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How To Trim Ferrets Nails – Step By Step Guide

How To Trim Ferrets Nails - Step By Step GuideHow To Trim Ferrets Nails – Step By Step Guide

I have been often asked how I keep my ferret’s nails so neatly cut and trimmed. 

Many ferret parents leave it to the Vet to take care of this grooming necessity. However, it’s not that difficult if you know a few tricks.

Ferrets cannot  keep their  nails at the proper length on their own. They don’t get worn down much naturally and grow quickly. If left untrimmed too long, a ferret’s nails will start to curl and grow under her paw and even into it.

When your ferret’s nails are too long, they can have tears, sharp points and ragged edges. She can easily catch them on bedding, furniture or carpets. This could break the nail, tear it, or rip it off completely. Your ferret could further injure herself from trying to free her paw.

I know of a ferret mom who found one of her ferrets dangling from her cage hammock by one nail! She caught her nail in the fabric when she tried to get out of the hammock. I can’t imagine how how much that must have hurt. She was lucky no permanent damage was done.

How To Trim Ferrets Nails

As with all ferret grooming, you should regularly examine your ferret for any signs of potential health or safety issues. Check your ferret’s nails for ragged edges and cut them as needed to  keep them short.  If you notice she is getting her nails snagged on bedding or they’re especially sharp, clip them, even if you just cut them last week.

How To Trim Ferrets Nails – Step By Step Guide

Know what to look for

Look at your ferret’s nail. You will see a small red line inside it. That’s called the “quick”. That’s the part that bleeds when you accidentally cut your ferret’s nail too short. Because the “quick” has nerve endings, it hurts when cut. Cut your ferret’s nail about 1/8″ beyond the end of the “quick.” When you trim the nail, cut it at an angle that will make the nail tip parallel to the floor when your ferret is standing. You don’t want it to curve over. This will help prevent the nail tips from breaking off if the nails become too long.

Supplies You Will Need

You will need a few supplies before you get started.How To Trim Ferrets Nails - Step By Step GuideThese supplies include:

  1. Ferret or cat nail clippers (preferably with file)
  2. Styptic pads such as Miracle Care Kwik Stop Styptic
  3. Treat such as Ferretone

Scissor style ferret clippers with a notch at the bottom of the blade are the easiest to use. Avoid using nail clippers for dogs or people. These types of clippers can pinch or twist your ferret’s nail or are just too large.

Styptic pads or powders are necessary for when you accidentally cut the nail a little too short, causing your ferret to bleed. This may happen a few times as you learn how to cut your ferret’s nails. You will need these styptic pads to stop the bleeding–which can take some time to stop on its own. I prefer using styptic pads with benzocaine, such as Miracle Care Kwik Stop Styptic Pads. It’s quick and easy and most importantly, the benzocaine reduces pain.How To Trim Ferrets Nails – Step By Step GuideFerretone is used to distract your ferret while you’re clipping her nails. Other treats can be used, but FerreTone seems to work best. After awhile your ferret probably won’t even care that you are cutting her nails– as long as she has some Ferretone.How To Trim Ferrets Nails - Step By Step Guide

How To Trim Ferrets Nails – Step By Step Guide

  1. Get all your supplies ready.
  2. Put your ferret on her back in your lap–either on the floor with your legs straight out, or seated in a chair.
  3. Pour a little Ferretone on your ferret’s tummy.
  4. While your ferret is distracted by the treat, clip her nails.
  5. Start with the front nails. Work carefully one paw at a time.
  6. Give your ferret more Ferretone as needed.
  7. After you have clipped all her nails, gently file off any rough edges.
  8. When you’re finished, reward her with a little extra treat, love and play!

How To Trim Ferrets Nails If She Won’t Cooperate

If your ferret won’t hold still, even with a treat, don’t give up. There are a few other ways to go about cutting her nails.

One way to trim your ferret’s nails is to have someone scruff her. Your ferret should be facing you with her paws hanging down. Alternately, instead of hanging there, your ferret can be scruffed and her back supported by the other person’s forearm.

Another way to trim her nails is to wrap her in a towel with just her head and one paw sticking out. Have someone hold her while you clip.

If you are still having trouble, another way to cut your ferret’s nails is to sneak up on her while she is sleeping and trim a few before she wakes up.

Most ferrets don’t mind having their nails trimmed, as long as you don’t accidently hurt her, and when distracted by a treat. What’s more, the more you do it, the better and quicker you get at it and the less you need to worry about the Ferretone running out!

Looking for other grooming tips? Check out How to Bathe a Ferret-Important Steps and How to Clean Ferrets Ears Safely

If you have any further questions or comments,  feel free to contact me below.

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4 thoughts on “How To Trim Ferrets Nails – Step By Step Guide

  1. Fascinating. I would never have dreamed of trimming a ferret’s toe nails but upon consideration, I am sure it would be necessary in the long term care of the animal. Nice post for lovers of this animal!

    1. Hi Byron,
      Yes, many ferret parents don’t think about trimming their ferret’s nails. I hope this step by step article will be helpful.

  2. Great stuff. I never even thought about having to clip a pet ferrets nails but that sounds doable. Hopefully the Ferretone works well. what other treats could you suggest if thats not doing the distraction therapy?

    1. Thanks for your comment and question, Megan.
      Ferretone is a favorite of many ferrets. But if that doesn’t work for trimming ferret’s nails, than you can try any other healthy snack your ferret enjoys, such as little pieces of meat. If you want to find out more about healthy ferret treats, please see How to Train a Ferret to Come. Several different treat options are suggested.

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