Making sure you cut your rabbits nails is one of the most important parts of grooming and taking care of your rabbit. The nails of a rabbit grow very quickly just like their teeth. They need to be trimmed down regularly because if they become too long, they can cause immense pain and discomfort to your lovely pet. If you have never cut your rabbit’s nails before then it’s always better to seek some help from your family member or friend or better visit a pet groomer.
But if you’ve decided to cut rabbits nails on your own, here is a complete guide for you. In this article, we will show you how you can carefully trim your bunny’s nails. So, without any further ado, let’s begin!
Signs That You Need To Cut Your Rabbits Nails
Just like human nails, a bunny’s nails need to be trimmed regularly. Their nails are generally sharp, hard and grow very quickly. If not cut on time, they can cause utter discomfort to your rabbit. Ideally, you should not let your pet’s nails go past their toe tips because if this happens, the nails become too sharp, start curling and become ingrown.
Although rabbits tend to naturally wear off their nails by digging and scratching at abrasive surfaces, if they don’t get such an environment, they fail to keep their nails trimmed and require the owners to do this job.
When you need to cut your rabbits nails, it’s very important to learn and understand the trimming process. You can easily harm your pet in the absence of proper knowledge and experience, hence, educate yourself well before grooming your bunny.
Things To Do Before You Start To Cut Your Rabbits Nails
When talking about cutting a rabbit’s nails, you can’t simply approach them with a nail clipper in your hand, pick their leg and start clipping the nails right away. This is how you should never cut your pet’s nails. Rabbits are very sensitive animals, they can easily get stressed and scared if not handled properly. Moreover, if you still cut their nails in this way, you are more likely to harm and bleed them.
So, there are certain things you must do to prepare your little bunny for his nail trimming session. Here are some pre-clipping suggestions :
- First, gently confine your rabbit and bring him to an open and well-lit area where you can clearly see his nails. Avoid cutting nails in dark rooms because it increases the chances of you hurting your bunny.
- If your bunny seems too stressed and scared to be contained, then try to calm them down before preparing them for the nail clipping session. This is because a stressed or scared rabbit can harm himself as well as others. Another good idea to deal with stressed-out rabbits is getting help from someone.
- Pay special attention to their back and legs and make sure they get enough support and traction. The reason is, they might get panicked and try to run while their legs are still in your hand. So, in absence of a proper surface, they can easily get hurt.
- Keep them on a fluffy, soft towel to ensure better support and traction.
- Keep some antiseptic handy in case you end up cutting their nails too short.
Carry Out The Nails Inspection
Before clipping the nails, it’s very important to get familiar with the nails of your pet because their nails are not similar to human nails. Also, each rabbit’s nails grow at different rates, so there is no fixed rule on how often you should cut them.
A good idea is to inspect your pet’s nails once or twice a month. If the nails are too long and curled inside, it’s a sign that they need to be trimmed. Further, if you hear your bunny’s nails scratching the floor and making noise when he hops or jumps, consider it another sign.
Generally, the outside rabbits and the ones who live in the wild don’t require nail trimming because their claws wear down naturally by means of foraging, digging and other similar tasks. House rabbits, on the other hand, are not subjected to these routine tasks and hence their nails grow very sharp and long.
Coming to the total numbers of nails, bunnies have 4 nails on their hind feets. On the frontal paws, they have a dewclaw and 4 toenails. The dewclaw is slightly higher than the toenail and situated on the inside of the paw.
Step-By-Step Process To Cut Rabbits Nails
- 1. Gather The Necessary Supplies
First of all, collect all the supplies that you need to trim your pet’s nails as well as a set of helping hands. This will make sure your rabbit won’t hurt himself or others during the trimming session. Gathering the supplies before the session is important because once your rabbit is in your hand, you won’t get enough time to run for the supplies. So, collect the following supplies :
|1. Get yourself some good quality nail clippers that are specially designed for cutting pet nails. You can use the same nail cutters used for cats and dogs.|
|2. Grab a nice and soft towel to hold your rabbit on.|
|3. Keep some styptic powder handy, in case you’ve cut the nails too short and cause bleeding|
|4. Have some nice treats for rewarding your pet for being cooperative.|
- 2. Restrain Your Rabbit
Next, get your rabbit restrained. Gently wrap him in a towel and try to calm him down. If he is stressed and violent, try to bring him closer to your body and massage him gently. This will help in melting him down. If a rabbit is not restrained properly, he can kick or hurt his back which you don’t want. So, make sure to handle him very carefully. Wrap him nicely in the towel and make sure he doesn’t suffocate in the process. If your bunny looks stressed out, sit him down before trying again later. You can also use treats to cheer up your bunny and prepare him for the trimming process.
