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What To Do If Your Dogs Nail Is Rubbing Against Its Paw!

We all love our dogs and in the countries where the majority of our readers live, dogs are by far the most common pet so with their popularity and the number of problems that dogs can end up having, it is only natural that we would see a large number of questions from the pet owning community about their dogs. One thing that is becoming increasingly popular is people reaching out about their dog’s nail rubbing against its paw so we decided to write this article.

The majority of people will be able to use doggy nail clippers to quickly trim their dog’s nails if they are starting to grow long enough to rub into their paw pads. In some cases, a vet may have to use their professional tools to safely cut a dog’s nails that have grown to be extremely long but this does tend to be very rare.

There can be other complications with the nails of dogs other than them just being long that can cause the nail to rub against their paw pad but these do require slightly different fixes. We go into this more in our article going over what to do if your dog’s nail is bent sideways but it is usually obvious to see the difference as a problem with a long nail will look like a healthy nail but longer where as a sideways nail will obviously be growing off to the side.

Do Dogs Paws Hurt When Nails Are Too Long?

The majority of dogs will naturally wear their nails down as they walk around preventing them from getting so long that they are able to hurt their feet. In some rare situations though, if the dog does not walk on suitable surfaces to wear their nails down and the nails are not clipped, they will grow long enough to curl back on themselves and cut into the dog’s paw pad making it painful to walk.

This can be very painful for the dog and should be dealt with as soon as possible but thankfully, unlike most of the other problems with dogs that can be difficult to diagnose, a nail growing back on itself and penetrating the paw pad is easy to diagnose as you can just look at your dog’s paw to confirm the problem. If the nail has grown to a length where it is already penetrating your dog foot you also have to factor in the risk of an infection taking hold too so you should always try to keep the foot as clean as possible while it heals.

Before your dog’s nail will actually start to penetrate its paw pad it will usually rub against the paw and this can also cause a surprisingly high amount of pain too. You will often notice your dog starting to limp slightly or try to walk as little as possible at these early stages giving you plenty of warning that you should get some doggy nail clippers and deal with the nail before it gets bad an a vet has to get involved.

Can A Dogs Nail Curl Into Its Paw?

In most cases, a dog’s nail will not curl back into its paw due to the natural growth curve putting the end of the nail in contact with the ground so that the nail naturally gets ground down as the dog walks. If your dog does not walk on a regular basis or only walks on soft surfaces like carpet then the nail is not naturally ground down while walking causing the nail to curl back into its paw.

If you do have a dog that is an “indoor” dog that does not get to walk around on hard surfaces then it becomes your responsibility to clip your dog’s nails on a regular basis when they get too long. Just be sure to avoid cutting them too short as the quick of the nail has nerves in it and cutting into it will hurt your dog and cause it considerable pain.

Thankfully, the nails of your pet dog grow at a slow pace so you have plenty of time between nail clipping sessions. This often works to your advantage as a large number of dogs tend to fear having their nails clipped and really don’t like it. We have seen some chemicals on the market that are advertised as being able to slow the growth rate of the nail if you put the chemical on the nail after clipping but they are controversial and we have seen reports from dog owners who have tried them reporting that they did nothing at all.

What Do I Do If My Dog’s Nail Is Growing In Its Paw?

If your dog’s nail is growing into its paw then you should look to clip the nail as soon as possible before the situation gets any worse. If the nail has already broken the skin and penetrated your dog’s paw then it is often better to have a vet go through the procedure and provide you with the anti-bacterial pads to keep the wound clean after removing the nail.

Most people realize that they can pick up a set of doggy nail clippers for cheap but they often fail to realize how much of a risk infection is once you clip your dog’s nail if it has actually broken the skin on your dog’s paw. Due to being on your dog’s feet, the wound can get very dirty, very quickly and infection can end up being a very real risk.

If there is a wound on your dog’s paw from its nail and it gets infected, the actual infection can end up being more painful and causing more issues than the problem with the nail. This is why it is so important to treat your dog’s paw with anti-bacterial treatments if possible as it drastically reduces the risk potential of your dog after treating the nail growing into or against its paw.


That brings our article going over what you should do if your dog’s nail is rubbing against its paw to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you understand the potential risks to your dog and although it is usually very easy to fix or prevent if you catch the nail growth early enough, in some very bad cases, you will often need to get a vet involved.