Dog Chews Nails

When your dog chews his nails, this may point to a behavioral problem or a medical condition. However, nail chewing is uncommon in dogs. If you notice your dog displays this type of behavior, you will have to get veterinary help.

Causes of Dog Chewing Nails

Dog nail chewing is not a common behavior. However, if this occurs, it may be due to:

  • Stress and anxiety, which can manifest in various other ways
  • Allergies, which will make the dog’s skin itchy and the dog can also become stressed, chewing on his nails; the allergic reactions may be caused by grass, pollens, food ingredients or various other factors in the pet’s environment
  • Boredom
  • Lack of grooming; if the dog’s nails are not trimmed on a regular basis, the nails may cause discomfort, especially when the dog walks; in some cases, if you fail to trim the dog’s nails, this will result in back pain
  • Infections affecting the paw or nails
  • An injury to the paw
  • A splinter stuck in the paw

Symptoms of Nail Chewing

The dog can present a series of other symptoms that may make the diagnosis procedure easier. Depending on what causes the nail chewing and biting, the dog may also display:

  • Hiding behavior, which can point to stress
  • Chewing other object and carpets in the house, which may point to stress or boredom; in this case, the dog may also eliminate in the house and bark or display other destructive behaviors
  • Red, swollen paws and nails
  • The paws and nails may be tender to the touch
  • Puss accumulation in the area, which indicate that there is an infection present
  • Scratching, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharges, indicative for allergies
  • Cracks and chips in the nails, especially if the nails are not trimmed for a longer period of time

Diagnosing the Pet

The diagnosis will consist of an examination of the paws and the nails. Skin scraping tests and allergy testing may be needed as well.

If your dog is stressed, the vet will typically rule out the other possible causes before reaching this diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Dog Nail Chewing

The treatment will depend on what the vet finds during the diagnosis and may be made up of:

  • Antibiotics, if there is an infection present; these may be administered both topically and orally. Oral antibiotics are only required if the infection is serious
  • Provide more affection for your pet if he suffers from anxiety and stress; if your pet is left alone in the house, make sure to leave the radio on, so that he won’t get bored
  • Exercise your dog to prevent boredom
  • Administer antihistamines or corticosteroids for allergies or make a change in the pet’s diet if he has food allergies; steroid creams may also be applied to relive the itchiness
  • Trim the dog’s nails regularly; if you are not skilled at this, you can take your pet to a grooming salon.