Sometimes a gerbil’s nails will grow too long - those that are kept in captivity often don’t get much of a chance to wear down their nails naturally, so we owners have to step in to give them a helping hand. If your gerbils’ nails have started to grow back towards their feet, or if they have developed a strong curve, then you’ll need to trim them. Trimming a gerbil’s nails is a little tricky, but it will get easier the more you practise. The more regularly you trim the nails, the less you will need to trim off each time.
Before you start, make sure that your gerbil is nice and calm. If it scrabbles around too much and gets too stressed, then trimming their nails will be much harder.
Trimming your pets' nails can be a tricky business, but they'll thank you for it afterwards!
Firstly, you’ll want to look very carefully at your gerbil’s foot. Get another adult to hold the animal on their lap whilst you very gently examine it. Shine a torch up from underneath the foot so that the toes and the nails are illuminated. You should be able to see that your gerbil has a blood vessel in their nail. It’s really important that you don’t cut this vessel, or the nail immediately around it. It will hurt your pet a lot if you cut this, and the vessel will bleed.
To avoid cutting the blood vessel, only take a tiny portion of your pet’s nails off at a time. Just trim the very ends, until the nail is no longer curving back towards the foot. Don’t trim any more than you need to - just enough so that your pet can put its whole foot down.