Online Veterinary Advice: How to Clip Your Pet’s Nails Without Regret – Videos and Tutorials

How to clip your dog’s, cat’s, bird’s, ferret’s and guinea pig’s nails or claws; online veterinary approved links for multiple species

Puppy and kitten | Pet Vet Online AdviceClipping your pet’s nails can be daunting and frustrating task that can even be dangerous for you and your pet.  As veterinarians, Dr. Laci and I see the results of misinformed pet owners and the damage they have done to their pet’s toes unintentionally.  On the other hand, we have seen pet owners neglect cutting their pet’s nails and have treated the medical conditions that resulted from the lack of clipping.  We decided to put together a bunch of links for different species that we feel are accurate and appropriate educational tools for pet owners.

Dog and Cat Nails

In our opinion, Washington State University has an excellent overview of clipping dog claws/nails.  They provide great photos to help pet owners understand the anatomy and procedure for cutting nails.  Visit Washington State University’s website for dog and cat instructions.

Bird Nails

There are many sites that explain how to clip your bird’s nails, but in our opinion, the most thorough and user-friendly explanation is a fantastic video put out by  We think the optional equipment should be mandatory if you are an amateur or don’t have any experience clipping your birdie’s nails. Here it is:

Ferret Nails

This video isn’t the best of quality but it covers the basics.  Also consider using Ferretone to appease him/her during the process.

Guinea Pig Nails

The following link gives a pretty decent review of clipping a guinea pig’s nails.

If you would like additional information specific to your pet and their nails, or if your pet has a nail problem, visit VetLIVE to ask a veterinarian for advice online.

Rabbit Nails

I recommend that only veterinary health care professionals clip your rabbit’s nails if you are not highly trained in rabbit restraint.  Ask a vet for help with rabbits. The reason is that rabbits can get scared and “kick out” and break their backs.  More information about rabbit handling and “kicking out” can be found in the handling section of the article in PDF format.

The take home message is that if your pet is difficult, aggressive, or has highly pigmented nails, please consider going to your local veterinarian or groomer for a nail trim by professionals.  Ask a vet for help – most clinics and groomers charge between $8 and $20 USD for a nail trim and some may or may not require a physical exam.

Happy trims to you!

Dr. Jed

Online Vet Dr. Jed Schaible Signature

Ask a vet | Dr. Jed Schaible VMD

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October 21, 2010 at 07:00

Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

- Kris

November 16, 2010 at 08:35

Gracias for this post, seriously, can you sign up as a topic contributor for wikipedia because the current stuff submitted there for our interest is quite frankly next to useless. I can’t say I agree completely with it but I agree with it on the most part and I certainly applaud your effort in putting it so succinctly.