Why Do Dogs Eat Fingernails

The teeth of a dog are comparable to our fingers. Imagine being unable to use your fingers and feeling itchiness the entire day that you are unable to relive. That would naturally result in insanity.

Dogs use their teeth and mouths to scratch areas they can’t reach with their paws because they don’t have hands and fingers like humans do. A dog biting and chewing is similar to a person picking and scratching.

A dog who is biting and chewing on their nails is trying to inform us that there is some kind of discomfort in this area. What are some of the causes of this conduct, then?

It’s Time To Visit The Groomer

It may only be necessary to cut a dog’s nails if they are biting at their paws or nails. A dog’s daily tasks may become more challenging if its nails grow out too long. Long nails that are overgrown may press against the paw pad and cause discomfort while they walk.

Infections and excruciating pain can result from severely overgrown nails that even start to dig into the flesh. Long nails may also raise your risk of suffering a painful nail damage. Regular nail trimming helps to avoid any issues and keeps your dog feeling their best.

Extremely fluffy dogs may occasionally experience paw hair overgrowth. Some dogs have dense feathering around their paws and legs, and this thick feathering can become caught between their toes. This might be like having a heavy string annoy your foot when it’s within your sock. Although it’s not intolerable, it is surely unpleasant! Additionally, you can control this by frequently deshedding your dog.

The first thing you should do if you notice your pet licking and chewing at their nails is to see whether it’s their way of signaling you to schedule a grooming appointment or discover a way to DIY at home! Start here initially since it is typically the easiest and least expensive place to address the issue.


Your dog pal may experience excruciating suffering as a result of allergies. Itching, swelling, redness, and pain are common symptoms of more severe skin allergies. Among the allergies your dog may experience are:

Some unfortunate puppies have been known to experience allergies to the grass they come into contact with every day. After spending time outside, puppies may endure intense itching and turn to biting and chewing their paws for comfort. On their subsequent journey outside, they are exposed to the grass once more just as the itching starts to go away. Allergic reactions to grass can cause dogs to suffer greatly. Typically, you can use an oatmeal-based dog shampoo or a puppy shampoo for sensitive skin to aid with this.

Food allergies: Skin redness and itching are frequent symptoms of food allergies. While most puppies will itch all over, some will also bite at their paws in an effort to get rid of the discomfort.

Outdoor/seasonal allergens: Similar to people, certain dogs might develop seasonal allergies based on the allergens that are prevalent in the surrounding area. These pups frequently appear healthy one day and then develop severe itching at particular times of the year. In the event that your grass contains the allergen, their feet may become very itchy.

After consulting your veterinarian about its use, you can add Benadryl to your dog’s regular regimen if you believe they are suffering from minor allergies. Many dogs experiencing discomfort from seasonal allergens have found relief in Benadryl, an antihistamine used to ease the symptoms of mild allergies.

For dogs, 1 mg of Benadryl per pound is the suggested dosage. (For instance, 25 mg for a 25 lb dog)

Skin Infections

The space in between a dog’s toes is ideal for the growth of infections. It’s a formula for catastrophe if moisture is added, such as through licking the paws or nails. Dogs will lick and bite at the affected region when they are itchy or uncomfortable in an attempt to “relive the condition.” They actually do more harm to the affected area by biting and chewing more.

As a result of their exposure to dirt and bacteria on the ground, these sores on the paws readily become infected and frequently cause significant skin irritation. It’s recommended to consult your veterinarian before things worsen if the area around your dog’s nails and paws appears red and irritated. The veterinarian will frequently start your pet on antibiotics, send home a topical treatment for the infected region, and give your dog an E-collar to stop further licking.

The likelihood of foreign material in the paw or around the nail should also be taken into account. Any kind of plant or stick material, including grass blades and foxtails, can readily get stuck in your dog’s paw. This is frequently accompanied by limping, chewing at the paws, and swelling and redness. Have your dog checked out by a vet as soon as you notice any of these signs.


While there are many signs of anxiousness, your furry friend’s chewing or biting of the nails may indicate uneasiness or boredom. An anxious dog will bite its nails or fingers, much like an anxious person will. Whether it’s because of your absence, a shift in their environment, or boredom, it can develop into an obsessive issue that could lead to issues in the future.

