Why Does My Dog Bite and Pull His Nails?
Ralph is an absolute stickler for biting his nails / chewing his feet. When we first noticed it we thought something was wrong and we took him to the vets. We quickly found out he needed his nails trimming. Our first thoughts were that Ralph had anxiety or depression and used this as a way of soothing his problems. When humans bite their nails, this is often the case. They do it as a really bad habit or a way of getting through a challenging / difficult situation they don’t feel comfortable.
In Dogs, paw biting / licking can be a sign of a more serious physical illness. Assuming it is normal for your dog to bite their feet is what many dog owners do, but do not be fooled. Your dog could have, what is known as, an Inhalant Allergy. Similar to human hay fever, an inhalant allergy in your dog causes repetitive nail biting, scratching and itching mainly around the paws and nails. The itching becomes too much for your dog, so they bite and pull their nails. By doing this, your dog can then increase the chance of further infection due to the moisture in the saliva. Continually biting and pulling at the nails can become a more serious problem and you quickly need to stop your dog from doing it.
Inhalant Allergies generally occur in the spring / summer time (seasonal time) however, within dogs this can quickly become a non-seasonal allergy as well. If your dog does this daily then there may be further issues. Check for staining around your dog feet as this is caused by Saliva and is the biggest sign that your dog has an inhalant allergy.
As a human, if my hands and feet were constantly itching I would seek medical help. This should be the same for your dog. Contact your vet immediately when you see this happening as catching it early can be a positive sign. Things can be done to prevent itchy paws and you need to make sure you get the right help and treatment necessary.
Five Reasons Why Your Dog Bites his Nails
Like cats, dogs like to groom themselves and biting there nails is part of this grooming process. Broken nails and irritating nail clippings become a small problem for your dog and they tend to bite them off. When biting and licking becomes more than a grooming experience then something is seriously upsetting your dog and could be more serious.
Your dog could be biting or licking for many different reasons. Firstly check your dogs paws in case something is stuck and bothering them. It could be as simple as a stone or a bit of dirt they cant seem to shift. If it looks clean, then it could be one of these 5 reasons.
Why Does My Dog Bite His Nail: 5 Reasons Why
- Long Nails
Dogs, like humans, generally bit their nails if they are too long. Biting them off will make them feel comfortable. How can you test if the dogs nail need cutting? If your dog walks into a carpeted room or a laminated floor and you hear scratching, pulling or tapping, then it’s time to get them cut.
Walking your dog regularly on concrete helps break any loose bits of nails off and also keep them shorter. When your dog’s nails get quite long, your dog can start biting and chewing them.If your dog regularly chews then then this could be a more serious issue.
Trimming your dogs nails yourself is quite difficult but one that can be done with practice. If you do struggle, then take your dog to the groomers
- Broken Nails
Broken toe nails on dogs are difficult to see / find. If they break near the base of the nail, it can become irritable and uncomfortable for your dog as it’s still slightly attached to your dog’s skin. This can make your dog chew its feet even more. Don’t let your dog continue chewing, biting and / or licking as it may become infected and cause longer term problems.
- Outdoor Allergies
Pollen, food or grass are common allergies your dogs can pick up. They can make your dog itchy and cause chewing of their paws. These allergies do cause itchy paws and your dog to start chewing and licking their feet. Saliva from your dog can then cause further fungal infection or secondary bacteria’s making it doubly important to cure before it’s too late. If the infection re-occurs the it can become extremely serious and vet bills become more and more expensive. You should ensure you have a good doggie insurance.
Dogs are very sensitive creatures so much so they can easily become anxious. Separation anxiety or stress can have your dog chewing its nails to overcome this. Just like humans, it is used as a way of relieving any stress by distraction.
Keep your dog entertained and in a strict routine. Regular walks and trips to the park will also help keep your dog from being bored. A good walking routine with a regular long-distance walk will help you and your dog bond better.
Dogs will bite their nails for many reasons, boredom being one of them. To help ensure that your dog is not suffering with an allergy, take them for regular walks, play with them often and monitor the nail biting.
If high, constant, levels of nail biting continue after increasing the activities with your dog then seek vet advice.