Are you scared of hurting your bearded dragon while trimming its nails? Most bearded dragon owners want to learn how to trim their beardie’s nails on their own, instead of always relying on a vet. Also, most owners are worried about the beardie scratching itself with its long nails. Trimming the nails may seem like a tough task, but it is not that difficult.
If you notice that your beardie’s nails are scratching you or the beardie itself, it’s time to trim them. However, you must know the basic anatomy of a bearded dragon so that you don’t end up hurting your reptile pet in the process. You can cut the beardie’s nails using special clippers for pets.
This article offers simple instructions on how to trim bearded dragon nails. In addition, it also addresses many common questions that you might have about your beardie’s nails.
When should you trim the bearded dragons’ nails?
Of course, the beardie can’t tell for itself when its nails need a trim. So, you need to keep a watch on it to see for yourself. For example, if the nails of beardie grow into the skin, it means they need a trim. If the nails scratch you when you handle it, this is another instance when you need to cut its nails.
At what age should you start clipping the beardie’s nails?
The age of the beardie doesn’t matter for cutting its nails. When you see that the nails have gotten long and visible, you can clip them right away. Otherwise, the beardie will injure itself. Also, if the beardie scratches you, this is a sign that you should trim the beardie’s nails.
Can you leave sandpaper around the beardie so that the nails get worn out?
If you leave sandpaper in the tank, the beardie may get sores on its feet. Therefore, leaving sandpaper is not the best idea. It will save you the hassle but might hurt your pet. Instead, you can line the tank with upturned ceramic tiles. This, in fact, will serve as a rough edge but won’t be jagged enough to hurt the beardie. Interestingly, some beardie owners use this trick and don’t have to clip the beardie’s nails at all.
Where can you get your beardie’s nails cut?
Trimming the beardie’s nails doesn’t necessarily warrant a visit to the vet. However, if you are not confident enough to cut them yourself, you should get someone to help you. Otherwise, you will end up hurting the beardie. A vet can also guide you on how to trim the nails. If you watch someone doing it, you will be able to cut the sharp edges yourself. Also, if you clip the beardie’s nails at home, you don’t have to transport it anywhere. It will also save you the veterinarian’s fee.
How often do you need to clip the beardie’s nails?
You should cut the beardie’s nails at least three or four times a year on the front. On the back, you can only cut those one or two times. However, some experts suggest that trimming the nails of both front and back for only one or two times is okay. If, however, the beardie has a rough surface around it, you might not have to trim its nails at all.
Is it necessary to clip the beardie’s nails?
If the beardie usually sits on a rough surface, the nails get worn down when they scratch the surface of the abrasive surface. This is why the beardies in the wild don’t need to get their nails clipped.
However, if you keep the beardie on something soft such as towels or newspapers, their nails will get sharp. Then, you will need to clip them. Otherwise, the beardie may scratch itself or even you. The toenails can also break if they are too long.
Why should you go to the vet before you start clipping the beardie’s nails?
The vet can measure the weight of the beardie and test for any fecal parasites. Typically, the vet will guide you exactly where you need to cut from. Also, the vet will give you a blood clotting gel in case you cut a blood vessel, and the beardie starts to bleed. The gel has antimicrobial properties that will prevent an infection from developing. In fact, the vet often tells you the basics of a bearded dragon’s nail anatomy. When you have enough knowledge, then you will feel more confident about cutting the beardie’s nails.
What products do you need to trim the nails?
Experts suggest that you need some products to clip the nails of your beardie. For example, you must have a nail trimmer. The trimmer, in fact, is the main product that you will be using. If you don’t have it, you can even use regular human nail clippers. Many brands sell beardie’s nail clippers. Consider purchasing a special nail trimmer as it is safer for your bearded dragon. In addition, you should have a towel, Q-tips, and cornstarch ready before you begin trimming the beardie’s nails.
How to ensure the safety of the beardie while trimming nails
First of all, you should use a nail clipper to ensure the safety of your beardie. Some brands offer a safety stop with the clipper so that you don’t accidentally cut the beardie’s toe. This helps give you more control while you are clipping the nails. That way, you don’t have to worry about cutting a blood vessel.
Does clipping nails hurt the beardie?
Clipping the dead skin of the nails doesn’t hurt. However, if a blood vessel or nerve is cut, it will hurt the beardie. So, you must be very careful when cutting the beardie’s nails.
What to do if you cut a blood vessel?
If you cut the quick in the nail of the beardie, it will hurt a lot. This is because a nerve runs through the quick. When the nerve is damaged, pain signals go through the beardie’s body.
The cut doesn’t bleed a lot. However, it can develop an infection if microorganisms enter the bloodstream from the wounded area. For this, you can apply styptic powder to the cut. Styptic powder is a hemostatic agent that helps to clot blood and form a plug on the blood vessel. This will, eventually, seal the blood vessel and prevent further bleeding.
In case you do not have styptic powder, you can also use cornstarch from your kitchen.
When you have applied the powder to the beardie’s toe, don’t try to trim that nail again.
What if your beardie doesn’t like clipping nails?
You can offer a treat to the beardie after clipping the nails. So, every time you clip the nails, the beardie will attach clipping nails to the treat. That was, clipping nails will become a positive experience for the beardie. You can treat the beardie with anything it enjoys eating.
Tips to make sure that the beardie is not stressed
The beardie should remain calm when you are trimming its nails. Otherwise, you may end up hurting the beardie. If it is not calm, you can give it a warm bath. You can also feed the beardie with its favorite treat.
More tips to help the beardie destress.
If the beardie is still not calm, you can stroke its head or cover it with a blanket. So, when you are covering the beardie with a blanket, make sure that the blanket is thick enough to block the light out. In this way, you have relieved the beardie of sensory overload. In complete darkness, the beardie will start to calm down.
Steps to clip the beardie’s nails
First of all, make sure that the bearded dragon is not jumpy. If, however, it looks stressed out, follow the tips above and make sure that it is relaxed. If you try to clip the beardie’s nails while it isn’t calm, you will injure it.
After you are sure that the beardie is calm and not jittery anymore, you can start clipping its nails.
Grasp the beardie’s toes and position the cutter in front of them. Next, make sure you correctly identify the black part that needs to be cut. The white part of the nail is a little thicker; hence you should not cut it. If you cut the white part accidentally, the beardie will start to bleed. This is where the blood vessels of the nail are.
When you are trimming nails, you must have a Q-tip and cornstarch near you. If you accidentally cut the beardie’s blood vessel and cause bleeding, you can quickly apply the cornflour to the cut. This will stem the leak and also prevent infection.
Then, you can carefully trim all the nails of the beardie. Usually, the back feet nails might not even need any trimming because they don’t grow as fast as the front ones.
After you have trimmed all the nails to the recommended length, you should give the beardie a treat. This is a job well done by both the beardie and you. So, you can go ahead and treat yourself as well!