Rabbits are one of the cleanest animals. They love to self groom several times a day, but sometimes a helping hand is needed – especially when it comes to basic things like cutting the nails or brushing their fur. What most rabbit owners may not know is that most rabbits actually dread this activity.
Read on to find out some of the best nail clippers you can use on your bunny, tips and ideas on how you can go about cutting overgrown rabbit nails and answers to some frequently asked questions.
Best Rabbit Clippers
There aren’t golden clippers specifically designed for this job, but here are three excellent choices you can choose from.
1. Kaytee Pro-Nail Trimmer
One of the best selling clippers available in the market is this Kaytee pro nail trimmer that’s four inches long offering enough length space for the rabbit’s nail. It’s in the shape of a pair of scissors, hence easy to work with and cut.
The trimmer is made of high-quality stainless steel to cut through even the toughest of nails, and rubber handles for ergonomic handling. What’s more, the material also allows it to be durable, therefore worth every penny you purchase it with. Lastly, the trimmer has high-quality blades, sharp, and firm to allow for precise cuts.
It’s light, easy to use, and pocket-friendly; what more could you ask for.
2. Safari Pet Products Professional Nail Trimmer
Next up is this safari, plier- style nail clipper made easily portable for your safaris. Costing a little higher than the previous product, this trimmer also features stainless steel edges perfect for cutting long and sturdy nails for your pet.
It also has a rubber exterior on the handle to aid with a strong and comfortable grip. This also adds to its longevity. They have a variety of sizes to choose from, which is great for versatility.
One last unique feature is the built-in locking blades that maintain safety as you use this tool – it prevents accidental cuts as you’re trimming your rabbit.
- Use of excellent materials ( rubber and stainless steel)
- Easy to maintain
- Safe to use
- As it comes with a plier style, it’s actually bigger in size than the scissor type.
3. Shiny Pet Pet Nail Clipper
The number one selling feature for this shiny pet nail clipper is the ability to cut the nails of a small pet.
Yes, it’s actually that small and can easily nip a tiny nail as compared to the other choices. Another exciting thing about this selection is that it’s eco-friendly.
The handles are made from recycled plastics, which also makes it less costly. This pair of claw scissors has a semicircular blade made with stainless steel for extra sturdiness. It’s also sharp enough to cut even the toughest of nails in a single cut.
- Easy to use and maintain
- Great for novice users
- Excellent for small animals
- It can get rusty over time, especially around the handles.
How to Cut Rabbit Nails that are Overgrown
Cutting your rabbit nails is easily done in three simple steps.
- Finishing up
The first thing you need to do under preparation is to inspect your bunny’s nails to check if it needs the clipping. Because their nails grow at different speeds, some may need clipping at three weeks while others can stay as long as six weeks before trimming
Check to see if it’s too long, maybe curled on the edges, or there’s a sound of the nails hitting the floor every time they hop. Also ensure you inspect all their nails – rear and front paws, as well as the, declaw, which sits higher than the front paws on the inside of the paw.
The second stage of preparations includes choosing the best nail clipper for your pet. Some of you will prefer the pair of scissors-type clippers, others will want the plier-type, and finally the guillotine style clippers for sturdier nails. Either way, select the one that best suits you in terms of the size of the animal or nail type.
Other items you may need to ensure a smooth cut is styptic for just in case you nip the quick vein on the rabbit that tends to bleed profusely. The powder prevents bleeding by acting as a clotting agent. You may also need to use gloves just to be on the safe side.
Once all the preparations are made, you can begin clipping the nails, but you will need to ensure the rabbit is in a comfortable position to avoid accidental cuts as it fidgets. You can opt for several options like;
- Restraining the rabbit
- Adjusting the environment
- Seeking professional assistance
Restraining Your Rabbit
Keeping your pet on a leash is rather a harsh choice because you will only make the pet more tense and uneasy during the process of clipping. Holding it down with pressure can also create a stressful situation for the rabbit as it struggles to leave. Never hold it down with it’s back or spine as you will be threatening its mobility.
Instead, opt to have someone hold down the rabbit with its flanks, as you gently clip the nails. The main idea here is for someone to keep the rabbit steady so you don’t nick its vein.
Adjusting the Environment
The rabbit may react better if you do the clipping in a comfortable surrounding like at home. Place the pet on your lap and gently stroke it’s back as you hold around the abdomen. This should release its tension and panic.
