For any hamster owner, one question often comes up: should you trim your hamster's nails? We've put together a guide to help you care for your hamster's nails, with advice on when and how to do it.
Note that not all hamsters need to have their nails trimmed regularly. Many of them take care of their claws themselves by scratching the elements in their habitat. However, old or sick hamsters can sometimes have problems with excessive nail growth. The same applies to healthy hamsters. But don't be alarmed: this doesn't necessarily mean your pet is ill. It may simply be that his appearance will improve after a little manicure.
We often think of hamsters as low-maintenance pets. It's true that they're relatively easy to manage, but it's important to remember that the hamsters that live in the best conditions are those whose owners have a thorough knowledge of their needs. This includes grooming and nail care, which are essential aspects of a hamster's life.
Many owners don't realize this until their pet's nails become a cause for concern. If you'd like to find out more about how to care for your hamster's nails to ensure his well-beingcontinue reading this article.
There are several types of hamsters among pets: the Syrian hamsterthe Russian hamster Campbell's dwarf, the Siberian hamster, the Roborovski hamster and the Chinese hamster. All these little rodents make excellent pets and require a more or less similar level of care. None of these species is particularly prone to excessive nail growth, so feel free to adapt the following advice to your hamster's specific situation.
How can I help my hamster cut its own claws?
As mentioned above, hamsters can use their environment to file their claws - if they feel like it. An object found in their enclosure, even something as simple as a pebble, can serve as a nail file. Many hamster owners like to buy smooth, flat rocks (such as those you can buy in a pet shop). There's no risk of these rocks toppling over and injuring the hamster. What's more, they stay cool in summer, making them an excellent place to sleep when the temperature rises!
Hamsters can also file their claws on other parts of their body. toys in their enclosure, or even on parts of the enclosure itself, such as the bars of the cage. If your hamster is very active, you may notice that it rarely or never needs to have its claws trimmed. This is because they file their own claws through their daily activities.
How can I tell if my hamster's claws are too long?
Assessing the length of your hamster's claws may seem a complicated subject - after all, hamster care can be surprisingly complex. However, the reality is quite simple. If you notice that their claws seem excessively long, they probably are. If their claws curve under and towards their legs, it's certainly time to trim them.
There are other signs that their little claws may have grown too long:
- They have difficulty scratching or grooming themselves.
- Their environment regularly catches their claws.
- Their claws injure those who handle them, even without signs of hamster stress.
- They find it hard to keep their food.
- Blood appears around their claws or paws.
- Walking causes them discomfort or awkward movement because of their long claws.
If your pet is showing any of these signs, it's time to take a serious look at his claws. If you leave claws too long without care, they can break and cause painful bleeding and even infection.
What should I do if my hamster's claws are too long?
The best recommendation is to take your hamster to the vet for a professional claw trim. This is particularly useful advice for new hamster owners, or those whose hamsters are generally rambunctious and difficult to handle.
A vet will do the job quickly and efficiently. He can even show you how to do it yourself, when you feel comfortable doing so.
A quick trip to the vet for inexpensive claw trimming reduces the risk of injury to you or your pet. It's easy for accidents to happen when trying to trim the claws of a wriggling hamster. Once you've seen the vet do it a few times, you'll probably understand the process and can finally start doing it at home.
Cut your own claws? Possible, but not easy
Cutting the claws of a tough little animal is not always an easy task. They don't understand what's going on and will try to escape.
People with poor hand-eye coordination and those who are very young and inexperienced in handling these animals should leave it to someone who knows what they're doing. Even if you're confident in your hamster manicuring skills, accidents can happen. The biggest risks associated with trimming a hamster's claws are bleeding and infection.
What happens if my hamster's claw bleeds?
Cutting too deeply into the claw can cause bleeding, which will probably hurt. It will also leave the way open for infection. You should apply hemostatic powder to the wound, as it will stop the bleeding. You can buy this at most pet shops.
If you're worried about infection, or if the bleeding doesn't stop even after using hemostatic powder, it's time to call the vet.
Tips for trimming your hamster's claws at home
Are you confident enough to do it yourself? It saves time and money that would otherwise be spent at the vet's, and many hamster owners start doing it after seeing their vet trim the claws a few times. Here are a few tips to help you take care of those overly long claws with a minimum of fuss.
- Don't be discouraged if you can't even clip a single claw on the first attempt. Sometimes hamsters can be too restless and excited to successfully and safely clip their claws. This doesn't matter. Just reschedule for another day.
- Start with the longest claws. This way, even if you have to stop in the middle of the process, you'll have eliminated the most problematic claws.
- Clip claws with conviction. Hesitation gives the hamster time to try to free itself, which can lead to irregular claws and even painful ingrown toenails.
- After trimming, check your hamster's paws and claws daily for a few days to make sure no pain or bleeding has occurred afterwards.
Your vet will be able to give you further advice on how to hold your particular hamster. Dwarf hamsters, for example, can be more difficult to manicure because of their small size. They will probably require a slightly different grip from larger hamsters, such as the Syrian hamster.