Are your hamsters nails too long?

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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!) Confused

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 Very Happy ), 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. Idea 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 Sad 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 Crying or Very sad I do hope yours is not one of them.

By forum member Babyboos

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