How to cut bearded dragon nails? It’s simple to keep your bearded dragon’s nails trimmed. Keep their arm or foot still and steady. Remove the sharp ends using a typical set of toenail clippers. Don’t try to remove too much of the tip; just a small portion will suffice.
We were apprehensive about clipping Bacardi’s nails when we first got her. In fact, the first time we let them get way too long and pointy. When we picked her up from being boarded, we asked the girl there if she could explain to us how to do it.
In fewer than two minutes, it was over. Bacardi didn’t seem to mind, and her small daggers no longer left us with bloody scratches when we held her. Everything you need to know to achieve the same result is right here!
Why do they require nail trimming?
The most obvious explanation is that we want to remove their sharp little daggers so they don’t pierce our skin when we handle them. As owners, our safety comes first.
Are they able to pierce your skin?
We want to make sure their toes and nails are perpendicular to the ground and upright. They can twist their toes over if their nails are too long. This will make your dragon feel uncomfortable and make it difficult for him to climb or dig.
Because the nails are overly long, they are tipping the toes to the side.
When standing on a firm surface, you can see proper-length nails staying upright.
Beardies enjoy climbing, and having nails that are too long prevents them from doing so. They also like to sleep on branches, which they maintain immobile with their claws. Nails of a reasonable length will aid them in this.
We also want to make certain they can’t get themselves caught in anything. When the bearded dragon’s nails become excessively long and sharp, they can snag on objects (especially if you use reptile carpet for your substrate).
A snagged nail can swiftly deteriorate into a ripped-off nail. Those nails don’t regrow.
When should they get their nails cut?
When do we realize it’s time to clip our nails? There are two things to pay attention to.
To begin, trim your bearded dragon’s nails if you have puncture wounds or bleeding scrapes after holding them. It should be fun to spend time with our beardies, not uncomfortable!
Second, they should be short enough to not be uncomfortable. Without being sharp, nails can grow overly long. This occurs when dragons are kept on a tile. Their nails are kept dull by the tile, but they aren’t always kept short enough.
When they are standing or walking on a hard surface, you may tell their nails are overly long by glancing at their feet. The length of their nails is good if they keep their nails and toes perpendicular to the ground. It’s time for a trim if the nails and toes bend to the side due to the length of the nail.
Many pet stores, forums, and websites will try to persuade you that special clippers are required for this task. We don’t feel the same way. Buying special pet, cat, dog, or reptile nail cutters for a bearded dragon’s nails is a waste of money.
We’re not suggesting they’re not necessary for other types of pets, but most beardies don’t require them! Those of you with exceptionally enormous bearded dragons are an exception.
If your bearded dragon has reached the 24-inch mark and acquired long, thick claws that are difficult to cut with toenail clippers, it’s time to upgrade.
In that scenario, we propose these. They are sharp and powerful, cutting through the thicker nails of the larger bearded dragons neatly and rapidly. Check them out! They also limit how much you can cut so you don’t cut too much.
However, most beardie owners can get away with using normal human toenail clippers! You most likely already have some! Toenail clippers are ideal for the job because of the bigger distance between the blades and the stronger lever action.
These perform admirably for us.
When you’re through, we recommend cleaning your clippers with a little alcohol. Beardies can contain bacteria, so being cautious is a good idea.
It’s even better if you acquire a pair specifically for your bearded dragon, as we did.
Styptic powder or a styptic pencil are also required. This is a chemical that clots blood quickly and stops bleeding. We hope you’ll never need this, but it’s better to have it than not have it.
Owners occasionally trim the nail too close to the quick, causing the nail to bleed. Styptic powders or pencils can stop the bleeding quickly if this happens. This product should be familiar to dog and cat owners.
Regularly handle your beardie
The most difficult part of correctly clipping their nails will be how much they squirm and wiggle around while you do it.
Handling your beardie on a regular basis is the greatest method to ensure that they are still and docile when it comes to nail clipping. It won’t bother them if you hold them to clip their nails if they’re used to it.
If you only pick up and handle your bearded dragon when you need to take them to the vet or clip its nails, it may become more fearful than the average bearded dragon. When it comes to nail clipping, a well-socialized beardie is a well-behaved beardie.
Baths and playing are essential components of maintaining a healthy bearded dragon. This is something that every beardie owner should do at least once a week, if not every day.
When it comes to nail trimming, one of the many side effects of this everyday touch is a far more cooperative bearded dragon.
Bears that squirm
Regardless of the foregoing, your bearded dragon will get a little (or a lot!) squirmy now and then. They simply do not want to be held at times. They may believe it is feeding time and become impatient to go to their food. Also They could just be naughty at times!
Bacardi is almost impervious to being restrained.
In any case, do not attempt to cut your bearded dragon’s nails while they are hyper. Instead, consider the following options.
You may always try again later. Most bearded dragons aren’t rowdy all of the time, and it’s relatively easy to locate a period when their behavior is more appropriate for the work at hand.
You may attempt it after they’ve gone to bed for the night. For a month, we had to administer beardie injections twice a day, with the evening injection time falling after lights out.
She didn’t seem to mind that we were pushing a needle into her because she was so tired and sleepy at the time. She wouldn’t have cared if we had also trimmed her nails.
A beardie burrito is a must-try! Wrap a warm, silky towel over yourself like a burrito. This has worked for us with a number of bearded dragons. We even do it after bath time with a paper towel.
