I trim my fingernails when I notice they are overgrown and are no longer as pleasing as I’d love them to be. Sometimes I forget until I’m in the shower and accidentally scratch myself.
Then I’m like, Oh! I need to cut my nails.
Hey, don’t judge me. You’ve probably been there too. It might not have been your fingers but your beardie’s. You forgot to trim its nails and ended up with nail marks or scratches after picking it up.
In your defense, it’s harder to notice your beardie’s overgrown nails than yours. So when should you trim its nails? Better still, how do you trim them?
This post answers when, how, and why you should trim your bearded dragon’s nails. Read on to learn all the details.
When Should I Trim My Bearded Dragon’s Nails?
You missed the timing when you picked it up and it got scratches or nail marks. So when should you do it to avoid this?
When you notice your beardie can’t keep its toes and nails perpendicular to the ground when moving or standing, instead the toes and nails bend to the side because they’re too long.
Your beardie’s nails should always be short, neat, and comfortable for it and you. Do not wait until he scratches you. Sometimes the nails will be too long but not sharp enough to hurt you.
This happens if your beardie moves around on tile or rough surfaces. They help keep the nails blunt but not short enough. Though I must say, keeping rough tile on your bearded dragon’s tank helps maintain short nails. It buys you more time for the next trimming session.
Also, if your beardie has an ingrown nail, trim it. But honestly, it shouldn’t get to that point. Ingrown nails result from overgrowth, causing the nail to curl underneath.
Of course, this is uncomfortable or even painful for your beardie.
How Often Should I Trim My Beardie’s Nails?
Unlike human nails, bearded dragons’ nails take longer to grow. But in the same way, some beardies’ nails grow faster than others.
There’s no fixed rule on how often you trim your bearded dragons’ nails. It narrows down to how fast their nails grow.
I’ve come across owners who trim their beardie’s nails once or twice a year. And while this may sound absurd, it makes sense if their nails take longer to grow and if they have a lot of rough surfaces in their tanks.
Active beardies move a lot, so if it moves on the rough substrate, you rarely need to trim their nails. But if its nails grow fast, trim them six times a year to maintain a desirable length.
The idea is to adjust according to how fast its nails grow. This way, its nails never get uncomfortable for the beardie or injure anyone.
Why Should You Trim Your Beardie’s Nails?
The obvious answer is, so he doesn’t puncture your skin as you hold it. And trust me, he can easily do that with long, sharp nails.
Also, overgrown nails may be uncomfortable for your beardie, especially when moving around. Besides, it will be hard to climb due to lack of traction, and he may opt to remain still, which is not suitable for it.
Bearded dragons’ nails shouldn’t get in their way. They should be comfortable enough to hold their position on branches, rocks, and other rough surfaces.
Overgrown dragon nails can easily get caught on things around the house. Be it the carpet or your sweater while holding it. When nails get caught, they can rip off, and such nails rarely grow back.
Trust me; you want it with short nails, not ripped nails, as several of those may affect its activity.
How to Trim a Bearded Dragon’s Nails: Step by Step Guide
Trimming your bearded dragon’s nails is no rocket science. You can do it at home, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful.
Alternatively, take your beardie to the vet for trimming, especially if it’s your first time doing it. Pay attention to the whole process and ask questions so you can do it at home next time.
But since you’re here, I’ll guide you on how to do it, but let’s start with what you need first.
What You Need
The most important tool on your list is nail clippers. You can get special reptile nail clippers to do the job or use regular human nail clippers.
They’ll both work fine, provided you know where to cut. But if you prefer human nail clippers, you probably should get a separate one for your beardie as sharing may transfer germs.
Also, human clippers may not be ideal if the bearded dragon’s nails have grown too long and are too thick. Try such clippers as they’re stronger, so they will make your work easier and do a cleaner job. They also restrict how far you can cut, so you don’t hurt your pet.
You’ll also need some alcohol to clean the clippers once you’re done. This clears all the germs, leaving your clippers clean.
For safety, you’ll need styptic powder to stop bleeding if you accidentally cut too close. It sometimes happens, so get the powder in case you need it. The powder works by inducing blood clotting.
How to Trim: Step by Step Guide
Now that you have all the essentials, follow this guide to trim your beardie’s nails safely:
Step 1: Ensure your bearded dragon is calm and relaxed. Try petting it first to make it comfortable. If he can’t keep calm, don’t proceed. It’s risky for the two of you. You can even postpone it to the next day.
Step 2: Hold your bearded dragon gently with the leg you’re starting with between your fingers. However, this may not be necessary if your beardie is used to you. Some will sit still on your lap, allowing you to trim their nails without a struggle.
But if it’s too big, hold it while isolating its leg as someone else does the work. Be careful as you hold it; don’t squeeze, as you may cause panic, and this is not good. The idea is to let it trust you, so he is calm as you trim it.
Step 3: The next task is to inspect where to cut. Use this guide when inspecting its nails so you don’t cut too close and make it bleed. You will notice the white and black parts at the end. The white part is not to be touched as it contains live tissues.
Your concern is the black part, so focus on that.
Step 4: I assume you’ve already cleaned your clippers, so grab them and slowly cut half the black part out of the claw.
Trim only the tip, and your beardie is good to go. You can reward it with some quality time or a treat after this.
Bearded dragons get used to trimming with time. Bonding also makes trimming easier. That’s why you’re advised to pick it up often and pet it so he is comfortable around you.
Also, don’t forget to clean your clippers after use.
You don’t have to trim your bearded dragon’s nails as often as you trim yours. Our nails grow faster than those of bearded dragons, so trimming four to six times a year works for them.
Some will only need a trim twice a year, especially if they spend time on rough substrate. Adjust to trimming your beardie’s nails when they seem uncomfortable for it, but don’t wait until they’re grown to daggers.