Why Do Dogs Eat Toenails?

Have you seen your pup chewing away happily at the toenails you just clipped? Why do dogs eat toenails? Don’t they find it disgusting? Read on to understand what is happening here.

Every dog has weird habits; eating toenails is one of them. Your dog may also eat their or other animal’s nail clippings, which seems disgusting to us but is quite usual for dogs.

Most dogs do it because they love the smell of toenails: it smells like corn chips! As we all know, dogs judge everything by smell, rather than taste, and that’s why they love eating toenails.

Why Do Dogs Eat Toenails

Sometimes, your dog’s weird habit is a savior for you because it makes your cleaning efficient. Still, you may be concerned about their health and think of certain questions: Why do dogs eat their toenail and nail clippings? Is it safe for them? Are there any side effects or related ailments? What to do to stop my dog from biting their nails? And so on. 

Despite being an ordinary habit among dogs, it is not entirely safe. Let’s look into the article to know more about your dog’s unusual behavior and other associated questions to resolve your muddles.  

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Nail Clippings?

Because toenails smell like corn chips!

Dogs have a habit of finding tasty snacks for themselves; however, many found toenails or nail clipping as a source of tasty snacks. Not every dog likes eating clipping nails, but if your dog shows interest in eating nail clippings, then they might be attracted by the smell. 

Like us, dogs have different preferences for taste and odor, but they cannot distinguish between food and waste products. If they find anything with a pleasing smell, they will eat it.

Dogs’ paws sometimes smell yeasty like corn chips, or you may also call it “Frito Feet.” This smell comes because of sweat and bacteria, and dogs love to eat things with these smells. But it doesn’t mean they eat their paws; they eat the clipped part of their nails. 

Another reason behind this disgusting habit might be disorder. If your dog always eats your or their nail clipping or other waste stuff, then your dog might have “pica;” this is a rare condition that makes them eat indigestible things to fulfill their nutritional needs. 

But if your dog is completely healthy, you do not need to worry about it. Well, we cannot ask a dog, so we don’t know the exact reason behind this habit and why nail clipping attracts dogs this much.  

Why Do Dogs Eat Toenails

Why Do Dogs Eat Toenails?

Its a source of food that smells lovely.

As discussed above, dogs love looking for a yummy food source; if your dog is alluring toenails, they found it a good snack for them. Eating toenails is a natural habit for every dog because the odor attracts them, and they find it tasty as well as nutritious food. 

Furthermore, biting toenails or nibbling their paws can be a grooming process for dogs when they find their toenails or other nails long and uncomfortable. 

Why Does My Dog Eat My Toenails?

Human nail clippings smell like snacks and tasty crumbs.

If your dog eats your toenails as soon as you drop them on the floor, this is because the smell attracts them the most. As we all know, dogs do not distinguish between edible food. Thus, they are more likely to eat those items which allure them by smell. Nail clippings not only have a pleasing odor and taste, but they look like crumbs to dogs. 

However, nail clipping and toenails taste like salt, and most dogs love to eat salty snacks. Every edible or inedible stuff also attracts not only our toenails but dogs dropped on the floor with a good smell, and it looks edible and nutritious to them. 

Is Eating Nail Clipping Harmful For My Dog?

Yes, it can be harmful. They may have bacteria or parasites dangerous for dogs.

It is ordinary when your dog eats their or others’ nail clipping, and it is also totally fine. But you should look at your dog when they eat this kind of stuff and never encourage them to eat that much. Toenails and nail clipping are indelible waste and remain in the body of your dog until they discharge them out. 

Although, eating too many toenails or nail clipping can cause your dog harm, as nail clipping carries numerous bacteria. Your dog may become ill or get an infection because of bacteria and make their immune support weak. If your dog becomes sick by eating nail clipping, you should immediately contact your vet for better suggestions. 

Why Do Dogs Eat Toenails

Are Human Nails Unsafe For Dogs?

Yes, human nails carry several germs and bacteria.

As mentioned above, eating nail clippings is not too harmful to dogs but avoiding it is necessary. If you find your dog eating any indigestible thing, you should distract them by giving them some other edible thing to eat or toys to chew so they can recognize the right thing for them.  

How Can I Stop My Dog From Biting Their Nail?

You need to first understand the real reason is it just a food source, or is it because of grooming, allergies or anxiety?


Like eating nail clipping, dogs have another weird habit of nibbling their paws. Dogs clean their claws and bite their nails themself when they are on them, which is quite normal because it is one of the parts of their grooming and cleaning process. However, spending a lot of their time biting their nails is a pretty severe problem. 

Dogs may bite their nails because they are too long or uncomfortable. So if you find your dog biting their nails, you should inspect the need for trimming and relieve them from discomfort. 


Secondly, if your dog frequently bites their nails because of itching, they may have some allergic reaction. You should test if your dog has any allergies and change your dog’s diet. Allergic reactions are treated with the combination of a better diet, medication, and bating. However, you should turn to your vet and ask them for better suggestions. 

Why Do Dogs Eat Toenails


Thirdly, when dogs spend more of their time nibbling or chewing their nails, then they might be nervous. Like human beings, dogs are sometimes nervous, and biting their nails can show anxious energy. So a dog owner needs to identify their dog’s problem and reduce it in different ways such as anxiety medication, taking your dog on walks, spending more time outside, and more.

However, if you find your dog biting their nails, it can be a serious issue and demonstrate something bad with them. You must identify the problem and call your vet to recommend better to provide your dog treatment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dog want to eat my nails?

It is a sign of affection, and they might like the taste.

When your dog nibbles your nails, they usually show closeness and love to you. But when they eat your clipped nail, they find your nail tasty, salty, crumbs like snacks. Thus, dogs eat dropped things with a good smell, and nails have an alluring odor that seems like a tasty food source to your pooch. 

Are Nails Digestible?

No, nails are not digestible.

You should clean up your room before you eat them or clip your nails in another room to avoid your dogs eating them. Nails are not digestible for dogs.

Why Do Cats Eat Human Toenails?

For the same reason they might like the taste.

Like dogs, cats also nibble their paws as the process of cleaning and grooming them. But frequently, the nail chewing habits of cats can be associated with anxiety.

What do you do if your puppy has a sharp claw?

Use a nail filer very gently to file their nails.

Puppies have sharp claws because they did not get access to natural files. However, you should introduce your pup to nail filing after clipping or trimming their nails. Nail filers efficiently smooth and dull the rough edges and make your puppy claws less sharp.

Final Words

Eating nail clipping and toenails is a regular habit for every dog, but it is neither wholly safe nor harmful. Thus, every dog owner must tidy up their room and stop their dog from eating these things for their dog’s wellness. And if you find your dog unwell or have any symptoms, you should contact your vet and ask for better advice. 

Thank you for reading, we hope you found the answer to your query. You might also want to read: How To Make Dog Nails Less Sharp?  And Why Are Puppy Nails So Sharp?