- 3. Trim The Tip Nails
Once your bunny is wrapped up and has become calm and silent, start clipping his nails gently. Start by trimming the tip of the nails first. It is much better to clip a small amount at a time before cutting right off the roots. Most rabbits have clear and translucent nails. So, you can easily see a pink nerve below them, known as the quick. This nerve supplies blood, so if you cut the nails short, this blood supply gets cut and starts bleeding.
So, always cut above this nerve because it can be painful for the little pet. Carefully place the nail cutter above the quick and slowly apply pressure on it to cut down the nail. If the bunny moves or tries to kick, remove the trimmer slowly. To prevent this, a good idea is to mark the nails above the quick using a marker to avoid bleeding and hurting the pet.
- 4. Avoid Cutting Too Short
Don’t panic if you end up cutting the nails too short. Just be quick and apply some styptic powder on the nail tip to stop bleeding. While cutting the quick cause pain to your bunny, the powder helps in reducing the pain as it contains a numbing agent. Also, you don’t need to worry because the nail will grow normally and everything will be alright. But still, use the marking technique to prevent this situation from happening. Another thing to keep in mind is, carry out the trimming process in broad daylight. Avoid doing this under artificial light or during night time.
- 5. Repeat The Process For All Nails
Repeat the same steps for cutting all the nails. Just make sure to take a small pause after finishing each paw to give some rest to yourself and your bunny. Moreover, if he seems like struggling and kicking hard, then keep calming him down by offering massage strokes and treats in between. Also, the towel can quickly overheat the bunny, so make sure to provide enough air to keep him calm and cool. Once you’re done trimming all the nails, do a quick check to make sure there is no bleeding and if there is, sprinkle some antiseptic powder before letting your bunny free.
Finally, reward your rabbit for showing patience and being a good boy by giving him his favorite treats and toys.
What If My Rabbits’ Nails Are Bleeding?
If you accidentally end up cutting the nails too short, apply an astringent such as a styptic powder or pencil, witch hazel or alum. If you don’t have any of these supplies, then simply dip the bleeding paw in a solution of cornstarch to stop bleeding. After that, wrap toilet paper or a tissue around the wound to discourage bleeding. There is nothing much to be worried about, it is the same as getting a small scratch while shaving.
Moreover, if the cut is too deep and bleeding doesn’t stop after doing all these remedies, apply pressure on the wound using your finger until the bleeding slows down.
How Often Should I Cut My Rabbit’s Nails?
A rabbit’s nails need to be trimmed every 3 or 4 weeks. Because every rabbit’s nails are different and they grow at different speeds, there is no fixed amount of time to cut them. But still, it’s important to keep checking and inspecting them to make sure they are not overly grown.
If you go too long without cutting the nails, the blood supply will keep growing them sharper and harder, making it super difficult for you to cut them. In such situations, the chances of cutting the quick and bleeding the rabbit becomes higher. So, keep cutting the nails every month. Don’t let the nails become too long, sharp or curled up because they can lead to the problems of ingrown nails.
Is It Ok To Cut Your Rabbit’s Nails Yourself?
Cutting the nails of a rabbit isn’t as hard as sounds. Neither it requires any training or expertise. Most rabbit owners cut their pet’s nails by themselves. However, if you’re a new rabbit owner and haven’t cut a rabbit’s nails before, then consider learning this trick from an experienced rabbit parent before trying this out on your own pet. Further, if you’re still uncomfortable and nervous then consider taking your bunny to a pet groomer who will cut his nails safely.
Can I Cut My Baby Rabbit’s Nails?
The answer is no. If your rabbit is too young, then there is no need to cut his nails. They are already soft and well-trimmed. Any harsh tool can easily harm their little toes, so avoid cutting their nails before they reach 2-3 months of age.
Can I Use My Own Nail Cutter To Clip My Bunny’s Nails?
The simple answer is, No. You can’t use a regular nail clipper to cut your pet’s nails. The reason is, the nails of a rabbit are totally different from our nails. Unlike our flat nails, rabbits have hard, long and round nails, almost like a fat skewer. Human nail cutters are designed to cut only thin and flat nails and not these round ones. So, avoid using them.
You can easily get a nail trimmer that’s specially designed for pets nails. You can either get it from a local pet store or order one online. Further, if you don’t find nail trimmers that are specially designed for bunnies, use the one designed for cats or dogs, it will do fine.
My Rabbit Scratched Me While I Was Cutting His Nails, What To Do?
It is normal to get scratched by pets while you trim their nails against their will. There is nothing to worry about, simply wash your wound and apply an antiseptic cream. You can also apply some alum if the cut is deep. To avoid this in future, calm your rabbit down before cutting his nails and take help from a family member or friend while doing so.
Making sure you cut your rabbits nails is an important part of the monthly grooming routine of a bunny. We hope this guide proves to be useful!!