How Do Wild Dogs Trim Their Nails

Wild dogs do not trim their nails or have anyone do it for them. But their nails eventually wear down as these dogs tend to walk, run, and climb on hard, concrete, or rough surfaces. However, it is also natural for some of them to end up with overgrown nails.

how do wild dogs trim nails
How Do Wild Dogs Trim Their Nails

House dogs and wild dogs do not have a similar life. When you have a dog at home, clipping its nails or grooming it regularly goes through. But then, naturally, you wonder about the ones living in the wild. And the most common question people ask is: how do wild dogs trim their nails?

Unlike house dogs, wild dogs do not need nail clipping or grooming. But does that affect their healthy life? Let’s find out more about wild dogs to help you understand how it works out for them.

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How Do Wild Dogs Trim Their Nails?

While pet dogs get the care and all, dogs in the wild learn to adapt and get skilled to get things done naturally. And if you want to know more about how they get their nails trimmed in the wild, here are your answers.

Walking On a Hard Surface

Wild dogs do not always get the pleasure of walking on marshmallow paths. Often, they walk on hard or concrete surfaces. Such surfaces can file their nails slowly and trim the tips of their nails. But it can also happen to pet dogs if they have the habit of going out or if you take them out for walks often. 

Walking On Rough Surface

Wild dogs walk on rough surfaces most of the time. They are used to it if that is bothering you. And if the dogs have growing or overgrown nails, walking on these surfaces can help them trim the nails. And even if they have overgrown nails, rough surfaces can easily trim the nails to their regular sizes.


Yes, dogs like climbing too. If not pet dogs, wild dogs do that all the time for various reasons. Some of them climb trees on impulse or to chase things. Some even climb rocks or other surfaces depending on where they are. And as they grab on things with their nails it snaps their nails’ extended end.


Dogs love digging for things or out of natural habits. It helps them get over their boredom. However, it is one of their many destructive characteristics.

Similarly, wild dogs do not care about where they are digging. It could be anything from gathered garbage to rough ground. Sometimes, they do that to hide their food. And when they do it, it affects their nails over time and shortens them.


Another reason how wild dogs get their nails trimmed is scratching. Not that they know it trims their nails, but dogs do that as a part of their nature or, sometimes, after they pee. As they scratch the ground or trees, it files their nails and prevents them from overgrowing.


Wild dogs hunt, and it is their natural characteristic. And hunting means running faster.

So when wild dogs keep running to hunt, they do not care about the type of roads or surfaces they are running on. It gets their nails trimmed and prevents overgrowing.

Reasons You Should Not Trim Wild Dogs’ Nails

There are a few reasons why wild dogs cope well outdoors, unlike pet dogs. Having longer nails is one of the main reasons. Here are some reasons you should not trim a wild dog’s nails.

Hunting Tool

Animals hunt all the time, even if it is a pet dog that gets regular food. As for the wild dogs, their nails are a hunting tool for them. How? Wild dogs can grab onto things with their nails and climb various surfaces to catch their prey.

Surviving Tool

Imagine how difficult it would have been if the dogs could not walk or run steadily on various grounds because of not having enough large nails. It can be very stressful for them. Besides, wild dogs need their nails to dig to hide their food.

Body Scratching

Dogs scratch themselves occasionally. Sometimes, they do it out of boredom, and sometimes, they do it to get rid of something. So if their nails are clipped, they will not be able to scratch the body, and it can cause more stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How often should I trim my dog’s nails?

It would be best if you trimmed or clipped your dog’s nails once every 3 or 4 weeks. If your dog is active, has a scratching pole, or goes out often, you may need to do it less often. 

Dogs that are active or climbing around all the time on various surfaces tend to have their nails filed naturally during these activities.

Q. What happens if you do not trim a dog’s nails regularly?

If the dog’s nails are not trimmed regularly, the nails will overgrow if the dog is not active. Besides, if dirt accumulates beneath the nails, it can cause various health issues. Moreover, it can create blood flow problems with the quicks.

Q. Do dogs feel pain when you cut their nails? 

No, dogs do not feel any pain when you cut their nails. It is the same as cutting human nails. But you have to be careful about not hitting the quick or cutting too short because it will be painful.

Q. Do active dogs need their nails clipped?

If the dog is active, it will not need regular nail trimming. An active dog walks, runs, and climbs on various surfaces all the time, which will help keep its nails short. However, as the dog becomes older and less active, you will need to trim its nails regularly.

trimming wild dogs nail
Trimming wild dogs’ nail

Final Verdict

So, how do wild dogs trim their nails? The answer is: they don’t. Not consciously, at least. Wild dogs have different survival tactics, and they get their nails trimmed in the process.

That’s why it is best to leave them alone even if you come across one. However, if the nails do not get trimmed, whether pet or wild dogs, it can lead to various health problems.

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stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.