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Do I need to trim my rabbit's nails?

Article ID: 524
Last updated: 11 Feb, 2016
Revision: 11
Views: 31337

Rabbit nails should be trimmed as required. This can vary between individual rabbits, but basically, if they are getting too long they can be trimmed. Your vet can trim the nails and show you how to do it safely and what length is suitable. It’s important not to trim too short as this can cause bleeding and pain.

Rabbits need daily supervised exercise outside of their hutch on a variety of surfaces which can also help to keep the nails at a good length naturally.

Getting your rabbit used to having their nails touched and trimmed from an early age and associating nail trimming with positive things like food and patting is a good idea. Offer your rabbit some tasty carrot tops while you are trimming and always reward your rabbit for calm behaviour with a pat/healthy food treat.

Some rabbits are afraid of nail trimming. So if a rabbit doesn’t like getting their nails trimmed this could be because they are fearful and anxious about the process. Firstly ensure the rabbit is receiving enough daily exercise. If the nails still require trimming, you can try desensitisation which involves gradually getting the rabbit used to nail trimming in very small incremental steps, rewarding calm behaviour and ignoring unwanted behaviour by immediately stopping the session if the rabbit is upset.

As a first step place the nail trimmers within eyesight of your rabbit and reward for calm behaviour. Then very gradually bring the nail trimmers closer and closer and work up towards nail trimming, all the while rewarding for calm behaviour. If at any point your rabbit is upset, stop and try again on another day working up to a previously successful level and remaining there until your rabbit is comfortable and ready to progress to the next step.
 


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document What do I need to know before getting a rabbit?

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