A Little History
The House Rabbit
A Quick Glance -
Spaying & Neutering -
Life Expectancy -
Diet -
Handling -
Grooming -
Bonding -
Litter-Training -
Breeds -
Emergencies -  
Recommended Vets in Singapore -
Common Illnesses -
Preventive Measures -
Care for the Sick -
Air Travel with Rabbits
Pregnancy & Rabbits
General Misconceptions
Why Breeding is Bad
Confronting Animal Abuse



The House Rabbit

Trimming Nails

To assure your bunny stays in good health you will need to clip their nails. This can be a frustrating job at first, but with patience and practice it will become an easy part of your care routine.

Rabbits need to have their nails clipped short for your protection and theirs. Long nails can leave nasty scratches on owners arms. Rabbits with long nails can get them caught on furniture or wire cages and rip them clear out, causing pain for the bunny. A little routine maintenance can prevent these problems from happening in the first place. You're going to need :

  1. Clippers. You can use something like in the picture below.
  2. A long sleeve shirt and jeans to help prevent scratches.

Rabbits nails need to be cut about every three weeks on average. The first few times you clip the nails, you will probably want to have help available, since the rabbit will probably not be too happy about the clipping. Remember, rabbits are easily frightened of new things, but with patience they learn it doesn't hurt them, and become willing participants.

The most important thing to remember is that there is a vein that runs up the rabbit's nails. You will want to cut BELOW this vein for two reasons. First, the nail below the end of the vein has no nerve endings in it, and the rabbit will not feel you clip the nails. Secondly, if you cut into the vein, the rabbit's nail will bleed - sometimes quite heavily.

Look at the nail, and make sure you can see the vein. If you cannot see the vein, shine the light from the flashlight behind the nail. The nail will be more transparent, and the vein will appear darker. It should look like the picture above.

Sit in a chair with your bunny between your legs, tummy up, head toward your knees. If you put a bunnies head lower than the rest of the body you can put the bunny in what's known as "bunny trance". Be careful because the bunny can snap out of this trance at any time. With a bit of practice you can become good at "trancing bunnies" and it will make the job of nail cutting much easier.

Carefully place the nail clippers just below the vein, and clip firmly. Now repeat the process for the remaining nails. If you cut too high, and the nail bleeds, use the styptic powder to stop the bleeding.

When Accidents Happen
No matter how careful you are, you will likely accidentally hit a nail quick and cause some bleeding at some point. Don't panic. Here are some things that will stop the bleeding:

  • a commercial product such as Kwik-Stop (a powder) or any styptic powder. These sting but are highly effective. Take a pinch of powder and press onto the tip of the affected nail after wiping away the blood.
  • cornstarch or flour can also be used in a similar manner
  • you can press the affected nail into a bar of mild soap
  • for minor problems, simply applying pressure to the tip of the nail may be effective

No matter which method you use, make sure the bleeding has stopped before placing the animal back in its cage, or leaving the animal unattended.

While nail trims sometimes seem very daunting, especially on a nervous and jumpy pet, doing nail trims is really not difficult and will become much easier if they are done regularly as part of your pets' maintenance.



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House Rabbit Society (Singapore).
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