Rabbits who live in the wild don't need pedicures because their nails are kept short by normal means. However, because she lives indoors, your rabbit's toenails can grow very long and sharp. If they are not trimmed regularly, they can become uncomfortable for both you and your pet. If left untrimmed, her nails can curve too far inward, which can cause them to break, a painful experience for your pet. Trimming her nails may not be one of the more exciting grooming tasks for either you or your rabbit. But, with some patience and care, you can do it. You may want to have your vet or an experienced groomer show you the technique the first time.
Trimming your rabbit's nails can present a bit of a challenge for another reason - your rabbit won't like being restrained, which is part of the process. Enlist a helper if you can. You can wrap your rabbit in a towel with her feet sticking out and trim the nails while your helper holds her. The main thing you want to be cautious about is cutting into the quick of the nail. If your rabbit has light colored nails, the quick (the portion of the nail containing the blood) will be highly visible, making them very easy to trim. All you have to do is clip the nail below the quick. If your rabbit has dark colored nails, it will be more difficult to see the quick, so you should cut the nails a little at a time. Remember your objective is to trim the sharp points. It's not necessary to cut off a large part of the nail, particularly if you trim them on a regular basis. Scissors or a guillotine type nail clipper for pets is the best tool to use.
If you should cut into the quick by mistake and bleeding occurs, you can stop it by using one of the following methods:
- Apply pressure to the nail with a cotton ball
- Use a coagulating agent such as "Quick Stop"
One way to cut down on the frequency of nail trimming is to place some rough stones or bricks in her cage. This will provide an abrasive surface that will help keep her nails worn down naturally.
If you don't want to attempt clipping your rabbit's nails yourself, your veterinarian can do the job. Nails should be checked every four to six weeks. Never declaw a rabbit! It is unsafe, inhumane and is not recommended.