How To Keep Your Rabbits Nails Short Without Cutting Them?

How to keep Your Rabbit Nails Short Without Cutting Them
Written by Mehwish Imtiaz

If you are new to rabbits, the fear of directly handling them for a quick nail trim is quite natural. Well, not only for new owners but also some seasoned rabbit pet owners are also reluctant to cut their bunny’s nails directly. Moreover, cutting the nails of a rabbit need pretty a deal of attention and time. So, it becomes difficult for many rabbit parents to spare this much time for their little bun.

The difficulty is not only on the part of pet owners but also on the part of rabbits too. Most of the time, rabbits are quite reluctant and skittish to let their nails cut. While in the cases when rabbits are pretty in large number, it becomes pretty impractical to pick up, handle, and trim each of the rabbit’s nails.

So, what if you are in any of these situations? Or any other circumstance is making it impossible for you to reach your pet. There are quite some ways when you can help your rabbit have good nails naturally.

Continue reading till the end, and follow the tips precisely. And do not forget to note essential points in your little bun diary!

There are many alternative methods to wear down your pet rabbit’s nails without cutting them. These methods are:

You can provide them a large surface area for continuous roaming.

Use of Sandpaper.

Use of Hard surfaces.

You can leave them in your yard for playing and digging holes.

Use rough and rugged mats for scratching.

Concrete or wood floors that are not smooth.

Although these methods are not good enough to give your pet rabbit nails proper cut and shape, you can call these methods as natural methods for the wearing down of rabbit nails.

By following these techniques, you will not have to worry about their nail monitoring as they all are based on the natural habit and behavior of these pets. We will discuss these methods in detail for your better knowledge.

Providing Large Surface Area

Rabbits usually live in small hutches outside in a shelter. Or you can also put the cabinet indoor. However, you see, your rabbit loves to roam and chill around in your whole house during the day. This is because they are habitual to run and walk. In fact, they are made to have a high activity level.

So, one best method is to provide your bun with large surface areas for running. This will result in the natural trimming of your pet rabbit’s nails.

If your rabbit is a bit sluggish, the best idea is to keep a pair of rabbits or more. This can increase their activity level. Rabbits are social animals and will love to play around in groups and holes in your yard.

I bet you will find them super entertaining, hoping together and digging holes in your backyard. Well, this can only happen if you do not have a problem with them doing so(chuckles).

Use Sandpaper

Sandpapers are usually rough and scratchy surfaces. Make your rabbit move and walk on them. This makes their nails scratch and wears down.

One of the best ways to use sandpaper is to put it in the box of the bunny as a base. It will give your bunny’s feet the necessary scratch, helping to keep the growth of its nails under check.

Disadvantages Of Using Sandpaper

You know the texture of sandpaper is quite harsh and rough. Its frequent usage can affect your cute little bunny.

Suppose the movement of the rabbit is uncontrolled on the sandpaper. It can result in excessive shortening of nails (bleeding).

It can cause bumblefoot. If the bumblefoot is not adequately treated, the infection can spread to the bones, tissues, even throughout the body. Your pet bunny can also die because of it.

What Is A Bumblefoot?

Bumblefoot is the damaging of the backside of rabbit’s feet. This also occurs in birds and chickens. This can result in bleeding that can cause a bacterial infection.

Sandpaper can also cause sore feet. Rabbits usually require soft and smooth surfaces. The only usage for hard surfaces is due to the trimming of their nails.

If the bunny’s activity on sandpaper is not monitored, it can cause a sore foot. This causes inflammation in the backside of the rabbit’s feet.

So, How To Prevent All These Possible Problems?

Use the sandpaper from time to time. You can also place it in a part of the hutch and keep the rest free of it. Moreover, you can also place sandpaper for a specific time of the day for particular days of the week.

All these solutions work well for most rabbits and give noticeable results without any undesirable effects.

For Your Information!

Sandpaper, hard surfaces, concrete or wood floor, and rough mats techniques are almost the same.

Wearing nails will only be effective when your rabbit is doing a physical activity rather than sitting. Moving action will scratch his/her nails on the ground.

Digging Holes

Digging holes is entirely intuitive and the typical activity of most rabbits, particularly European ones. Leave your rabbit in your backyard for digging holes. This process needs to be appropriately monitored; otherwise, your backyard will be full of digging holes. Rabbits are fond of digging holes. Their nails are in a forward direction like dogs but unlike cats. While digging, their nails will wear down.

Also, this will be one of the best exercises a pet bunny can have. Burrowing holes in the ground not only keep it close to its wild self but also keep all its muscles active and functional. Adequate activity levels in bunnies guarantee no unexpected disease or medical condition hitting their pretty being.

Why Do Rabbits Dig Holes?

If your rabbit is digging a hole, then it is not unusual. Instead, there is an advantage in it for their nails. Digging is due to several reasons.

  1. It is trying to seek your attention.
  2. Your rabbit is feeling unsafe. They will hide in there. The rabbit will cover the holes by gathering some leaves of pieces of grass.
  3. There is a possibility that your rabbit might give birth.
  4. Or it is looking for a comfortable natural place to sleep.

If you see your rabbit sleeping in a burrow, there is a high chance that it is uncomfortable in the hutch. So, if you are annoyed by their digging, you must check their living area/habitat.

