Ferret nail clipping is extremely important to provide your ferret with more comfort. Overgrown nails can hurt your ferret, because the nail can prevent the foot from resting flat on the ground.
Also, overgrown nails tend to split and snag at the carpet, not to mention countless painful scratch marks to you and whoever else may be handling them.
Ferrets need their nails/ claws for many things such as balance, walking, climbing you and anything else they can find. This is why you should never declaw your fuzzy.
Declawing is simply cruel because their nails are non-retractable – just like the nails/claws on rabbits and dogs (cats claws are retractable) – therefore removing the nails/ claws would mean removing a part of their toe. OUCH! Needless to say, this is a mutilating, inhumane and horrible surgery – so don’t do it!!!
You will get used to ferret nail clipping as it is a fairly frequent task. Normally they need to be done once every 2 to 3 weeks...but this depends from one ferret to another.
Some ferret claws grow slower or faster than others. It can also depend on how much exercise they receive on a daily basis, the more ferrets exercise the more worn their claws can get.
In order to make ferret nail clipping a more of an enjoyable experience for your fuzzy make sure you give it a nice treat each time, so that he/she has a positive association.
How to make them sit still?!
There are three common methods of making you fuzzy sit still for ferret nail clipping:
Scruffing - This is one of the most common ways for ferret nail clipping. It keeps your ferret still, gives you a better grip and decreases the chance of you overcutting the nail. If your scruffed ferret still wriggles around, then you may need to grab someone else to help you, while giving your fuzzy some treats to take its mind off things.
“Ohhh whats that?” Distracting method – this is my favourite method! Sometimes it may take a little while for your fuzzy to get used to this...but once he/she does it is very rewarding for the both of you. Basically how it works is...you place a drop of something yummy on their tummy (that rhymes!), this could be some Ferretone, Nutrigel or some other fatty acid supplement, while they lie tummy up in your lap.
If your ferrets are into their treat you could drop a bomb near them and they will not be distracted from licking away at their bellies! Enjoy them sitting still in your lap just for a few moments while you get their nails clipped...it is oh so enjoyable!
Unfortunately this method does not work for all ferrets...but it’s worth giving it a try.
“What was that?” Getting them while they are asleep!– This is best done when your ferret is in a deep sleep. If your fuzzy is a good sleeper and your nail clipping talents are super fast and accurate then you may even get all 20 nails done?! Or...maybe not.
Look at your ferrets nail and notice they are:
sharp and pointy
some are thicker than others (they get thicker with age)
the nails on the back paws are much shorter then on the front (they get worn down more quickly, this can make trimming slightly harder).
A ferret nail is white...as opposed to a dogs (which is black). Therefore you can see the vein, called the quick, which makes it much easier to determine how much of the nail you can clip. The majority of the time this allows us owners to avoid a blood bath...can you imagine a wriggling ferret with black nails? Um...thank goodness they are white!
Basically you want to avoid the vein!
What to use???
You can use special pet nail clippers if you like however normal human nail clippers work just as well.
It does not matter what clipper you use as long as you can see what your doing (make sure the lighting is good in the room), you are comfortable using them and the blades are sharp, otherwise the blades could crush and slipt the nail walls leaving the edges sharp and prone to hooking onto things like blankets, towels and your clothing.
The method to the madness...the act of ferret nail clipping.
1. Once you have chosen your “method of restraint” hold one paw so that all toes are separated.
2. Do one nail at a time, carefully check where you need to cut...clip as much of the white nail tip off each toe as you can, leaving some white after the quick or vein...just make sure you don’t cut to close to the vein!
3. Move from one nail to the next and then change paws.
Sometimes accidents unfortunately do happen...where the ferret moves or you’re not paying attention...and poor little ferret gets hurt. If you do happen to cut the quick and it is bleeding then make sure you have either some cornstarch or styptic powder(if you don’t have those though you can also try dipping the nail in a bar of white soap, flour, beeswax or run the nail under cold water) on hand to stop the bleeding. Apply it directly to the tip of the bleeding nail. Best to give poor fuzzy a bit of a break at this stage.