Why do dogs bite or chew their nails? 8 common reasons

Dogs use their teeth to get to the bottom of many problems, as this is their only resource to relieve itching or another discomfort in their bodies. When you see your puppy biting or chewing on the nails, it usually indicates something that is bothering them on the paws. If this becomes a chronic problem, it could be a sign that something is brewing.

Whenever your dog behaves strangely, you should pay attention to it. When biting or chewing your nails, it is also important to pay attention to other non-standard behaviors, e.g. B. eating less or not being so energetic in her family.

So what can make a pet feel uncomfortable on its paws? Although there are many potential problems, this article will cover some of the most common reasons why your dog may be chewing its nails!

Biting and chewing in general

For us, a dog’s teeth are like our fingers. Understandably, if you imagine having your fingers unavailable and feeling itchy all day long that you can’t relive, it would lead to insanity.

Because dogs don’t have hands and fingers as we do, they rely on teeth and mouths to scratch areas they can’t reach with their paws. A dog that bites and chews is the same act as scratching and picking a person.

A dog that bites and chews on its nails tries to tell us that something in this area causes them some form of discomfort. So what are some reasons for this behavior?

It’s time to visit the groomer

If a dog chews on its nails or paws, it can simply mean that it needs a nail cut! If a dog’s nails become too long, this can make daily activities difficult. When the nails are overgrown, long nails can put pressure on the paw pad and cause discomfort when walking.

Overgrown nails can even penetrate your skin and cause severe pain and infection. Long nails can also increase the likelihood of nail injuries, which can be incredibly painful. Regularly cut nails prevent complications and ensure that your puppy feels well.

In some cases, extremely fluffy dogs are disturbed by the overgrowth of hair on their paws. Some dogs have thick feathers around their paws and legs that can get caught between their toes. This could be compared to the feeling of a thick cord that is bothering your foot in your sock. It’s not unbearable, but definitely annoying! This can also be achieved by regular hair removal from your dog.

When you see your furry friend licking and chewing on your nails, you should first check whether you can make an appointment with the snow groomer or find a way to do it yourself at home. This is usually the least painful and cheapest solution. So start here first.


Dog allergies

Allergies can cause incredible discomfort for your dog friend. Skin allergies are known to cause itching, swelling, redness, and pain in more severe cases. Some allergies your puppy may have are:

Grass allergies: It is known that some unfortunate puppies have allergies to the grass they are exposed to every day. Puppies come in from their time outside and are very itchy and bite and chew their paws for relief. Just as the itching subsides, they are exposed to the grass again on their next trip outside. Grass allergies can make dogs really miserable. As a rule, you can remedy this by using a puppy shampoo for sensitive skin or a dog shampoo made from oatmeal.

Food allergies: Food allergies can often occur as skin redness and itching. While most puppies feel itchy all over, they also bite their paws to relieve their symptoms.

Outdoor/seasonal allergens: Just like humans, some puppies suffer from seasonal allergies, depending on the allergen present in the environment. These puppies often seem fine one day and get itchy at certain times of the year. Your feet can itch especially if the allergen is present in your grass.

If you think your dog has mild allergies, you can add Benadryl to their daily schedule after talking to their vet about their use. Benadryl is an antihistamine used to relieve symptoms of minor allergies. Therefore, it has brought comfort to many puppies suffering from itching from seasonal allergens.

The recommended dose for Benadryl in dogs is 1 mg per pound. (Example: 25 mg for a 25-pound dog)

Skin infections

Dog skin infection

The area between a dog’s toes is the perfect environment to brew an infection. If you add moisture to the mixture, e.g. B. licking paws and nails, this is a recipe for disaster. As soon as dogs experience itching or discomfort in an area, they lick and bite the area to “relive the problem”. The more they bite and chew, the more damage they actually cause in the affected area.

This action often leads to severe skin irritation and sores on the paws, which can easily become infected with dirt and germs on the floor. If the area around your dog’s nails and paws look red and irritated, you should visit your veterinarian before the situation worsens. The vet will often let your pet start with antibiotics, send home a topical spray for the affected area, and an e-collar to prevent your puppy from additionally licking.

Another factor to consider is the possibility of foreign bodies in the paw or around the nail. Blades of grass, foxtails or other plant or stick material can easily get stuck in your dog’s paw. This is often accompanied by chewing on the paws, swelling, redness, and limping. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, have your vet examine it as soon as possible.