How Many Nails Does A Rabbit Have?

Rabbit has a total of 18 toenails. With 4 toenails in the backside. Whereas five nails in the front. In the front, the added nail is present on the side. This looks like a thumbnail. Rabbit’s thumbnail is a bit harder to cut because it is somewhat hidden in its hair.

Do Wild Bunnies Trim Their Nails On Their Own?

Domestic bunnies are a little less active than wild ones and require sufficient care and maintenance. Wild bunnies usually trim their nails on their own by digging holes and roaming. But on the other side, you must have to trim/cut your rabbit’s nails either by nail clippers or the methods as mentioned above.

As the rabbit’s nails are not trimmed up by the clippers, they can also chew their nails to avoid irritation.

Now, one of the most critical questions is how you would know if your bun’s nails are trimmed down.

How To Know It's The Time For The Rabbit Nails To Wear Down?

You can use these methods at least once or twice a month. Doing it frequently can result in excessive shortening of the nails. This can also damage the quick, resulting in pain and bleeding if your bunny’s nails are showing from the hairs of claws. It’s the time for the shortening of nails.

What Is A Quick?

Quick is the part of the nails that contains the blood vessels. Excessive cutting can damage, and also your cute little bunny can feel it. This usually results in post-paining.

What Happens If The Rabbit's Nails Get Too Long?

When the nails of your bunny are not properly maintained, it can cause problems including:

  • The quick inside the nails will start to elongate. This will prohibit you from cutting your bunny’s nails shorter.
  • The angle at which the bunny puts his feet will change. This will affect the way of walking of the rabbit.
  • When the nails get too long, they will start to curl. This
  • will make the rabbits move in an unnatural way.
  • The nails can get torn. If the detaching of nails is close to their skin, the quick is also affected.. Your rabbit will get exposed to bacterial infections.
  • Your rabbit will get exposed to bacterial infections.
  • If the nail of the rabbit is grown too much, it can dislocate the toe.
  • If the nail gets stuck in the carpet or a sofa can tear the nail. There is an excellent possibility that detaching of nails through the quick can bleed. The amount of bleeding is so great that this much blood loss can result in the death of your cute little bunny.
  • You can just simply apply a little pressure or put a cotton ball to stop the blood. After few days, check whether your bunny got an infection or not. In the case of excessive bleeding or infection, immediately consult your vet.

Long nails also push the pressure on the toe of the rabbit. This will result in arthritis.

How To Shorten The Quick Of Rabbit Nails?

If your rabbit has grown big quickly, the length of the nails will automatically increase. If you want your rabbit’s claws nice and decent with shorter nails, trim a little bit of their nails. In this way, the nails will get shorter so as the quick.

What Is Arthritis In Rabbits?

Arthritis in rabbits is caused due to damage in a certain joint. It happens more in adulthood than in childhood age.

How to know whether your bunny is suffering from arthritis..?

If you notice the following behavior changes in your bunny, he/she is suffering from arthritis :

  1. Lethargy (Less physical activity).
  2. Wet from the bottom.
  3. This happens because the bunny is not able to adapt the position for urine.
  5. Loss of appetite resulting in weight loss.
  6. Your bunny will become more aggressive.
  7. Abnormal gait.
  8. The most common effect of arthritis is stiffness of joints. The Joint has almost no lubrication making it difficult to move and bend.

If anything happens like this, try to consult your vet and take preventive measures. Take good care of your bunny.

Chewing Of Nails In Bunnies

Chewing is a common habit in rabbits. Here is the most probable cause of nails chewing in bunnies, along with its remedy.

Why Does Your Bunny Chew His/Her Nails?

When bunny’s nails are grown beyond a certain limit, it irritates them. They try to trim their nails on their own. This is done either by chewing or digging holes.

So one main reason for chewing nails in rabbits is due to excessive growth of nails. You can stop this habit by trimming their nails. Otherwise, they will self trim the nails.

Other reasons for chewing include:

  1. Boredom.
  2. Growth of teeth.
  3. Craving for chewing
  4. Numbness in the foot.
  5. Frustration (loneliness).
  6. The increased stress level.
  7. Pain in the blood vessels of the quick.

How To Stop The Habit Of Chewing Nails In Rabbits?

Chewing is quite common in domestic as well as wild rabbits. There are a number of ways to avoid rabbit nail-biting. Rabbits usually hate the smell of vinegar, garlic, apple juice, predator musk, or crushed red peppers. Applying garlic juice, vinegar on little bunny nails can stop them from chewing.

Can Human Or Cat Clippers Be Used For Trimming The Nails Of A Rabbit?

Human clippers are designed for thin nails. At the same time, rabbit nails are quite hard and rounded in shape. If you use your clipper on your bunny, it can destroy the nail of your pet rabbit. Cat clippers, on the other hand, are also valid for cutting the nails of a rabbit. But I would prefer to buy the rabbit clippers for the safe side.


Rabbits have the ability to grow really long nails. While it is the best practice to trim the nails regularly if you know how to, you can also adopt the above strategies. However, remember to give maximum activity level to your bunny to keep it healthy and in the best physical condition.

I hope this article proved quite helpful. In case of any further queries, you may contact us or comment down below. We would be happy to help.