How to stop biting nails

poproxy360 asks: I can’t stop biting my nails, so they never grow. What should I do?

Hi poproxy360 –

We mutts get away with this a lot more than you peeps.  We bite at fleas, chew our nails and whole paws, and lick ourselves everywhere, with no concern at all.  Whereas you guys have to take a lot more care to avoid this very natural act, especially in public – as well as a lot of other ones like picking your noses, scratching your behinds, digging wax out of your ears, and extracting popcorn kernels from your teeth.

But it sounds like you’re more concerned about what the nailbiting does to your nails than any public displays.

This is good.  Bitten and chewed nails keep you from looking as cool as you hope, they keep your nails from growing long and pretty, and putting your hands in your mouth a lot is pretty much the best way in the world to catch every cold, flu, and other illness that’s running around!  So you’re right to want to stop doing it.

Well, I do know a few things you can do.  The first I suggest is that you simply cut your nails very short.  I know you want them to grow, but cutting them short will dissuade you from biting them.  Then as you get used to that, it should get easier to let them grow.

As they do, however, you’ll feel that natural inclination to bite and chew them, especially when you get stressed.  One great thing to do then is to put something that tastes just awful onto them.  I remember a character in a movie saying that Quinine works well, but I’m not sure where to find that these days.  I would suggest staying way closer to home, by putting on nail polish!  If you don’t want to color your nails, you can put on a clear gloss.  It will still do two things:  First, it will surprise you as you’re unconsciously putting your fingers in your mouth, and notify you that you’re doing it.  But second, it will make chewing your nails a nasty, unpleasant experience!  So you might find that that works wonders.

But if not, the one thing you can add to that is to get a professional manicure.  They’re not terribly expensive, and can help your nails look better.  But they also mean that, if you’re biting, you’re going to face someone on a regular basis, who will look at you and tell you you shouldn’t be doing that.  And that might just be the incentive you need to stop.

Now, note, I’m saving the manicure as a last-ditch solution.  Sure, it costs more than a cheap bottle of nail polish.  But also – I absolutely HATE anyone cutting my nails!  I hate groomers doing it, and I’m absolutely freaked when Handsome does it.  I know they mean well, but they almost always pull my nails too hard, or even cut them too low-down to where it hurts and bleeds.  So I’m sure your manicurist would do better, but still… I just shudder at the thought!

In the end, though, poproxy360, the key to stopping biting your nails, or breaking any habit, is you deciding you absolutely want to.  Cutting them short, nasty-tasting nail polish, and even the criticism from manicurists won’t keep you from doing it unless you really choose to.  All these are just ways to help you out.

You can do it.  Just make it your absolute goal.  And know that, once you’ve done it,  you’ll look so much cooler than all those biters around you!


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