Things to Know if You Need to Clip Ferret Nails


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If the nails of your ferret have become excessively long or are getting entangled on things, then it is time to trim them. You need to make sure that your ferret is in a comfortable position before you start trimming its nail by yourself. Also, give it a little treat so that it is distracted. We will discuss how to clip ferret nails step-by-step in this guide. However, first, we will answer some basic questions related to trimming their nails. Read on to know more.

How does the nail of a ferret look like?

Similar to cats, ferrets also use their claws for climbing on things, investigate their surroundings, and dig. However, the anatomy of the toenail of a ferret and a cat is not the same.

The claws of a cat are retractable whereas that of ferrets are similar to dog paws. A ferret’s nails are long and light and a red line can be seen in the center of its nail in case the nail is white. This line is referred to as a “quick” and its aim is to offer necessary nutrients to the ferret’s nail.

Supplies required clipping the nails of a ferret

It takes around 3 to 5 minutes to cut your ferret’s nails if you are well-prepared. Let us now see the materials you will require for clipping its nails.

A towel for nails

A towel will be required to put beneath the ferret so that it is easy to clean after clipping its nails. While having it is mandatory, it is useful as the chopped nails will fall on the towel.

Nail clippers for ferrets

You will require good ferret nail clippers meaning that they should be sharp and comfortable to use. Also, the clipper should be compact enough to clip your pet’s nails properly. You may either opt for cat nail clippers or ferret nail clippers. Do not use the ones made for dogs as they can be very big and also get in the way. It may not be possible to see the ferret’s mails and be fast with them. So keep it simple and tinier the more convenient. Some pet owners also prefer using human nail clippers. It is also not a bad choice.

The clippers will be okay if they are sharp and clip nails cleanly. However, you should be cautious as if you purchase a cheap nail clipper, it can become blunt very soon. So, opt for quality clippers for your ferret to enjoy longer durability. After all, it is not as if you are going to use them frequently.

Cornstarch or Styptic powder

It is important to have one of them on hand as you may cut the ferret’s “quick” accidentally and it may bleed.

Salmon paste or oil

It can be an excellent distraction for your ferret while you clip its nails. Using paste or oil is important as it will stop your furry buddy from moving around. It will get distracted and would not pay attention to your task.

What are the problems if your ferret’s nails have grown long?

In case you allow the nails of your ferret to grow too long, it can have problems while walking or even climbing. Also, it is likely that its nails might get caught in fabric or cloth. It might get hurt as a result.

When its long nails get stuck in a fabric, the ferret may panic. As a result, they will act crazy, twist, and try to jump. It also means that your little pet can break its paw or nails. Now, that is something you would not like to happen as trimming its nails is a fast, easy, and simple task.

Another problem if a ferret’s nails are allowed to grow long is that its foot would not be able to rest properly on the ground. It can lead to developing severe foot-related problems. They can become scared and baffled and even rip out their nails in the process.

It is recommended that you cut your furry buddy’s nails once every 2/3 weeks. On the other hand, it will also depend on a specific ferret as lifestyle and age can affect the growth rate of a ferret’s nails.

How can you make a ferret stay still while clipping nails?

We recommend these three techniques so that your ferret stays still when you clip its nails. Check them out:

1. Scruff the ferret while cutting its nails

2. Put oil on its belly when you cut its nails to distract it

3. Cut your ferret’s nails when it is sleeping

In case you do not have a treat available with you, you may scruff your furry buddy while cutting its nails. However, doing so will need not one but two people. The first person will have to scruff the pet with one hand and use the other hand to support their body. The second person will be clipping the nails. It is imperative to note that scruffing your ferret will not harm it though they will need support for their body weight.

How to clip ferret nails: Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: Collect all necessary supplies

You need to first make sure all the essential supplies are in hand including the nail clipper, towel, styptic powder, and treat oil. Go to a bright place for cutting your pet’s nails. It is important to see the ferret’s “quick” so that you can avoid cutting it accidentally. Fetch your ferret and find out whether its mood is suitable for clipping or not. If they are enjoying their playtime they may not like to be intervened. An exhausted ferret is easier to accomplish your task instead of a playful one.

