Skip to Content

Why Do Dogs Eat Nail Clippings?

The majority of dogs will happily try to eat anything they are able to get in their mouth, even if it is not specifically a food source and we see a ton of questions from the dog owning community every month about their dog trying to eat various foods that it really shouldn’t.

Although some people do suspect that their dog may be suffering from the Pica eating condition that encourages them to crave and eat non-food items, some of the things dogs eat do have some logic behind them.

We have noticed a number of people reaching out recently and asking why do dogs eat nail clippings be it the dogs nail clippings or a humans nail clippings.

After seeing so many people reaching out about their dogs eating nail clippings with some dog owners being worried about any potential side effects to their dogs health, we have decided to publish our own article on the topic.

Our hope is that we will be able to help our readers better understand the potential causes of your dog eating nail clippings as well as what actually happens once your dog has eaten some nail clippings.

With any luck, we will be able to help put your mind at ease as it is usually nothing to worry about and you can use our table of contents below to quickly skip to specific sections of our article as required.

Why Do Dogs Eat Nail Clippings?

The two main reasons that people believe dogs eat nail clippings is either due to seeing you collect the nail clippings and put them into a small pile so your dog thinks they are valuable and potentially food or due to your dog lacking calcium in its diet.

Some people’s dogs may have pica that will cause it to crave non-food stuff but this is rare when it comes to nail clippings with dirt, hair, sand, and paint being more common pica targets in dogs.

You know your dog better than anyone and you will know its personality. Your dog trying to eat anything that you seemingly stockpile as you would with nail clippings while clipping the nails may be a common thing for your dog to try and eat.

If this is the case, then regular dog training techniques should be enough to discourage the behavior in your dog in the future.

Depending on the diet of your dog, it may have a calcium deficiency and crave nail clippings due to their high calcium content and this can be more common than the majority of people initially realize.

In fact, dogs being deficient in calcium is so common that there are a number of specialists calcium supplements for dogs on the market these days that you are able to try to see if it stops your dog craving and eating nail clippings.

Can Dogs Eat Nail Clippings?

Although most dogs can eat nail clippings without issue, it doesn’t mean that they should due to the shape and sharp edges of nail clippings presenting a risk to potentially cutting the digestive system of your dog.

The chances of this happening are extremely small though but we would still recommend that you try to discourage your dog from eating your nail clippings if possible though.

As we touched on above, something as simple as implementing a calcium supplements for dogs can sometimes be enough to discourage your dog from eating nail clippings as its cravings for calcium are already satisfied.

If you do suspect that your dog is only eating nail clippings due to having a calcium deficiency then this could mean that there are larger problems with your dogs diet though.

We would highly recommend that you try a nutritionally complete, tailor made dog food with your dog to ensure that it is getting all of the vitamins and minerals that it requires from its primary dog food.

It is quick and easy to set up allowing you to answer a few short questions about your dog and then have the tailor made dog food shipped to you each month and if you subscribe to the monthly service, it can often work out around the same price as regular dogfood while being jam packed with vitamins and minerals.

Are Nail Clippings Bad For Dogs?

The chances of any nail clippings that your dog may eat causing health issues with your dog are minimal but there is a small chance of the nails cutting your dog’s digestive system with their sharp edge or potentially passing fungus or bacteria into your dog’s stomach.

This may result in a potentially serious problem in the future but the chances of this happening are so small that it is often not worth worrying about.

It is usually very simple to stop your dog from eating nail clippings anyway.

If your dog usually eats your nail clippings then simply make sure that your dog is out of the room when you clip your nails and be sure to pick up all of the clippings before you let your dog back into the room so it is not able to eat them.

If your dog usually eats its own nail clippings then you are usually able to use a cheap dog nail clippers to get a nice, quick, clean cut on the nail and to stop it springing off to a random place in the room.

This makes it much easier for you to collect all of your dogs nail clippings prior to it being able to eat them all and prevents your dog from eating the nail clippings altogether while removing any potential risk to your pet.


That brings our article going over why dogs eat nail clippings to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the potential reasons of why your dog may want to eat nail clippings as well as how you are able to discourage the behaviour in your dog. For the most part, it really shouldn’t cause any real issues with your dog in our opinion but you should do your best to prevent your dog from eating nail clippings when possible.