Dogs groom themselves by licking themselves. On occasion they may even 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 pooch to the veterinarian to determine whether a fungal infection or allergy is causing irritation, then over to a groomer for a nail-clipping.
Time for a Grooming
Some dog owners take grooming for granted. Keeping your dog's nails trimmed neatly is important. 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 him to a groomer to ensure his nails are trimmed correctly.
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. Talk to your veterinarian to determine what is triggering your pooch's allergic reaction.
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. An exposed and untreated wound may lead to infection and make your dog itch. Check to see if his nails are red, swollen or sensitive to touch. You will have to take your pooch to the veterinarian for treatment with an antibiotic.
Anxiety or Boredom
Some people chew their nails out of anxiety, and some dogs also do the same. Whether because of separation anxiety or stress over certain events or his surroundings, your dog may take to chewing on his nails to relieve his nervousness. Your dog might take to chewing his nails out of boredom, too. Either can become compulsive. Consider leaving a nontoxic, cone-shaped rubber toy filled with unsalted, organic peanut butter and pieces of dog biscuit so he can keep himself busy. Doing so will help a dog cope with anxiety or boredom.
By Vivian Gomez
WebMD: Nail Care Tips for Dogs
WebMD: Trimming Dog Nails and Dewclaws
Why Do Dogs Drink out of the Toilet?- 101 of the Most Perplexing Questions Answered About Canine Conundrums, Medical Mysteries and Befuddling Behaviors; Marty Becker D.V.M, Gina Spadafori; 2006
About the Author
Vivian Gomez contributes to Retailing Today, the Daily Puppy, Paw Nation and other websites. She's covered the New York Comic Con for NonProductive since 2009 and writes about everything from responsible pet ownership to comic books to the manner in which smart phones are changing the way people shop. Gomez received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Pace University.