There’s no need to exert any pressure or force at this point since once the rabbit is comfortable, you can begin clippings and it can allow you to see the nail better.
Clipping can be a nerve-wracking activity especially if you’ve never done it before. This is why it may be better to ask a vet or a professional to do it for you.
They are more averse with the right techniques of cutting the nails and save you the trouble of having to fuss and fight with your pet.
When you’ve made yourself comfortable, you can now begin the clipping process. You have to be extra careful to ensure you don’t cut its blood vessel located on the inside of the claws.
Therefore, before you start clipping, identify the position of the quick/ Kirk which should be a red or dark spot inside the root of the nail.
With clean and clear nails, it should be much easier to spot it. Otherwise, you can also use a flashlight to spot it. Once you know where it is, draw a line above the vessel to ensure you don’t cut it accidentally.
Using your clippers, firmly press down against the nail to trim it, remember the longer the nails, the harder they are.
Do this one by one for all the nails. You can also take little breaks in between to give your rabbit some treats.
3. Finishing Up
For the final stage, check on all the nails to ensure you have trimmed them all to a good size. Check the declaw as well as it could hurt your bunny if it’s overgrown and left uncut.
Here’s where you’ll also require styptic powder to prevent over bleeding. If you spot blood oozing from somewhere, simply locate the area, sprinkle some powder over the area and let the powder do its work.
Why Trimming Bunny Nails is Important
Trimming of nails is an essential part of proper grooming, just like brushing your hair and bathing. As so, this is the fundamental reason why trimming your bunny’s nails is vital. It’s simply because the nails will grow out over time and they need to be cut to maintain their health and well-being.
Secondly, if the nail is left out to grow too long, it could start to curl into the foot. You can imagine how painful that can be. What’s more, the discomfort can cause the bunny to be unable to walk properly. Long nails also have the tendency to get caught up on something. For bunnies, this can be dangerous since they hop the probability of getting injured is high.
Another vital reason as to why trimming your bunny’s nails is essential is because of the quick blood vessel. This specific blood vessel is located under each one of the nails. If the nail is left to grow longer than usual, it also means the vein will outgrow its normal length.
Since it extends to about three-quarters of the nail, you tun the risk of letting it get too exposed if the nail is left unchecked. Once this happens, you will be restricted from properly cutting your bunny’s nail to the right size.
Lastly, the rabbit can experience sore hocks if the nail is left to grow out too long. The sore hocks will then change the way the rabbit walks, stands, and even sits. This is very unpleasant and uncomfortable for the bunny as it will have it readjust and redistribute its weight to cater to the change in posture
Once this happens, it is difficult to get the nails back to a proper length, as the quick extends out too far. In severe cases, the bunny’s feet can get an infection which means extra expenses at the veterinarian’s office.
Can I Use Regular Nail Clippers on My Rabbit?
While there are no specified nail clippers for bunnies, you can’t use the regular clippers as they are thin, and don’t have extra sharp blades. They are best suited for flat and light nails like those of a human being.
The animal/ pet clippers, however, will cater to their needs as they come in three formats;
- Scissors type which allows you to easily cut off the nail without causing the rabbit any pain.
- Pliers type which is tougher than the former type. An excellent choice for small animals like cats and bunnies
- Guillotine style – lastly, these have the thickest stainless steel, sharpest of blades, and ergonomic handles to allow for easy cutting. Best for hard nails like those of dogs and overgrown nails on rabbits.
Therefore, it is not advised to use regular nail clippers on a rabbit.
How Long Should Rabbit Nails Be?
Most rabbit keepers recommend between 4 to 7 weeks. This however depends on the type of surface on which your bunnies spend most of their time. If it the surface is hard, regular trimming is necessary to avoid sore hocks.
Some folks also argue that isn’t a specific rule on how long the nail of a rabbit should be before the need to cut since there are a couple of factors that will affect how long and fast they will grow.
Therefore, as a general rule, maintain one size that’s three quarters the length of the blood vessel and keep the nail at that level by trimming monthly, or every six weeks.
Do You Have to Cut a Rabbit’s Nails?
Yes, the rabbit’s nails have to be cut for multiple reasons as discussed above. It will aid in keeping the anatomy of the growing nail steadily progressing, preventing the nail from curling, and to simply maintain the overall health of the bunny.