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

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

Vet clipping a rabbits 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 is essential in rabbits because their claws grow fast, and overgrown nails can lead to movement difficulties and toe deformities. Rabbits’ 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. 

Cutting the nail’s quick can cause bleeding, so proper technique is crucial. 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 quick is not visible. 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?

Unfortunately, we can’t say that you should trim your rabbit’s nails weekly, like how you brush their fur. Your rabbit’s nails grow at different rates, so it is impossible to set a specific rule about how often they should be trimmed. That said, 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 quick (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 quick inside the nail will begin to develop.

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

Long overgrown rabbit nails
Image By: 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: They might hop awkwardly and won’t be able to jump like they used to, or the nails may even break off and cause bleeding and the risk of infections. Excessively long nails can also result in broken toes, so there is no need to let them grow.

Usually, the rabbits will return to their normal daily activities and behavior after their 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 their 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 likely has been too long since the last trim. That said, for some Rex rabbits, their nails are naturally a bit curvier.

Does Cutting My Rabbit’s Nails Hurt?

This procedure should only become painful when you cut the quick, as it contains a vessel and a nerve. 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 the paw back, it means you are too close to the quick.
  • Back off a few millimeters and try again.

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

girl trimming rabbit nails
Image credit: SOLOVEVA ANASTASIIA, Shutterstock

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 accidentally cut the nail pulp)

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

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

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Put the towel on the table.
  • Put the rabbit on top of the towel.
  • If your rabbit is calm, there is no need to wrap them in the towel.
  • If your rabbit is stressed, wrap them in the towel.
  • Keep your rabbit close to your torso for support.
  • 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. Use your rabbit’s feedback, and lightly press the clippers twice before cutting. This helps ensure that they do not react by retracting their paw.
  • If you do pinch the pulp, use a sterile gauze, and apply light pressure to stop the bleeding.

If you know that your rabbit gets stressed when you want to cut their nails, get someone to hold them while you trim their nails. However, most rabbits do better with one single person, so if this doesn’t work, you can use a towel to restrict your rabbit.


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 month. If your rabbit does not receive adequate nutrition and chewing toys, their teeth will continue to grow and can cause problems.

If their teeth are overgrown, your rabbit will start having feeding problems—they 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 will need to perform teeth trimming to help your rabbit recover their normal functionality without causing issues.

examining rabbit's teeth at veterinary clinic
Image By: 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, broken nail infections, or even toe fractures. Trim your rabbit’s nail little by little until you reach the desired length. Otherwise, you risk cutting the quick 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, we suggest that you take your pet to the vet so they can teach you.

Featured Image Credit: koumaru, Shutterstock

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