If it seems that your dog always acts in this way when left alone or without stimulation, you can try providing them with exciting toys and pursuits. This may be a Kong toy with treats inside, a bowl of food with kibbles concealed in compartments, or a bone for them to gnaw on while you’re gone.

If your dog exhibits additional worrying symptoms, such as destructive behavior, urinating indoors, pacing, or panting, it may be an indication of more serious anxiety problems. Paw chewing in dogs can occasionally lead to an obsessive-compulsive disorder, so if this is a persistent issue for which you are unable to find a solution, consult your veterinarian. They can provide you with new strategies to reduce anxiety and, if necessary, prescribe anxiety medication.

Fleas and Ticks

On our cherished dogs, fleas and ticks tend to hide out in shadowy corners. Ticks particularly enjoy the area between the toes on a person’s paws, which may be extremely uncomfortable. Check your dog’s paw pads and between their toes for any unwelcome fleas or ticks if you notice them gnawing at their nails or toes. It is essential to consult your veterinarian for proper removal if you do notice any ticks or other undesirable parasites in between their toes. Ticks can be difficult to entirely remove, and when they are, pieces of their bodies are frequently left on the skin. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to effectively remove these unwanted pets.

Flea dermatitis is another ailment that can make you scratch. This is distinguished by red, itchy skin that has previously or currently been infested by fleas. Fleas can cause an allergic reaction that causes severe skin rashes and intense itching across the entire body. If your dog is biting at their paws and nails and has fleas, it may be because of this itchy condition.

Any secondary conditions brought on by these bothersome skin pests can be avoided by keeping your pet on monthly flea and tick prevention! The most popular methods for treating fleas and ticks are topical remedies. There are many various ways to get rid of fleas.

Nail Injury

Dogs might get damaged nails as well. Given how busy they can be, our dogs frequently suffer from nail injuries at least once during their lifetimes. This can easily occur if a person’s nail gets trapped on something or if force of any type causes their nails to break. A dog may lick at the afflicted nail in an effort to relieve the discomfort because this is frequently excruciatingly unpleasant. The following are some additional indications of a nail injury:

  • the paw and the nail
  • edema surrounding the nail
  • a rosy area around the nail
  • Blood on the paw, or where they stood, on the carpet.
  • Limping
  • sensitive paws
  • refusing to let you look at their paw

It’s crucial to get your dog checked out by your veterinarian as soon as you suspect a nail issue. These wounds are known to spread infection quickly and can cause your dog much suffering. Infections can impair your dog’s general health or could be lethal if left untreated. This is particularly true of the foxtail plant, the dog’s adversary, when it becomes lodged in their paws.

Skin Conditions and Mange

Several potential skin problems that can develop around your dog’s paws and nails and cause gnawing or biting at the paws are listed below. Demodectic mange, one of these typical skin disorders, frequently affects the paws. Hair loss on the paws and legs, gnawing at their feet, and potential secondary infections on the feet are common symptoms of this.

Your veterinarian will conduct a skin scrape to accurately identify this illness. In order to do this, the skin must be scraped with a tiny blade, and the skin tissue must be examined under a microscope. Once the problem has been identified, your dog may benefit from medicated baths, oral medicine, or injections to help treat it. The type of treatment your pup will select will depend on how serious their condition is.

Yeast overgrowth on the skin, bacterial infections, and ringworm are a few other skin diseases in dogs that can cause them to chew on their nails and paws. Some of these ailments can cause your dog to smell extremely bad, making them a little simpler to spot. If you suspect that your dog has mange, it’s critical to contact your veterinarian right once.

Growths on the Paw

The existence of any growths or lumps on the paw is one of the less frequent causes of gnawing at the nails and paws. Dogs occasionally get lumps around their nails, abscesses on their nails, or interdigital cysts (cysts between their toes). Even if lumps and bumps are less frequent, it’s still vital to be aware of them. Ask your veterinarian to take a quick look at any suspicious lumps you notice on your dog’s paws.

