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Old 05-31-2012, 04:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Nail trimming techniques?

Hey there!
I tried to clip Cookie's nails last night for the first time in his whole life as they are super long. I've owned him for 4 months and I've always been too nervous to do it or the excitement from the bath has made me forget to do it.

Tonight while my girlfriend and I were trying to clip his nails (I hold him and grab a foot and she clip because he trusts me to hold him) he was squirming so bad and bit me twice. He hasn't bit me since before I dropped 400 bucks on a nice new big cage, wheel and pet accessories for him. And when he did it then it was only because I let him lick me too much and he was trying to taste me.

This time, it was out of spite. The first time, I had my hand close as I held him against my chest with his hind feet hanging down. So he just moved his head over and bit me a good one.

We waiting for him to calm down a bit and gave him a foot bath so it would soften the nails some more and keep him a little more docile with being touched lots. He actually reached his head out and stretched just to bite me, and drew blood that time. I get he was just trying to tell me he didn't like it and all that, but it SERIOUSLY needs to be done. Because he's probably in pain while he runs now from the back ones being so long. He still runs throughout the night because he enjoys it so much and runs around with a toilet paper roll on his head with a cat toy shoved up the other end.

But it really needs to get done and he's almost a year old and has never had it done and I can't get him to be good about it. Plus, one more bite like that and I'm going to get freaking mad lol. He knows better!
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Old 05-31-2012, 05:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nail trimming techniques?

Ouch about the bite. Try wrapping a sock under and around his belly like a sling and hold him up in the air slightly and let your girlfriend clip his nails while you hold him. This way, he gets to see what youre doing, and is less likely to freak out, and theres less chance of being bitten. I would also suggest using cuticle clippers, since theyre a bit more accurate to use. Then theres always the option of taking him to a vet to get them done. Slight anesthesia and the doc will do it for you for a small fee.
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nail trimming techniques?

HAHA I never actually even thought of that. I have a strange suspicion he isn't going to like being slinged one bit though. Plus he still quite timid and balls up when I try to grab his feet. And he has quite the reach with that neck of his to bite me lol. And not that I'm too chicken to take a little pain, it's just a little unpleasant to bleed from him biting me lol.

And about the vet thing, what would this small fee be? And I would assume I would need to take him to an exotic pet vet as well?
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nail trimming techniques?

Can he sit calmly on your lap? Because when I'm clipping nails I put them on my lap and when a foot peeks out I clip it while they aren't paying attention lol. Also on days I'm not clipping I rub their feet while on my lap so they can get use to their feet being touched. This technique usually takes a a couple of days to complete all the feet because eventually they want to run and explore.
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Nail trimming techniques?

Quote:
I've owned him for 4 months and I've always been too nervous to do it or the excitement from the bath has made me forget to do it.
He's probably not biting out of spite, but rather fright or anger. It sounds like he's basically never been clipped, so this is a big, new, scary thing. Many animals Do. Not. Like. having their feet handled, so you've got to ease into it. You definitely want to stop the biting. If that behavior takes hold, you'll have real problem that might be very difficult to break.

If the nails are so bad that they need to be dealt with all at once, immediately, having a vet put him out might be best. You probably don't want him awake/aware while the vet does it. That could be a very negative experience he'll never forget.

I started Sophie on nail inspection/trimming right when I got her, at six weeks. She didn't like it at all. She gets a foot bath about three times a week and I check her then. She didn't like foot baths either, so it was tough going for awhile. I had to strike a balance between insisting that she get the foot bath and nail check, and not allowing her to get wound up, which is counterproductive, doing more harm than good. It sounds like that's the situation that you just found yourself in.

From the start, I have always just looked for the worst two or three nails. Even when she was new to water and clipping, she could tolerate a couple of clips. Because she gets three foot baths a week, that's three looks at the nails and 6 - 9 clips. So every couple of weeks, every nail that needs it gets clipped.

She's gotten much better with the baths. She seems to actually like standing in the water now, at least for a few minutes. Increasing the water level from about an inch, to about 4 inches, actually seemed to help her calm down a lot from wanting to climb the sides of the sink. Don't know why, just something I tried, and it helped a lot. She also seems to like getting her quills brushed with her toothbrush. That helps her stand still in the water so the foot washing becomes very easy.

She's still not a fan of clipping, but she knows it's a part of the routine. Sometimes I just handle her feet a bit and take no clips, but I'm regularly taking two or three small clips. For me, I think that a couple of clips every couple of days is a lot easier and less stressful than letting them grow to where a major session is needed.

Some people like cuticle clippers. I prefer regular people clippers, but use a very small pair, probably the smallest you can buy.

After the foot bath and clipping, she goes in her hedgie sack in my office for about twenty minutes. She needs some quiet time and then she's good to go.

EDIT: Reread your OP. If he's not been clipped in a year, I'd be inclined to have a professional get him in good shape. You can learn to handle it from there. (Get some corn starch, so if you clip into the quick you can stanch the bleeding. (Flour or other thickening agents will work also.))
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