Do Dogs Trim Their Own Nails?

do dogs trim their own nails (1)

About the Author: Jean Colt, a valued writer at MyPetDoggie and a dedicated student of English Literature at Yale University. Jean’s love for dogs, coupled with her literary skills, allows her to create engaging content that resonates with our pet-loving community. Her work reflects her passion for dogs and commitment to enhancing pet care knowledge.

There is a lot of confusion about dogs’ nails among dog parents. But what’s more, is that there’s a huge question which is: do dogs trim their own nails? Well, we as humans, think about many curious things and sometimes we try to find answers within our knowledge and that’s why most of us think that “dogs do trim their own nails because we do it too”.

But the real answer is actually “slightly” different…

Do Dogs Trim Their Own Nails?

No, dogs do not trim their own nails like some other animals such as rodents which naturally wear their claws through regular activity. Instead, dogs’ nails keep growing and they are dependent on their owners or groomers to get their nails groomed and have an appropriate length. 

I know, now you must be thinking that “Hey, I’ve seen my dog biting his nails. WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT” Well…

When Dog Starts To Bite/Trim Their Nails?

Sometimes you will see your dog biting his nails excessively and boredom can be a reason too. There are different reasons why dogs will start biting their nails. It can include medical conditions physically or mentally. If a dog starts biting or chewing nails excessively then this can be a problem.

When Dog Starts To Bite Trim The
A dog tries to bite his paws

Some reasons dogs might do it are:

Nail growth: 

If your dog’s nails are very long they can start to curl and cause some kind of discomfort or even pain when they are walking. When dogs feel uncomfortable getting rid of this they can chew or bite their nails. 


There can be an allergic reaction, particularly some kind of skin allergies which can lead to itchiness and irritation in dogs’ paws and nails. As a response dogs can chew and lick their paws or nails to relieve itching.

Pain or Discomfort:

Dogs can chew their nails if they are experiencing any kind of pain or discomfort in their paws. They can be due to different reasons like injuries, joint problems, and foreign objects lodged in their paws. 

Ingrown Nails:

Ingrown nails can also occur when dogs’ nails grow in the surrounding skin which can cause pain and irritation. Dogs may chew the affected area to get rid of discomfort and pain. 

Nail Infections or Injuries:

Different infections, injuries, or damage to dogs’ nails can cause pain and lead to chewing of nails as a response to discomfort. Dogs find chewing nails a soothing procedure. 

Anxiety or stress: 

Dogs can bite or chew their nails as this can be a way to cope with any stress or anxiety. This can be a self-soothing process for some dogs. 


Dogs can engage in nail-biting out of boredom. If they do not have enough physical or mental stimulation then they can resort to this behavior. 

If you are noticing that your dog is biting or chewing his nails excessively it is important to find out the underlying issue.

8 Reasons Why Dogs Chew Their Na
A dog owner shows his dog’s paws

You can start by examining their nails to see if they are longer than usual and need trimming. If this is the case, trim their nails or get help from a professional groomer.

How To Stop Dog’s Nail Biting?

Above you have seen the reasons for nail biting and it is important to know how you can stop this behavior.

How To Stop Nail Biting (1)
A picture of dog nails

Because dogs do not bit their nails usually, if they are doing this, then this behavior is dangerous for your dogs and it is better to stop it as early as possible. You can take proper steps to stop this behavior. Your care and attention also play a very important role in stopping it.  

If you want to stop your dog from nail biting you can take the following steps: 

  1. Consult a groomer to ensure your dog’s nails are in good condition and length.
  2. Offer safe chew toys to redirect your dog’s attention from nail biting. Or given then scratchboard/pad.
  3. Use training and positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewarding your dog with praise, treats, and affection when they avoid nail biting.
  4. Consider using a safe, bitter-tasting spray like bitter apple on your dog’s nails to discourage nail-biting, but consult a professional before use.

Is It OK to Let Dogs Chew Their Nails?

Not all dogs chew their nails all the time. Some dogs will occasionally lick or nibble their paws as a part of their nail grooming routine but allowing them to chew their nails excessively is dangerous and we don’t advise that.

Is It OK to Let Dogs Chew Their
A dog owner shows his dog nails after his bitting

Continuous nail chewing can lead to different issues like overgrown nails, injuries, and even infections. It is best to address the overlying issues of behavior and provide them with appropriate alternatives which are mentioned above.  

How To Trim Your Pet’s Nails Properly?

