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Old 02-03-2009, 04:43 PM United States
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Default FAQ - Nail trimming

Written by Kalandra

Trimming your hedgehog's toenails can be quite intimidating to a new owner or even for the more experienced. Some hedgehogs are very tolerant of having their nails clipped, while others turn into the big mean hissing quill ball. Every owner I have met, has their own technique for clipping nails, the majority of owners will agree that using human finger nail clippers, or even those made for human babies is the best tool to use... but how do you clip those nails?

Below you will find some tips to help you clip nails.

Fill a sink or other container big enough for a hedgehog and for you to handle him in with a couple of inches of warm water. Placing a hedgehog in water normally makes them uncurl. Once uncurled, take hold of one foot at a time and carefully clip each nail. You may find that this is easier said than done as your hedgehog will be trying to move around to get out of the water. If this happens, try to hold the hedgehog still, and be careful with the leg you have in your hands. If the hedgehog is fighting too much, let the leg go, twisting or breaking a leg is not our goal.

How much do I clip?

When clipping nails, one of the important points to remember is to avoid clipping the quick of the nail. If your hedgehog's nails are clean, you should be able to see the quick through the nail. Is is the pink soft looking area inside the nail. Clip below this area, cutting the quick will result in a bleeding nail.

Oh no! My hedgehogs nail is now bleeding.

If you should accidentally clip the quick in your hedgehog's nail, first remain calm. Even the more experience hedgehog owners will cut too far from time to time. If the quick was only nipped the bleeding should stop in a relatively short amount of time. If it continues to bleed, dab the nail in some corn starch to help it clot. Some owners will recommend using 'stop quik', others recommend against it as this product can sting and if the animal should accidentally inhale the powder it can cause serious respiratory problems.

How often should I clip nails?

I've seen owners mention clipping their hedgehog's nails every 2 to 3 weeks. My experience has been that every hedgehog's nails grow at a different rate. I have had some that need them done every two weeks, and yet others who need them done once a month. The best method I have found is to simply pay attention to your hedgehog's feet. Should the nails start to get long, clip them.

Hedgehog nails, if allowed to grow, often will curl and start to grow into the pads of their feet. Which can cause your hedgehog to have trouble walking, pain and even lead to infection.
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