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Home > Rabbits > How Often Should Your Rabbit’s Nails Be Clipped? (Vet Answer)

How Often Should Your Rabbit’s Nails Be Clipped? (Vet Answer)

trimming rabbit nails

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Dr. Iulia Mihai Photo

Written by

Dr. Iulia Mihai

Veterinarian, DVM MSc

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Rabbits’ nails grow continuously. In the wild, rabbits dig burrows and run on rough dirt and rocky ground. They do not have to worry about their nails becoming too long. But pet rabbits do not have the same activities as wild ones. They live in the house and cannot prevent excessive nail growth. As their caregivers, you must take care of this aspect to ensure a comfortable life for them.

Periodic nail trimming in rabbits is essential because their claws grow fast, and overgrown nails can lead to movement difficulties and toe deformities. Rabbit’s nails grow at different rates, so there are no specific rules about when you should trim them. A good indication to cut the nail is if it curls. 

If you have never trimmed your rabbit’s nails before, it would be best to take your pet to the vet for this procedure. They will show you how you can trim them and how much, especially if the vascular part is not visible, in order to not cause bleeding.

After this first time, you can easily trim your rabbit’s nails at home —with patience and practice.


How Often Should Your Rabbit’s Nails Be Clipped?

You do not have to trim your rabbit’s nails weekly like you brush its fur. The nails grow at different rates, so there’s no specific rule about how often you should trim them. Check your rabbit’s nails once or twice a month. If they become curled, you should shorten them. But waiting for your rabbit’s nails to curl is not recommended because that can lead to various problems.

Usually, the pulp (vascular part) develops up to the middle of the nail. The longer you let your rabbit’s nails grow and remain untrimmed, the more the pulp inside the nail will begin to develop.

In rabbits with white nails, the pulp can be easily seen in the light, and you will know how far you can cut. If you cut them too short and reach the pulp, you can cause bleeding and pain. Rabbits’ nails are usually trimmed 3–4 millimeters above the vascularized area.

Long overgrown rabbit nails
Image Credit: Marina.Martinez, Shutterstock

Is It Necessary to Cut My Rabbit’s Nails?

It is necessary to trim your rabbit’s nails because excessively long nails can become painful and deform your rabbit’s toes. For this reason, your rabbit will start to have movement difficulties: It will hop awkwardly, it won’t be able to jump like it used to, or it may even refuse to walk or hop. The pain that excessively long nails cause can even make your rabbit become lethargic and refuse to eat.

Usually, the rabbit will return to its daily activities after its nails are trimmed.

How Do I Know if My Rabbit’s Nails Are Too Long?

The fur on your rabbit’s feet can be a good indicator of how long its nails are. If your furry friend’s nails come out of the fur (the tips are visible), it’s time to trim them.

Do not cut your rabbit’s nails quickly, however, and always trim them little by little to make sure you don’t cut the pulp.

When your rabbit’s nails start to curl, it has been too long since the last trim.

Does Cutting My Rabbit Nails Hurt?

This procedure should only become painful when you pinch the nail pulp. To ensure that you do not cause bleeding, use your rabbit’s feedback to determine the best place to cut. Here is how to do it:

  • After you have positioned the nail clippers on your rabbit’s nail, press a little, as if you want to cut it.
  • If your rabbit pulls its leg, it means you are too close to the pulp.
  • Back off a few millimeters and try again.

If you accidentally cut the pulp of the nail, don’t panic. Take a sterile gauze, and press it on the bleeding site until it stops. You can also use hydrogen peroxide for disinfection.

person hugging a therapy rabbit
Image Credit: Ana Nikolayeva, Pexels

How to Trim My Rabbit’s Nails

To cut your rabbit’s nails, you will need the following tools:

  • Pet nail clippers (available in pet shops)
  • A towel to wrap your rabbit in
  • Sterile gauze (to stop the bleeding in case you cut the nail pulp)

After you have gathered your tools, choose a place where you will cut your rabbit’s nails. It is recommended to choose a place with a large amount of natural light.

If you have a high table, choose that — it will be easier to trim your rabbit’s nails because you will have better visibility and a more comfortable position.

Steps to follow:

  • Put the towel on the table.
  • Put the rabbit on top of the towel (in the middle).
  • If your rabbit is calm, there is no need to wrap it in the towel.
  • If your rabbit is stressed, wrap it in the towel.
  • Grab one paw at a time.
  • There is no need to press on the nail pad (as is done with cats) because rabbits do not have retractable claws (this is also why declawing is an inappropriate procedure for rabbits).
  • Cut each nail.
  • Be careful not to pinch the pulp.
  • If you do pinch the pulp, use sterile gauze to stop the bleeding.

If you know that your rabbit gets stressed when you want to cut its nails, get someone to hold the rabbit while you trim its nails. If this doesn’t work, you can try holding your rabbit on its back and then trimming its nails.

girl trimming rabbit nails
Image credit: SOLOVEVA ANASTASIIA, Shutterstock


Do Bunnies Need Their Teeth Trimmed?

Rabbits’ teeth grow continuously, like their nails. Their teeth have a growth rate of a few mm to 1 cm per year. If your rabbit does not receive adequate nutrition and chewing toys, its teeth will continue to grow and can cause problems.

If its teeth are overgrown, your rabbit will start having feeding problems — it will no longer be able to eat. Also, teeth that are too long will bend/curl and can enter the roof of the rabbit’s mouth, leading to infection or other severe health problems.

A veterinarian is required to remedy this situation. They will know how to cut your rabbit’s teeth without causing problems.

examining rabbit's teeth at veterinary clinic
Image Credit: sirtravelalot, Shutterstock



Regular trimming of rabbits’ nails is necessary to ensure a comfortable life. If you let your rabbit’s nails grow excessively, they can cause walking or hopping/jumping problems. Trim your rabbit’s nail little by little until you reach the desired length. Otherwise, you risk cutting the pulp of the nail, causing bleeding and pain. If bleeding has occurred, use sterile gauze to stop it.

If it is your first time trimming your rabbit’s nails and you don’t know how to do it, take your pet to the vet so they can teach you.

Featured Image Credit: Bobex-73, Shutterstock

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