Dog fear

Chewing and biting the nails can be a sign of fear or boredom in your furry friend. People often bite their nails or fingers when they’re scared, and that’s no different with an anxious puppy. Whether it’s due to your absence, a change in your environment, or out of boredom; It can become a compulsive problem that can lead to complications later.

If it appears that this always happens when your puppy is alone or without entertainment, you can try offering stimulating toys and activities. This can include a Kong toy with treats inside, a food bowl that leads them to look for nibbles in hidden compartments, or a healthy bone to chew on while you’re away.

If your puppy shows other signs of fear, such as destructive behavior, urinating at home, pace, wheezing, or other symptoms; it can be related to more severe anxiety disorders. Dogs can sometimes develop an obsessive-compulsive disorder with paw chewing. So if this is a chronic problem for which you don’t seem to find relief, call your veterinarian. They can help you implement new anxiety relief measures and prescribe anxiety medication if needed.

Fleas and ticks

Dogs scratch nails because of fleas & ticks

Fleas and ticks like to hide in the dark crevices of our beloved puppies. Ticks especially love the area between the toes on their paws and can cause great discomfort. If you see your dog chewing on the nails or toes, be sure to look for unwanted fleas or ticks between the toes and the paw pads! If you see ticks or unwanted pests between your toes, you should see your veterinarian to properly remove them. It can be difficult to completely remove ticks, and parts of her body often remain on the skin when removed. Your veterinarian can show you how to properly remove these unwanted friends.

Another condition that can cause itching is flea dermatitis. This is characterized by red and itchy skin with or without fleas. Fleas can cause an allergic reaction that causes severe skin irritation and itching all over the body. If your dog has fleas and chews on nails and paws, this may be due to this itchy condition.

Keeping your pet on monthly flea and tick prevention can avoid secondary conditions from these troublesome skin creatures! There are many different ways you can use to treat fleas, and topical solutions are some of the most common treatments for fleas and ticks.

Nail injury

Dog nail injury

Dogs are not rid of broken nails. With how active our dogs can be, they often suffer nail injuries at least once in their life. This can easily happen if the nail gets caught on something or the nails are torn by some kind of force. This can often be incredibly painful and cause a dog to lick the affected nail to relieve the pain. Some other signs that may occur in connection with a nail injury are:

  • Lick paw and nail
  • Swelling around the nail
  • Redness around the nail
  • Blood on the paw or on the carpet on which they were standing.
  • limp
  • Paw sensitivity
  • You must not examine your paw

If you think your dog has a nail injury, it is important that you get it immediately checked by your veterinarian. It is known that these injuries get infected quickly and can cause severe pain to your puppy. If left untreated, infections can harm your dog’s overall health or even be fatal. This is especially true of the dog’s hostility to the arch – the foxtail plant if it sticks in its paws.

Skin conditions and mange

Dog with mange

There is a list of various skin conditions that can appear around your dog’s paws and nails, which can lead to chewing or biting on the paws. One of these common skin conditions is demodectic mange, which can often be located on the paws. This often leads to hair loss on the paws and legs, chewing on the feet, and possible secondary infections of the feet by chewing.

To properly diagnose this condition, your veterinarian will scratch your skin. This involves scraping the skin with a small blade and viewing the skin tissue under a microscope. Once diagnosed, your puppy can be given medicinal baths, oral medication, or injections to correct the condition. It depends on the severity of your puppy case, which treatment method you choose.

Some other skin diseases in dogs that can cause nail and paw chewing to include allergy dermatitis, skin yeast growth, bacterial infections, and ringworm. Some of these conditions can make your dog very smelly, making it a little easier to point out. It is important that you consult your veterinarian immediately if you assume that your dog is deficient.

Growth on the paw

Dog with nail problems due to growth on the paw

One of the less common reasons for chewing nails and paws is the presence of growths or masses on the paw. Occasionally, dogs can develop interdigital cysts (cysts between the toes), masses around the nails, or abscesses on the nails due to previous injuries. While lumps and bumps are less common, it’s important to be aware of this. If you see any lumps on your puppy paws, have your vet take a look as soon as possible.

Final thoughts

Overall, your puppy’s urge to chew and bite its nails is one way to tell you something is going on. Whether it’s time for a simple nail cut or a hint for something more, this action shouldn’t be ignored. While these 8 common conditions are a good part of the reason your puppy chews repeatedly, there are other reasons that should be examined by a veterinarian.

The first step in diagnosing your puppy’s problem is to take a careful inventory of the symptoms. If you have concerns that you cannot address, it is best to go straight to your veterinarian. The next time you find that your dog friend is chewing nails or paws, consider the possible reasons above!


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