Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nail Cutting: Not as daunting as you think

I am demonstrating this on Wiggles. She is the most unhappiest about nail cutting so she will be the model to show that its not as bad nor a difficult as it may seem.

What you will need:
1. A rabbit
2. Clippers. Your choice. I have my preference. I like the green handled one below
4. Bag balm: in case the bunny has sore feet (Rex like Wiggles tend to be prone)
5. Papaya enzymes as a treat for after. But its your bun's choice.

So....lets begin....

Here are your tools of choice: I like the smaller one by the bag balm tin.
The bag balm is in case of sore bunny feet.
Make sure its daylight. I like to do this on sunny Saturday afternoons (but if you don't have one, an amply lit bathroom will do).

Why do you need light to avoid the wick from being cut? Here are my three cents:

  1. It hurts like hell. When I cut below my wick it really really hurts. Think of a hang nail.  So why on earth would I want a poor bunny to experience the same pain?
  2. A pet that may sit in its own waste all day  therefore it should not have any open wounds caused by nail cutting. Even if its not sitting in a cage like mine, they use a litter box, walk on the same floors we do, so its likely good to avoid any open wounds on the feet. 
  3. Cutting through the wick can be EASILY avoided, so why not try?

I've only ONCE in my entire life had mistakenly cut though a wick and caused pain. I promised after that I would NEVER EVER do that. So this is my simple technique.

Make sure you pick up bunny firmly with ample but support. Then proceed to flip said bun on your lap...come ca...

Wiggles demonstrating being flipped over in the sun.
Not happy about it....but look at her cute belly!
The key with any bunny flip is confidence. Let him/her know they are supported. Now allow the head to tilt back....back and back. This is a bit of a slow process. Comfort by petting the head. This will put them into a slight trance......Wiggles would NOT let me do this otherwise.

Remember when I said sunshine is a thing you need, well this is why. Wiggles has some dark tannins in her nails. So, having a sun lit background to shine though allowing me to see the wick, greatly increases my ability to see her wick, thus avoiding it, and reducing her pain. This is of course much easier with bunnies who do not have any dark tannins, nor throw hissy fits when nails are being cut.

Wiggles' paw. Its hard to see in this picture,
but her wick is easily visible to the naked eye though the sun.

You then clip away. The bunny will wiggle and get distressed. And will likely jump out of your hold, like Wiggles did 11 times during this nail cutting, but keep putting them back, reassuring them with pets, even when they pant and are not all that happy about it....because in the end there are rewards to be had.....

If you associate an unpleasant experience with some positive reinforcement, in this case Papaya Enzymes (during shedding period this has been shown to help them digest fur they lick off their shedding bodies) they won't always run away from the experience.

So, this is my technique.

Please feel free to share yours :3

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