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Old 02-25-2005, 07:50 PM   #1
babyboos
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Default Are your hamster's nails too long?

As a responsible hamster owner, of any species, it is important we regularly check our little one’s nails are not getting too long… How long is too long I hear you ask? (Oh no we didn’t’ – Oh yes you did!)

Do they curve around like half moon crescent shapes, if so, they are probably too long. If not, how much dead nail is there showing (white nail) growing past the "quick", that pink medial line, an agglomeration of blood vessels and nerve endings highly sensitive to pain, that runs down the lower half of the nail? It should only really be a few millimeters, and not too sharp either.

Giving your hamster a sand bath can help keep his nails trim, (and frequency of complete enclosure cleanouts down ), but other things I use in the Hamstery include unshelled nuts, especially walnuts. I crack the nut slightly so the hamster can smell the yummy, fatty goodness inside and he digs, scratches, and bites away at the shell to get inside (also helping keep his teeth trim in the process). Alternatively a fist sized stone can be placed in the cage. Be sure to scrub it thoroughly and dry in the oven to sterilise it first.

You will sometimes get one or more persistent nails and these may need to be clipped A pair of nail-clippers or a very sharp pair of scissors can be used as per personal preference. There is a large variety of nail-clippers on the market, though most work on the "guillotine" method, and it may take some time to decide the best pair for your own circumstances. Kept alongside the nail clippers should be a styptic "pen" or styptic powder. No matter how carefully you trim your little one's nails, or how competent you think you are, it is inevitable that there will come the time when you inadvertently cut across the "quick" mentioned earlier. A styptic of some description should be within reach when trimming nails as it will stop the bleeding should things go wrong. The one I use is the same type that is sold to men who cut themselves whilst shaving and is purchased very cheaply from the local family chemist shop.

I recommend a visit to your local vet nurse for a demonstration if you are wary. They should be able to show you how best to hold your little one and how much to take off. Don’t worry if you only get to do one at a time without causing undue distress, not all hamsters will let you cut their nails all in one sitting, and sadly some hamsters actually need to be sedated I do hope yours is not one of them.
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Old 02-26-2005, 12:37 AM   #2
Emma
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Some really good advice there babyboos, I hadn't thought of the sandbaths being good for nails before, I know they certainly do wonders for some greasy coats.



I give the robos unshelled nuts sometimes, partially cracked - it takes them days to get through them.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:45 PM   #3
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Default sand and nails

If you watch hamsters in their sand baths they tend to dig away at the sand and the base of the container furiously, tossing the sand up under their oxters/armpits etc. and this action can help take the sharp edge off their nails
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Old 03-05-2005, 08:36 AM   #4
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Wow I thought it just made bears coat really soft and he seemed to like it an awful lot. Glad I was doing so good while letting him have a good time. I have a block in Bears home that is used for chinchila teeth that Bear scatches at.
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Old 03-05-2005, 04:32 PM   #5
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Default Chinchilla block

Glad to hear it - I have had some hamsters which just never went near their Chinchilla gnaw stones, so I stopped buying them and just went with home-cleaned large pebbles instead.
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:32 PM   #6
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Default Additional items

Empty, clean clay pipes or flower pots can also be used or a kitchen tile placed shiny side down.
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Old 11-26-2005, 08:09 AM   #7
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I am very squeemish with the nail clippers and I find it difficult to get either my rats or hammie done without stressing us all out. My ferret was even worse! I use an emery board just to take the sharp edges off and that seems to work well for us all.
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Old 11-26-2005, 03:42 PM   #8
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Yes I have been caught trying to file hammy nails through the bars before whilst they are distracted by a nice tasty treat jammed in the roof bars
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:40 PM   #9
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lol just imagining a hamster having its nails filed
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:55 PM   #10
Mollz Mum
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I'm willing to try anything to wear the nails down, rather than attempting to cut them.
Having had a disastrous (and very very stressful) experience with a guinea pig, who we thought was going to bleed forever, I cannot imagine attempting it on a hamster.
Just one word of advice - never attempt these things at about 9 oclock on a Sunday night, when all vets are closed and unavailable!!
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