Do you have a bunny at home as a pet? If this is the case or you are considering adopting one, it is best that you know in advance all the attention that he needs. For example, do you know that you have to cut nails to rabbits? We tell you how to do it, step by step!
Why cut the nails of rabbits
Among the tasks when it comes to hygiene of the rabbit, one of the most important is to cut its nails.
These are constantly growing and, if they are not cut, they will make the animal uncomfortable– They can unintentionally break, make it difficult to move, jump or hurt themselves.
In the case of rabbits that live in the wild, this is not necessary because they themselves wear them out in their daily life, when walking on uneven ground, making holes, etc. However, a domestic rabbit that neither looks for food or digs in the ground, does not have that possibility and we must help it with its nails.
Of course, if you do not feel capable of successfully completing this task, it is best to go to a professional. It is not a complicated job, but it does require patience and delicacy.
Steps to cut rabbit nails
The first thing you might be wondering is when should I cut my rabbit’s nails? Well, the truth is that there is no specific rule for this, since the growth rate may be different in each case.
- The advice is usually check them 1 or 2 times a month to see if these are so long that they bend. If so, it’s time for a cut.
- Another warning would be if we hear the clash of those nails against the ground when scrolling or jumping.
Before starting the task, a clarification. On their front legs, rabbits have a spur and four nails. In the rear only the four nails. It is important to know before you start cutting, don’t you think?
1. Choose the correct nail clipper
Ideally, you should select a pet nail clippers, like the one used for small dogs and cats. Of these, there are two varieties: the guillotine type and the scissor type.
Perhaps due to the size and thickness of the standard-size rabbit’s nails, the scissor-type one is easier for you to handle. However, in favor of the guillotine type of nail clipper, it must be said that these have a hole where the nail is inserted and serves as a stop so as not to cut too much.
This is very important, since the nails of rabbits have a inner vein that if you cut it it would cause pain and bleeding in the animal.
Take a look at her nails before you start. You will clearly see that the tip is lighter and as the nail progresses it darkens. That darker area is where the vein is and you shouldn’t cut through there. Only the front and clear part of the nail, so leave a few millimeters of distance with that other area.
2. Choose the right time and place, and ask for help to hold him
To cut nails to rabbits you have to know when is the best time for it. It cannot be that you intend to hold your bunny to fix its nails when it is very nervous or excited.
You should take advantage of the moments when he is calm and if when you hold him you notice that he begins to get nervous, you should calm him down with caresses, affectionate words, a snack …
If you have a lot of confidence with the animal and, in addition, it is used to cuts, you may be able to do it without the need for help. If this is not the case, the task will be much easier if you ask someone to help you hold the rabbit.
On the other hand, choose for the task a well lit place. That way you will minimize the chances of hurting him due to lack of visibility.
3. Hold him firmly, but without hurting him
If someone helps you, they will have to support the rabbit’s back against your chest and pass one hand under the front legs and the other under the animal’s rear, holding the sides of the legs.
In this way, it will be easier for you cut nails from the front.
If you don’t have help, it is best to place the rabbit on a high table, almost on the edge of the table. Then get above him, evidently without supporting your weight on his body. Never, under any circumstances, press your spine. Put one arm around him and grab the paw you are going to start with.
Another option to reassure the bunny is wrap it in a thin blanket or soft towel to immobilize him by cradling him. In that case, you will have to take out of the “wrapper” one paw at a time and through which you have already passed the nail clipper, return it to the inside of the blanket.
4. Start the cuts
Prior to cut the nails of rabbits, with the hand in which you have the nail clipper you should separate the hair from the nail to be able to see it well and know where to cut.
Then, put the clippers in place and start cutting. Remember: just the tip of the nail!
Repeat this for all nails and don’t forget the dewclaws.
Other tips when cutting nails for rabbits
Besides the nail clippers, there are other items that you can keep on hand.
One of those objects is a lima. If the nail is chipped, you may not need to cut it and simply file a few times.
Another thing that you could use to have around is a hemostático. This is an element that will help you stop bleeding and they are usually sold in different formats: powder, pencils, etc.
That way, if you accidentally cut the rabbit’s nail wrong and it bleeds, you can stop the blood more quickly.
Finally, remind you again that, in case you do not feel capable of doing your homework, it is best to ask help a professional veterinary or pet hygiene.