Cutting the claws of your dwarf rabbit

Julie Lambert Amoureuse Lapin Nain

Julie Lambert, Paris, France

February 16, 2021


In order to take good care of your rabbit and allow it to live in good health it is necessary to carry out some care. His physical safety depends in particular on the length of his claws. The rabbit’s claws grow throughout its life and it is therefore important to take the time to cut them.

01 – Why cut your rabbit’s claws?

As explained above, the rabbit’s claws grow continuously throughout its life. In nature, the rabbit is able to wear them out thanks to the surfaces on which it can bounce, run and jump.

In captivity, clipping your dwarf rabbit’s nails will prevent your rabbit from turning a nail over unnecessarily or even injuring itself or a fellow rabbit by playing with it.

02 – When to cut your rabbit’s claws?

If your rabbit goes out every day, for several hours and even on several types of surface, the cutting will be less frequent. Otherwise, checking and trimming your rabbit’s claws once a month is a good frequency. Also, be aware that the claws on the front legs tend to grow faster than those on the hind legs.

Lapin Nain Griffes Pattes Pipine

Pipine’s claws.

Photographed by Julie Lambert.

03 – How to cut your rabbit’s claws?

Before you cut your rabbit’s claws, you need a special rabbit claw cutter, available in specialist shops or on the internet. For the first time, I advise you to ask your veterinarian to show you how to properly hold and trim your rabbit’s claws. Then, you can pair up to perform this treatment. One person holding the rabbit and the other one cutting the claws. This will avoid potential injuries if your rabbit does not let you do it. 

It is important to know that your rabbit has 4 claws at the back and 5 at the front and that on each claw there is a (often) white area through which you can see a vein running. Under no circumstances should the claw be cut beyond this area. In addition to hurting your rodent, you will also cause a small haemorrhage. For darker claws, don’t hesitate to use a lamp placed behind the claw to help you see the vein.

To cut them well, take your special claw clipper, spread the hairs at the claw level and cut 2-3 mm before the white area containing the vein, making sure to respect the rounded angle that the claw naturally forms so that regrowth does not pose a problem. If you accidentally cut the vein, take a compress and press it there on the claw, this will allow the blood to stop flowing. Remember to disinfect the wound well. The claw will heal by itself in the following days. If the haemorrhage is too important, you will have to contact your veterinarian.

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