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 :
- Clippers. You can use something like in the picture
- 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
- 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
- you can press the affected nail into a bar of mild
- 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.