Monday, July 6, 2009

Ferret Care: Nails


     Unlike cats a ferret’s nails do not retract and need to be cut regularly to prevent problems. Nails should be trimmed weekly. This can be an exercise in patience and ingenuity as most ferrets want to be down and running around the room.

     Trimming a ferret’s nails can be easily accomplished with the right set up and equipment.

     clippers2 You need nail clippers. Those made for small animals are good if you don’t have large fingers. Most manufactures forget that some fingers are a size 10 or larger. Even I have some trouble with the small animal nail clippers and my fingers are a size 7. You can also use human fingernail clippers but you have to really watch what you are doing.feratone

     You need something to distract the ferret while you are clipping the nails. Ferretone is good or something that the ferret can lick off of it’s belly while you are snipping off the tips of the nail.

      If the ferret isn’t interested in the treat then you will need a second person to scruff the ferret so you can trim it’s nails.

     Okay now you have things assembled where you both can be comfortable its time to do the actual trimming.

     First place the ferret in a sitting position facing away from you on your lap. This allows the ferret to lean against your abdomen giving it support.

     Next pour a dime size amount of Ferretone or other treat on to it's belly.

     While the ferret is distracted gently grasp one paw with your free hand and push on the pad of the paw to help spread the nails out so you can see each one clearly.

     Because a ferret's nails are basically clear, all though there are some exceptions, you can see where the blood vessel is. This makes it easy to see where to cut.  nail cut       

     Clip the nail so that it is parallel to the floor but not so close to the vessel that it bleeds. Accidents do happen and if you do clip to close to the vessel dip the nail into some styptic powder. Corn starch will do in a pinch if you don’t have a styptic pen or powder. Be sure to check the back claws too.

     After you get done with clipping the ferret’s nails give him/her lots of praise and a different treat than the ferretone. With weekly maintenance of the nails it is possible that you can clip the front claws one week and the back claws the next.

     Can ferrets be declawed?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that to have a ferret declawed is painful for the ferret. It would be like cutting off your fingertips. Many places now offer nail trimming and other options for the ferret owner.


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