Trimming your bearded dragon's nails is one important aspect of care for your lizard. You can easily trim bearded dragon nails with small nail clippers designed for small animals. Make sure to keep your bearded dragon calm and ask for help holding him if needed.
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Bearded dragon nail trimming requirements
You will know it is time to trim your beardie's nails when it becomes painful to hold her because she is scratching your arm and breaking the skin. You may need to trim her nails monthly or only a couple of times each year. You can place rough surfaces and tiles in the terrarium to help naturally wear down bearded dragon nails so you can trim them less often.
In many cases, you can trim your beardie's nails by yourself, but if you haven't done a nail trim on a small pet before or if your beardie is squirmy, it can be helpful to ask a friend to help hold her. Hold your beardie so that she is secure and won't jerk away and cause you to accidentally cut too much of the nail. Try to do this when she is naturally calm and resting rather than when your beardie is normally active.
How to trim bearded dragon nails
Make sure you have a pair of small animal nail clippers. These are designed for small pets and make the job easier. Human nail clippers will work in a pinch, but you will find it more difficult to hold the clippers at a good angle, and you are more likely to end up with an uneven cut.
Examine your beardie's nails. You will see that most of the nail is thick, and at the end, it narrows into a tip. Use the clippers to remove the tip of the nail. After the initial cut, check the nail to see if you need to remove more of the nail. If necessary, trim a bit more but be sure to trim a small slice of the nail with each cut to avoid hitting the quick.
Managing your beardie's stress level
Be sure to handle your bearded dragon's feet frequently so that he is used to the feeling. You can also open and close the clippers and hold them near his feet to get him accustomed to the sound. This will help make the nail trimming process easier and less stressful.
Make sure that nail trimming is a good experience for your beardie. Otherwise, the task may get more stressful over time. Be sure to reward him with treats. If your beardie does get stressed during the process, take a break to give him an opportunity to calm down. When you first start, you may need to take a break between trimming each foot.
Bearded dragon nail injuries
When you trim your beardie's nails, be sure to trim the excess growth but avoid the quick. The quick is the part of the nail with blood vessels. If you do hit the quick, your beardie will likely bleed. Stop the bleeding by applying styptic powder to the wound. Take a break and finish the nail trim once your beardie has calmed down.
When you don't trim your beardie's nails, they are more likely to snag on various surfaces and may result in an injury to the nail. If this happens, remove the nail if possible and clean the wound with betadine. Don't hesitate to reach out to a vet if the wound doesn't heal or if your beardie shows any signs of infection, such as swelling, discharge, loss of appetite, or lethargy.
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