Grooming pets is also a skill not everyone can do properly but with practice and consistency you can get experienced. Trimming the nails of your pet is an essential part of your grooming routine. It is important for dog owners to do it when needed or take their pets to professional groomers. A basic guide on trimming your dog’s nails is given below:

Gather your supplies: 

You should have dog nail clippers choose a type that should be even more comfortable to use for you such as scissor style, guillotine style, or grinder. 

Styptic powder or gel in case you accidentally cut the quick which can cause bleeding. 

Prepare your dog:

Always choose a quiet lit area for nail trimming.

Make sure your dog is very calm and relaxed. You can do this by giving them treats, petting them, and speaking soothingly. 

Examine the nails:

Always look for the quick which is the pinkish area inside the nail. You should avoid cutting into the quick as it contains blood vessels and nerves. If your dog has dark nails, the quick is not as visible so you have to be extra cautious. 

Trim the nails: 

Start by holding your dog’s paws gently but firmly. 

Carefully start by trimming a small amount of nails at a time, aim to avoid the quick. If you are unsure it is better to trim less in the initial stage. 

You have to pay attention to the sound the nail makes as you trim it. When you are getting close to quick you will hear a solid dense sound as you cut. At this point, you should stop trimming.

Use styptic powder if necessary: 

When you are cutting the nails and you accidentally cut them quickly apply styptic powder or gel to stop the bleeding. Press powder gently onto the bleeding area and then hold it for a few seconds. 

Reward and praise: 

After every nail is trimmed and your dog has behaved well reward your dog with treats and praise to make the experience positive. 

Repeat for all nails: 

Make sure to trim all your nails. You should take your time and be patient in the whole process. 

File or smooth the edges: 

You can also use a nail filer or grinder to smooth down the edges of nails after trimming. This will help prevent sharp edges which can scratch floors and furniture. 

Regular Maintenance: 

You should develop a regular schedule for mail trimming which is based on the specific needs of your dog. Some dogs need to have their nails trimmed after every few weeks, while others can go longer between trims. 

Consider professional help: 

If you are uncomfortable or unsure about trimming the nails of your dog and he has thick or dark nails particularly then you should consider seeking professional assistance. 

Harriet Meyers from American Kennel Club says that nail trimming is an essential part of dog grooming and trimmed nails are a clear sign of your dog’s good health and hygiene. Professional groomers will perform the task for squeamish owens but nail trimming is a simple procedure when done correctly. 

Does Cutting A Dog’s Nails Hurt?

No, if done properly it should not hurt. Your goal is to trim the excess nail without cutting into the sensitive tissue called the quick, it contains blood vessels and nerves. If the quick gets cut accidentally then bleeding can happen it will also cause pain. This is why it is important to be cautious. You have to use the right tools and trim them gradually. If you are unsure about doing it then consider a professional groomer or vet to do it.

How Do I Know If My Dog Needs His Nails Clipped?

You can tell that your dog’s nails need trimming just by looking at them. If the nails are touching the ground where you are standing then they are very long and they need trimming. Additionally, you can also hear a clicking sound when your dog walks on hard surfaces if the nails are overgrown. Keep checking the nails regularly and schedule the maintenance as needed. It is crucial to prevent discomfort and potential health issues. 

Why Don’t Some Dogs Need Trimming?

Why Do You Need To Keep Your Dog’s Nails Trimmed
A dog owner cutting his dog’s nails

Some dog’s nails will naturally wear down with regular physical activity as dogs are very active outdoors especially when they are on hard surfaces like pavement, they may maintain the length naturally. However, it is not the case for all dogs and many dogs still require nail trimming to keep nails at a healthy length. 

Why Do Dogs Hate Nail Trims?

Many dogs dislike nail trims for various reasons which include:

  • Fear of clippers or nail trimming process. 
  • Past negative experiences in nail trimming. 
  • Sensitivity in paws and nails. 
  • Sound and pressure associated with nail trimming. 

It is important to make the trimming experience as positive as possible through desensitization, positive reinforcement, and gradual training to reduce your dog’s fear or anxiety. 


Dogs do not trim their nails by simply biting them so the question “Do Dogs Trim Their Own Nails?” is answered that I hope.

In conclusion, understanding why dogs chew and trim their own nails and how we can stop this behavior is essential to maintaining your furry friend’s paw health and overall well-being.

Still, dogs can chew nails for various reasons which include boredom, anxiety, allergic reactions, and behavioral issues. There are effective strategies to curb this habit and make sure that nails stay healthy and comfortable. 

You can control this behavior by training, maintaining their nails and paws, using positive reinforcement techniques, or using bitter apple spray.

Remember that patience, consistency, and a gentle approach are key when you are dealing with nail care. Keeping the nails trimmed and healthy is crucial for their comfort and overall health so make it a priority and pet care routine.

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