What causes my dog to gnaw on my fingernails?

When getting groomed, dogs may bite their nails, particularly if they have long, painful nails. However, they frequently bite more due to medical conditions like allergies, infections, skin conditions, or even worry.

“Skin conditions can exist on the paws and toes.

We frequently encounter them there, “According to Denver’s Goodheart Animal Health Center’s medical director, Beth Spencer, DVM, POPSUGAR. “Because their feet touch everything, nail biting frequently has a connection to allergies they’ve gathered while out and about.”

The chief veterinarian for PetCoach, Christie Long, DVM, concurred that environmental allergens are typically to blame for dogs’ tendency to bite their nails. According to her, allergens “stimulate a hypersensitive response, which culminates in inflammation.” A dog may bite in order to feel better.

Dr. Spencer also mentioned that dogs who bite their nails may have anxiety, particularly if they also exhibit other signs of anxiousness like cowering or pacing.

Do dogs do their own nail trimming?

Your dog may be biting his nails in an attempt to trim them down if they are too long.

When the puppy is standing still, the nails should barely touch the ground.

It’s time to clip their nails if your dog starts clicking on your kitchen floor. When some dogs’ nails naturally break while they’re walking, this is obviously not the case if your dog is gnawing them.

If it’s too difficult for you to do it yourself, take your dog to the groomer or vet and have them do it for you.

Why does my dog keep attempting to remove his nail?

A medical or behavioral issue that may be impacting your dog is frequently the cause of nail biting.

Without adequate care and maintenance, your dog’s nails may become overly long and make walking uncomfortable or even painful. Fractures and other injuries can be caused by overgrown nails.

Because discomfort might arise from an injury or trauma to the toes or claws, your dog may give extra attention to this region. Accidents, routine digging activities, or catching on carpets can all lead to claw damage.

The comfort of your pet may be jeopardized by claw illnesses that cause the nails to grow unnaturally (onychodystrophy), to become inflamed (onychitis or paronychia), or to soften and split (onychomalacia and onychoschizia). Tumors can develop in between the toes of your dog’s feet as a result of cancer.

Numerous additional medical disorders, such as interdigital cysts, hypothyroidism, hypoadrenocorticism, diabetes, or vasculitis, can make your dog overly attentive to his claws and toes. The symmetric lupoid onychodystrophy (SLO), which affects the claws, and pemphigus vulgaris, which results in skin blisters, are two autoimmune illnesses that can affect the claws.

Fungal infections often affect just one or two nails, leaving them rough and sandpaper-like or abnormally soft. They are frequently caused by dermatophytes or yeast paronychia. Ringworm, which also causes skin rashes and hair loss in other places, might harm your dog’s claws.

These are typically a complication of another ailment and are distinguished by swollen, leaking, and shattered claws. One afflicted claw is most likely the result of trauma, whereas numerous infected claws indicate other underlying medical conditions. Fever and mood swings can also be symptoms of these diseases.

The nails on your dog can develop unnaturally and swell as a result of many parasites. The most typical case of demodex mites, which generally reside on the skin, is called demodicosis. These mites can overpopulate when the body is already compromised due to another medical issue, leading to infections and claw deformity. Claws may grow more quickly or unnaturally as a result of hookworms. If your dog has the parasite Leishmania, his claws may get thicker or curve.

Dogs frequently nibble on their toes and nails due to allergies. Your dog can react negatively to fleas, mold, or pollen. Itching between the toes and near the nail beds can also be brought on by food sensitivities.

Like people, our dogs might get bored if they aren’t stimulated enough. Your dog could develop undesirable behaviors, such as gnawing its nails, as a way to pass the time.

During times of extreme worry, many dogs might start destructive habits like gnawing on their nails. Self-traumatizing behaviors can be brought on by confinement, phobias, and separation anxiety.

Frenetic behaviours that occur repeatedly and excessively are symptoms of compulsive disorders. They can be caused by alterations in daily routines, alterations in the surroundings, abuse, illness, loneliness, the death of a companion, or a lack of socialization. Their existence frequently indicates a dog who is unduly frustrated or worried.