According to the American Ferret Association (AFA),1 a ferret’s nails should be trimmed every 2 weeks, which can be daunting, especially when you’re worried about hurting your little furry baby. But fear no longer, because with a little practice, a lot of patience, and the right tools, trimming your ferret’s nails will soon feel like a walk in the park…or almost!
Here are the basic steps to give your adorable little carnivore a neat manicure while minimizing stress for both of you.
Before You Start: Gather the Essentials
Don’t worry; you won’t have to break the bank to get the supplies needed to complete this mission! All you need is the following:
That’s it! You are now ready to tackle your first nail-trimming challenge!
The 8 Steps How to Trim Ferret Nails
1. Choose a Quiet and Safe Spot
Find a quiet, cozy place in your home where you won’t be disturbed. You don’t want a noisy child or a rambunctious puppy to add more stress to your first nail-trimming session.
Pro tip: If possible, wait until nap time. Ferrets are big sleepers and are generally more relaxed before falling asleep or just after waking up.
2. Immobilize Your Ferret
Pick up your ferret and hold them gently but firmly on their back in your lap. We know, easier said than done! But here’s a helpful tip from the AFA:2
A good way to immobilize your ferret is to place their favorite liquid treat (such as salmon oil) on their belly and let them lick it off while you trim their nails. However, be careful not to use too much as it can cause gastrointestinal upset.
3. Locate the Quick
Fortunately, ferrets have transparent nails. This means that when you examine your pet’s claws, you will easily find a pinkish area (called the “quick”) about halfway up the nail. This part contains the blood vessels and nerves, so you must be extremely careful not to cut it.
4. Clip the Nails
Squeeze the clippers and make a perpendicular cut, taking care not to touch the quick. It’s best to clip a small portion of nails at a time and to stop at least ⅛ inch from the quick. The closer you get, the more likely you will put pressure on the quick, which will cause your ferret pain and discomfort.
5. Check for Bleeding
If you accidentally nick the quick, apply styptic powder to the injured nail. If that doesn’t stop the bleeding, gently press a clean towel over the nail. The bleeding should stop within a few minutes.
6. Repeat the Process
Repeat the steps for the other paws and place a small number of liquid treats on your ferret’s belly if necessary. Avoid sudden movements and stay calm throughout the process. You don’t want your ferret to become more restless due to your lack of patience! Also, rest assured that with practice, trimming your ferret’s claws will become easier and less stressful for you and your furry friend.
7. Reward Your Ferret
Give your ferret a special treat like Marshall Bandits Peanut Butter Flavor and several cuddles after each nail trimming session to make it a positive experience.
8. Ask a Friend for Help
An alternative method would be to ask a friend to help you. Have your friend hold the ferret firmly by gripping the loose skin on the back of the neck with one hand (as you would when lifting a kitten) while supporting the hindquarters with the other hand. This will allow you to trim your ferret’s nails with greater ease.
Tips for Trimming Your Ferret’s Nails Like a Pro
Since ferrets should never be declawed and taking them to a professional groomer every few weeks can be time-consuming and expensive, learning how to trim their nails properly is a fundamental skill to acquire. Furthermore, it is essential to prevent your fur baby’s nails from becoming too long and causing discomfort or injury.
However, if you’re still feeling insecure and worried about hurting your pet, it’s best to ask your vet to show you how to do it the first time.
Featured Image Credit: Couperfield, Shutterstock