Dogs are very similar to humans in terms of having habits that can sometimes be relatable or at times seem odd. Nail-biting is obviously a human habit, commonly associated with stress, anxiety and/or boredom, but is also a habit of many dogs. In this post I will be answering why dogs engage in this behaviour and whether or not you should do anything to stop it, depending on how often your dog is engaging in this behaviour and the reason for it.
Cause of the Behaviour and Solutions:
This behaviour is common and there are many reasons as to why a dog may bite their nails. The harmless reasons can be that they are grooming themselves, or that their nails have gotten too long which is now causing them some pain or discomfort. As a way of solving this, you as a dog owner should make sure your dog’s nails are the correct and healthy length, so you should either trim them yourself or take your dog to a groomer or vets to make sure they are trimmed properly. Other non-harmful reasons can include biting them out of boredom or just playfully.
However, if your dog is still engaging in this behaviour then it may be compulsive instead of physical pain, often, like in humans, related to anxiety. It would be best to consider consulting a vet in order to determine the root of the behaviour, and to see whether there are medical reasons behind it or not.To further determine the cause of this behaviour, note when your doggo is displaying this behaviour and whether it’s at particular times like when you come home from work, as, with this example, it could be related to separation anxiety.
If this behaviour is linked to anxiety, then it is important that you do not discourage this behaviour until the cause of it has been dealt with. You will need to focus on what is stressing your dog out, or to familiarise them with what brings them anxiety.
Another cause is allergies which result in itchiness. When walking, elements outdoors which your pet may be allergic to, like pollen, can become stuck on their paws or between their nails. Try to get rid of these things once you are home, such as by wiping their feet after each walk.
Other solutions include consulting a professional dog trainer or animal behaviourist for guidance and support. Also, try to distract your doggo from doing it, such as by taking them on a nice walk or playing a game with them.
I hope this has been useful for both yourself and your dog and that your dog has said goodbye to biting their nails, or at least have reduced this behaviour.