How to Trim a Bearded Dragon's Toenails

Bearded dragons, or beardies, require many aspects of care, including having their nails trimmed regularly. If left to grow long, a bearded dragon’s nails will become sharp and almost razor-like and can inflict damage upon contact. To prevent injury to you or others, cutting your reptile’s nails regularly is essential. Fortunately, you can easily maneuver this task with a little patience and a pair of cat nail trimmers.

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Bearded dragons use their sharp nails to help them climb.

Ask someone to hold the bearded dragon for you so you can clip its nails. Your dragon will likely squirm and try to run away while you trim its nails—at least the first few times—and enlisting the help of a holder will keep it in place. Either place the beardie on a table and have the helper gently hold the dragon still, or have the helper hold the dragon in his arms so that you can easily reach its claws.

Grab the beardie’s foot with your less dominate hand and examine its nail. Locate the part of the nail that needs trimming—it is at the end of the nail and is thinner than the rest. Bearded dragons have veins located in the beginning of their nails that supply blood to the nail—avoid cutting that part of the nail. The vein is not present in the very end of the nail where it is thin. Concentrate on that part of the nail.

Use cat nail clippers to trim off the very ends of the nails—avoid over-cutting. A good rule of thumb is to only cut off half of the thin part of the claw. Do not clip all the way up to where the nail becomes thicker, because doing so will increase your chances of cutting the vein and causing it to bleed. In addition, only cutting that much of the nail still leaves a bit of sharpness on the nail to help the beardie move around and climb.

Apply a small amount of blood clotting gel to any nails that are bleeding as a result of over-cutting. Try to use a product that is both anti-clotting and antibacterial, to prevent infection. If the nail continues to bleed after you have applied the gel, contact your beardie’s veterinarian.