After-bath burrito with Bacardi!
If those don’t work, try holding them firmly (but not too tightly) until they settle down. Most bearded dragons will calm down if they are held tightly and not allowed to wiggle out of our grasp.
One final point to consider is how you pick them up. A startled or worried bearded dragon will not remain calm and cooperative.
How many are there?
We are fortunate. Our tiny Bacardi doesn’t seem to mind that we’re clipping her nails. She maintains her composure and does not move or pull her feet away. This means that clipping Bacardi’s nails is a one-person job.
Some of you may not be that fortunate. You either have a squirmy beardie or one that is large enough for one person to hold while the other trims their nails.
There is no right or wrong answer here; you must do what is best for you. Your safety should always come first. The safety of your beardie should be a close second priority. To assure both of these, use the appropriate number of individuals!
Is it better to hold or not to hold?
Her arm was isolated.
While you clip their nails, some beardies may simply sit on your lap or on the ground. This simplifies everything. Bacardi sits still enough for us to lay her down and clip her small foot with one hand while holding her with the other.
We recommend holding your bearded dragon while clipping its nails if you can. This will help you to keep them together and hopefully relaxed. It also allows you to trim each leg separately, lowering the likelihood of either of you getting harmed.
It’s relatively easy to grasp them securely while getting one of their legs between your fingers when you hold them. They are unable to pull away as a result of this. It also deters them from attempting to bite you. Finally, it allows you to see their nails clearly.
This should also be done on the ground or on a large table. If your bearded dragon gets away from you, you don’t want them to fall and damage itself.
The nails on your beardie are made up of various sections.
Keratin makes up the entire nail. It’s similar to the material that our nails are formed of. It’s not dissimilar to the claws or nails of most animals.
A strip of color will run down the top of the nail. Some morphs (genetically developed varieties bred for specific looks and physical attributes) have completely clear nails, while the majority have a dark pigment stripe running along the top of the nail.
A bearded dragon’s nail anatomy
Color is all that this pigment is. It isn’t a nail clipper or anything that will show you where to cut.
The sharp tip of the nail will stretch back until you see a hump on the bottom of the nail where the body of the nail thickens significantly. That bulge contains live tissue, often known as the “quick.” We don’t want to come close to trimming this.
All we want to do is remove a small portion of the tip to make it less pointy. Going just about halfway from the tip to the hump is a decent guideline. The nail’s end is long and thin, so just under half of that is a decent guide. It’s not a bad idea to go any lower.
We’re not attempting to get rid of them completely. Many pet owners are accustomed to clipping their dog or cat’s nails in order to get a neat, short length. It’s usual for cats and dogs to cut their nails near to the quick, which contains the living tissue. With our beardies, however, this is not the case.
The sharp points were simply cut off, leaving plenty of overall nail length.
Finally, commend your beardie on his exemplary behavior. Give them some sort of reward (we like to use hornworms for this). Hopefully, this will cement nail trimming as a pleasurable experience, making following trims even easy.
It’s actually quite simple.
We understand that this article covers a lot of “what ifs,” which may make the procedure appear difficult. As pet owners who have cut the nails of both dogs and cats, we can assure you that trimming the nails of a bearded dragon is a breeze in comparison.
The most important aspect is to routinely handle your beardie. If you do that, everything else will fall into place.
They’ll get accustomed to you holding them and will probably not mind if you clip their nails.
And believe us when we say this will make you both happier! It’s so much nicer to hold a bearded dragon who doesn’t have small dagger-like hands!
Is Nail Trimming Required?
Not always, though. If you put your lizard on an abrasive substrate, such as packed sand, rough tile, or flagstone, their nails will naturally wear down, and you will just need to trim them every now and again to keep things even. If you keep your lizard on softer materials like aspen shavings, linoleum, paper towel, newspaper, or repticarpet, its nails will grow long and sharp quickly. These lizards will require claw trimming on a monthly basis (once a month) to avoid scratching and possible broken toes.
Is it painful?
It can. Because each lizard claw has a nerve and blood vessels protruding partway into it, if you come too close or sever the nerve, it will hurt. There should be no pain if you avoid the nerves and blood vessels.
Juvenile bearded dragons, juvenile crested water dragons, and other small lizards:
clippers for human nails
Bearded dragons, blue tongue skinks, and other medium lizards:
cat nail clippers or cuticle clippers
Tegus, iguanas, and other large lizards:
nail clippers for dogs OR
Sanding bit + Dremel tool
Black throat monitors, Nile monitors, and other big lizards:
bit for rough sanding
How often should you clip your bearded dragon’s nails?
There are no hard and fast rules in this case. It all boils down to doing what is required at the time.
We cut the nails of our bearded dragon every several months, but we should definitely do it more frequently. Depending on their beardie’s activity level and substrate, others may never need to trim.
What if I’m not interested?
Your veterinarian should be able to assist you. If you are uneasy, it might not be a bad idea to have them show you the first time. There is no substitute for hands-on training.
Check with your local reptile store or see if any reptile shows are held in your area on a regular basis. Both places may be useful in locating someone who can assist you.
Is it possible to use a file instead of clippers?
Yes! If your beardie will remain still long enough for you to use a file or an emery board instead of clippers, that’s a terrific option. Simply follow the same clipping guide and only remove the sharp tip.