Step 2: Place your ferret on a towel

You can spread the towel on your lap or on a table. After that, place the pet on this towel and make sure both of you are looking in the same direction. It will enable you to be above it and you can also see the tummy.

Step 3: Spread the treat paste or oil on your ferret’s tummy

After you have put a treat on the ferret’s tummy, it will not move and nothing else will exist for it. It is the perfect time to begin clipping. Ensure that the oil you spread on its tummy is sufficient to last for the entire process. Once the ferret starts licking this treat, it will be oblivious to everything else.

Step 4: Check nails on its front paws

Gradually grab your ferret’s paw and start examining its nail. You should begin with its front paws first as these nails are longer and you can see everything. Start visualizing the line where the nail has to be cut. The line has to be parallel with the pet’s standing position.

Step 5: Continue the process with each paw

Use one hand to hold the paw of the ferret. Your other hand should be used to cut its nail. Continue the process for all the paws. In case your furry friend completes licking up the treat oil you had put on its tummy before you complete, you should add some more.

Nails on their back paws grow more slowly as compared to the front paws’ nails as mentioned earlier. You might have more problems locating the “quick” of its back paws as compared to the front paws because of the slower nail growth.

You may push its paw slightly with your finger. It will make the ferret push you back so that you can see its nails better. In case you cut the quick accidentally, the ferret may bleed slightly. However, it would not be something severe. However, try to avoid such a scenario at all costs.

Step 6: Do not forget to reward your little friend

You should ensure that your ferret is appropriately rewarded with soothing words after you have completed clipping their nails. You can cuddle or pet it and also offer a treat. Similar to all types of training, when there is positive reinforcement, your ferret is motivated to behave.

Do not be in a hurry to complete the process. In case you are uncertain about what is being done, go easy. Check the quick twice and then do it calmly. If you try to rush the process, it can lead to an accident. The idea is to feel comfortable and let your pet feel relaxed at the same time.

Animals, Ferret, Animal Welfare

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What to do when your ferret’s blood vessel is cut?

Do not panic if you cut the “quick” accidentally. It can happen when your ferret is not still and moving a lot. Another reason could be that you are not confident enough. Your ferret will be hurt when its blood vessel is cut. Make sure to apply styptic powder quickly so that bleeding stops. The tip of its nail should be entirely coated with this powder.

Nail clipping alternatives for a ferret

Apart from using a treat to serve as a distraction, you can also take the help of these other alternative methods to clip your pet’s nails:

1. Clip when your furry friend is asleep

It is another way to cut your ferret’s nails. Is your ferret a heavy sleeper? If the answer is in the affirmative, clipping its nails should not be an issue. You may try to do so. Try to put it to sleep on your lap and test its sleep. You can pick one of its paws and then release it. Do the same for the other paws. In case your ferret did not respond, it is in a sound sleep. You will not need to give it a treat as well while clipping the nails.

2. Take the help of a vet

Are you new to the world of ferret? If that is so and you are not quite confident about clipping your pet’s nails, you may always request a vet. The option is highly recommendable for all people who did not own a ferret previously. You may also ask your vet to guide you about how to do it without cutting the quick accidentally. Also, ask them how to hold your pet and any other things you may find important while you are there.

3. Request someone to assist you

In case you reside with someone, you may request the other person for help. He or she can hold your ferret and offer a treat to it, while you concentrate only on clipping nails. The power of four hands instead of two can really work wonders.


Ferrets do not have retractable toenails and have to be trimmed regularly. The ideal clipping frequency is between 2-3 weeks. It is recommended to use suitable, high-quality nail clippers to clip your ferret’s nails. These clippers resemble nail scissors but feature a tiny notch in their blades.

If a ferret is stressed, it may start moving a lot and become restless. It may lead to you cutting the quick. So, it is important to make sure it is still or asleep when you are clipping its nails without worry. Hope this guide to how to clip ferret nails answered all your queries.

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