which is better than staying up and bored.


Just like humans, dogs also suffer from anxiety. One of the common signs of anxiety in dogs is biting or chewing their paws or nails. The cause of the anxiety could be due to loud noises, change of environment, seeing strangers, or even due to your absence from the house.

To ensure your dog has anxiety issues, watch out for other symptoms like destructive behavior, panting, and excessive barking alongside the nail chewing. To help such a dog, you need to consult a vet or a pet behaviorist for professional advice or training.

Why Does My Dog Bite His Nails?

A dog’s teeth function like its fingers. Dogs use their jaws and lips for scratching locations they cannot reach with their paws; the action of a dog biting is similar to that of a person scratching.

A dog biting his nails is trying to communicate that something in this area is bothering them. Fleas and ticks prefer to hide in the dark crevices of our pets. Ticks are particularly fond of the area between the toes of their paws, which can cause much pain. Check between your dog’s toes for any unwelcome ticks if you notice them biting their nails.

If you notice any ticks or other undesirable pests between their toes, take them to your veterinarian for a thorough removal. Flea dermatitis is another ailment that can cause itching. The presence of fleas causes red and itchy skin. Fleas can cause an allergic reaction, causing serious skin irritation and itching throughout the body.

Keeping your pet on tick or flea treatment monthly can help prevent secondary conditions caused by these unpleasant skin pests. Various skin problems might manifest around your dog’s nails and paws, causing biting or gnawing.

Demodectic mange is one of the most frequent skin disorders, often found on the paws. Chewing at their feet, secondary infections, and hair loss on the legs and paws are common symptoms of this skin disorder. Bacterial infections, allergy dermatitis, ringworm, and yeast overgrowth on the skin are other skin disorders in dogs that can cause paw and nail-biting.

dog veterinarian nailsDog Biting And Pulling Nails

Dogs bite and pull their nails for several reasons; one of the common reasons is that the dog is in severe pain. Your dog may be in discomfort or injured, so he is biting on his paws; you should examine the region he is licking to determine whether this is the case. Dogs who are in much pain may chew on their nails.

Dog paws are always touching the ground, putting them at risk of injury if they come into contact with sharp things, and dogs can also wander from different places if they are not restrained. As a result, injuries to the feet may result in chewing or biting the paws to reduce discomfort.

Also read: Why Does My Dog Bark at Nothing? 

Final Thoughts

Overall, your dog’s desire to chew its nails signals that something is wrong. This action should not be overlooked, whether for a basic manicure or a hint at anything more. 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 cannot handle, the best thing to do is to consult your veterinarian.

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