If you own a bearded dragon, you know how fun and companionable these pets can be! With relatively low maintenance, they are a constant friend whose personality will blossom through time. You may have also experienced how long their nails can grow through the years, posing both a danger to you and your bearded dragon.
That’s what we’re here for! We’ll go over why this is important, how to know when you need to trim your pet’s nails, what tools you’ll need, and how to do it in just a few quick steps. This is something anyone can do 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 different signs to look out for that will signal when it’s time to go ahead and cut your pet’s nails.
- 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, make sure to occasionally glance at their nails, so you know when it’s time to clip them.
- 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 and make sure 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. This is up to you, and really is more dependent on how fast your pet’s nails grow. Just keep an eye on their nails every couple of months.
Do you have to trim bearded dragon nails?
There are a couple reasons why this is a necessary action that needs 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. The other reason is for the safety of you, their handler! If you are constantly handling 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 it.
Another great item to look for is a porcelain tile. You can pick these up from your hardware store, flip it around to the unfurnished side, and place it 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 unneeded stress on both you and your pet. By keeping these items in their environment, they’ll do the work for you!
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, and 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 begin trying it on your animal.
The next thing you’ll need is some treats to have nearby. You want to make sure your can reward your pet during and after the clipping, as it may stress them out just a little.
Make sure the beardie is calm and comfortable
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, a couple of which include 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. 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 make sure 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.
Decide how to handle
First 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 though, so make sure your pet is really calm if you decide to try this way.
The best method is holding your bearded dragon, so as 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 being said, if they are calm and you can hold them steady while you work, this is the ideal situation.
If this is 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 up, so they are not surprised when handled. If they are not wanting to be picked up, just leave them be and try a different day. Again, we don’t want to handle an upset bearded dragon.
Which part of the nail to clip?
When looking at what part of the nail needs 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 it is imperative you don’t hit this part. You want to cut about half of the black section, making sure not to over cut.
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 with cutting their claws. If you want further help, you can even look at pictures or YouTube videos.
Reward your beardie buddy after the deed
The final step is to give your bearded dragon a treat. You also may 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 accidently 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 down time after this, especially if they were stressed out. You could cover their cage, give them a bath, or other things you know will keep your pet nice and relaxed.
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. Make sure you have done your research beforehand, and then you can begin like a pro. Good luck!