If you own a bearded dragon, you would have noticed how long their nails can grow through the years, posing a danger to you and your bearded dragon.
Trimming your bearded dragon’s nails might seem like a challenging task; fortunately, we are here to make it easy for you!
After reading this post, you will learn how to check for long nails, what tools you’ll need, and how to do it in just a few quick steps.
This is something anyone can do easily from their home, and will have your bearded dragon kept happy and healthy.
When to trim bearded dragon nails
On average, a bearded dragon’s nails need to be trimmed once every 4 to 6 months. However, that will also depend on how fast your beardie’s nails grow.
There are two signs to look out for that will signal when it’s time to go ahead and cut your pet’s nails.
Sign #1 Scratching
The first one is when their nails begin to scratch you. You may not notice this if you aren’t holding your pet very much, but this is important to keep an eye out for.
If you rarely get them out, look at their nails occasionally, so you know when it’s time to clip them.
Sign #2 Ingrown nail
The second sign is an ingrown nail, which happens when the nail grows so long that it begins to curl underneath. As mentioned above, this is uncomfortable and can be painful, so try to ensure it doesn’t reach this point.
Most people will find that they need to trim their pet’s nails at least 1-2 times a year, with some going higher to 5-6 times a year. This is up to you and depends more on how fast your pet’s nails grow. Just keep an eye on their nails every couple of months.
Preparation: Items you’ll need
The first thing you’re going to need is a nail trimmer. Many people differ on the type of trimmer they use, but it’s really up to you.
You can buy a specific trimmer for a bearded dragon or even use one meant for another animal, such as a cat or dog. Zen Clippers host a great variety of trimmers that you could use for your bearded dragon.
Some people even use standard nail clippers for humans, which is totally fine! Just make sure you are careful with whatever clipper you are using and know how to use it before you try it on your animal.
The second thing you’ll need is some treats to have nearby. You want to make sure you can reward your pet during and after the clipping, as it may stress them out just a little.
Nothing fanciful so far, right? Told you it’s going to be an easy lesson!
Step 1: Make sure the beardie is calm and comfortable
And now we are ready to begin! First of all, you need to make sure your bearded dragon is calm. This is a crucial step! You don’t want to be handling a hyper or stressed-out beardie when trying to clip their nails.
There are a few ways you can calm them down, including stroking them, giving them a bath, covering their cage, and giving them treats. You may even let your bearded dragon listen to some relaxing music!
Hopefully, you know what will make your pet relaxed and can ensure they are calm before starting. If you find that these methods are not working, just simply try again the next day.
Important: Don’t try to cut their nails when they are not calm. This is essential for both your safety and theirs.
You also want to ensure that your bearded dragon is comfortable being held by you. Some people don’t handle their pets as much, which can make it difficult when trying to trim their nails.
Try and incorporate some handling time into your daily routine. This will make your pet more comfortable being held, which will make it easier when you decide to clip their nails.
Step 2: Decide how to handle
Next, decide if you are going to have someone hold your pet while you cut their nails, or if you are going to hold them yourself. This all depends on how cooperative your bearded dragon will be.
If they don’t mind their nails being cut, you may be able to simply have them lay down. This way, you can easily cut their nails while they remain calm and stay lying down.
This may only come with time, so make sure your pet is really calm if you try this way.
Held by you
The best method is to hold your bearded dragon to ensure your pet won’t move while you are in the process of trimming. This is important for the safety of both you and your beardie.
If you aren’t holding them, they may strike out unexpectedly, causing you to cut deeper than intended. That said, if they are calm and you can hold them steady while you work, this is the ideal situation.
Held by a friend
If the above methods are not plausible, have a friend hold them while you clip their nails. This way, you can focus on the trimming while someone else ensures the bearded dragon won’t move.
Make sure they know how to hold them correctly, never squeezing. Also, make sure to wave your hand in front of their face before picking them up, so they are not surprised when handled.
If they do not want to be picked up, just leave them be and try a different day. Again, we don’t want to handle an upset bearded dragon.
Step 3: Which part of the nail to clip?
When looking at what part of the nail needs to be handled, notice the white part near the leg, and the thin black part coming out in the claw. The black part is the piece you will be cutting.
The white piece contains living tissue and blood vessels, so you mustn’t hit this part. You want to cut about half of the black section, making sure not to overcut.
You are not trying to cut most of the nail; you’re just trimming a little bit. Make sure you understand this before beginning, as you don’t want to hurt your pet!
Go slow and just cut a little piece of the thin claw. Over time, you will get more experienced on how to do this and hopefully will get more comfortable cutting their claws.
If you want further help, you can even look at pictures or YouTube videos. Here’s one video I found that explains it pretty well.
Step 4: Reward your beardie buddy after the deed
The final step is to reward your bearded dragon with a treat for cooperating so well! You may also want to keep some blood clotting gel around, just in case they bleed a little bit.
This should not happen if you stay near the tip, but if you accidentally go a little too deep, this may be a good product to have nearby. You can put a small amount on the nail, and the bleeding should stop shortly.
Make sure to give your bearded dragon some downtime after this, especially if they were stressed out. You could cover their cage, give them a bath, or do other things you know will keep your pet nice and relaxed.
The importance of trimming their nails promptly
There are a couple of reasons why this is a necessary action that needs to be taken. But firstly, if the nails are too long, it’s a danger to your pet. Nails that have grown too much can actually begin to twist over on themselves, making it difficult for your pet to walk.
Depending on how mobile your bearded dragon is, they also could have trouble getting around their enclosure and doing everyday tasks, such as climbing and eating.
This could reach a very uncomfortable point for them, causing unneeded distress, which can affect the life span of your bearded dragon.
The other reason is for the safety of you, their handler! If you constantly handle your pet, you don’t want to get punctured by claw marks. Make sure you keep an eye on the claw length, so you know when it’s time to cut them.
My bearded dragon’s nails are growing too fast!
There are certain products you can keep in your bearded dragon’s enclosure that will actually help trim their nails. These include items like wooden logs and rocks. They will naturally keep the nails worn down as your pet climbs on them and spends time rubbing their nails against them.
Another great item to look for is porcelain tile. You can pick these up from your hardware store, flip them around to the unfurnished side, and place them in the tank.
Make sure to put it somewhere you know your bearded dragon will use it, such as by their water bowl or climbing tree. Your beardie will use it as a basking plate and a nail filer at the same time!
This is a great way to keep their nails trimmed easily without forcing unnecessary stress on you and your pet. By keeping these items in their environment, they’ll do the work for you!
Now that you know how to cut your bearded dragon’s nails, you can keep your pet looking healthy and safe! It’s important to remember to trim their nails for both their health and yours, and it’s an easy task that you can learn rather quickly. After all, this is pretty simple, isn’t it!
Make sure you have done your research beforehand, and then you can begin like a pro. Good luck!