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sccrowell's avatar

My Dachshund bites/chews his toenails! Is this normal?

Asked by sccrowell (3508points) July 14th, 2008

He does it all the time. Should I be concerned? Is he lacking some type of nutrient? I myself have never seen this kind of behavior before. Has anyone heard of this?

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8 Answers

cheebdragon's avatar

Here is what i found on another website
“Allergies is one of the most common causes of feet licking/chewing in dogs. Environmental and/or food allergies could be the underlying cause. I would speak with your veterinarian about screening for allergies and potentially starting a hypoallergenic diet for your dog if this is a consideration.

Pododermatitis, or foot infections, are also somewhat common in dogs. These infections are usually caused by a fungus (yeast) or bacteria in the environment. When it is humid out, these infections are more common, because they thrive in moist, humid environments. Dogs with hairy feet are predisposed to these infections if the hair is not kept short between their toes and pads. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you if this is the culprit causing the chewing.

Anxiety and boredom are the last two more common causes of dogs licking and chewing at their feet. Just like people, some dogs will chew on their nails when they are nervous or anxious. There are mild medications that can be used to decrease the amount of anxiety your dog experiences, and hopefully diminish the clinical signs. Talk to your veterinarian about this possibility as well. Nail biting is not normal and if it is anxiety-related, it would be good to slow the progression of the anxious behaviors while your dog is still young, because it can escalate as he/she gets older.

Boredom can also cause some nail biting and feet chewing behavior. These dogs are typically high energy dogs that need lots of exercise and stimulation. Kong toys and Nylabones are good for this type of dog, to keep them occupied when they are not interacting with other dogs or people. ”

syz's avatar

Liking and biting at the feet is a classic form of allergy expression in dogs (they don’t sneeze and get itchy eyes like we do). If your vet wants to put the dog on steroids, ask for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist (long term steroid use is bad).

sccrowell's avatar

@syz and cheeb,
Bailey has no allergies this I know as the vet had a panel (so to speak) done him because of his weight, make that OVER weight! The climate we reside is often warm and we keep the property very clean. Back lawn is well manicured and rose beds are as well. Oh!! And he doesn’t lick his paws only bites his toenails on front paws. My vet say he hasn’t heard of such a thing as a dog biting it’s nails and being a Dachshund, he’s pretty much lazy… He can often be found sleeping. He’s difinitely not a nervous dog by any means… Any other suggestions?

syz's avatar

When you say that the vet ran a panel because of the dog’s weight, I presume you mean a thyroid panel. That does not check for allergies. The only test that can determine allergies is specific to allergy testing. While licking is more common than biting in allergy expression, it is not exclusive.

There is a possibility of an infection in the nail bed, but I presume your vet would have seen some sign of that.

It is possible that the biting is psychogenic (behavioral/emotional) and there are medications that can be tried (usually in the anti-depressant family) but I wouldn’t pursue that unless the condition is problematic.

Prolonged chewing and biting may promote bacterial/yest growth if the toes are staying wet for long periods of time.

tutwo0000's avatar

Toes of a Dashunds should not stay wet. An infection is very likely.

Your dashund should be trained more

sccrowell's avatar

Bailey’s feet are not wet… He only bites his toe nails. I’m feeling between his toes right now and they are dry. If he sits in my lap, he’ll start chewing his nails! It’s crazy…

Mybrakke's avatar

hi, man i feel your frustration…! both my daxies bite their nails the moment they lay in front of the heater. i’m more inclined to think it’s boredom, and grooming. My mini daxie is happy for me to cut he’s nails, but he still sometimes chew on them. My standard size daxies HATES me touching her feet, she’s super sensitive and this makes it very difficult for me to cut her nails. I really think they’re only wanting to keep their nails short. Mine also don’t get too much exercise at the moment ( it’s winter ) plus my husband and I are self employed and away from home all day on some days. I’m not too worries, though. I regularly check their feet&skin;except for my husband, they’re the loves of my life,they’re my kids =)
I advise more walks to naturally file his nails…. that advise counts for me too =) good luck

auntydeb's avatar

Here’s another angle: I had a cat that did the same. He was cute, happy, well fed and always wanted to be in charge… but had this really unpleasant – and frequent – habit of not just chewing, but pulling at his claws, continually, regardless of whether they needed it or not. Cats pull their claws to clear them of old bits, shedding whole shells sometimes. I use homeopathy on my cats, to very good effect. I talked with my Homeopath about the cat, she asked a few questions, then recommended the remedy Lycopodium. This particular remedy fitted him well – a love of ‘junk’ food, a desire to be in charge, very intelligent… And nail biting.

Perhaps, as well as looking (thoroughly) for physical causes, why not go the homeopathic route? In spite of modern technology saying it is hoo hah, it really does work and I have seen real physical results in my pets and others. Thomas, the cat did very well and stopped biting his nails inside a week. He also slept more, put weight on (he was a skinny one!) and got on better with our other cats. All good. Try it.

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