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How to trim your Bearded Dragons nails!

How to trim your Bearded Dragons nails!

Long and/or sharp claws on bearded dragons are a common concern among beardie owners — after all, those claws can definitely make handling a bit of a problem, and even leave itchy, lingering scratches on your hands and arms. Overgrown claws can also twist your bearded dragon’s toes, creating discomfort and possibly long-term injury to their feet. However, if their claws are too short, they won’t be able to climb very well.

The good news is that trimming a bearded dragon’s claws is not as scary or complicated as it may seem to be. If you’re terrified of clipping your beardie’s nails because you’re afraid of hurting them or doing it wrong, let this article empower you!

What you’ll need:

  • Cat or bird nail clippers
  • Another person to help hold the dragon still (if needed)

In theory, you can use normal human nail clippers, but this tends to leave more room for error and doesn’t make as clean of a cut.

How to do it:

Take a good look at your bearded dragon’s claws. See the dark stripe that runs through them? That’s not just pigmentation — you’re actually looking at a blood vessel. Unlike human nails, which are essentially dead down to the cuticle, bearded dragon claws have a connection to the nervous system and a blood supply. If you cut them too short, it will be painful to the dragon and the nails will bleed, so it’s important to pay attention to that dark stripe and place the cut roughly 1mm beyond where it ends.

Before you start clipping, you can help calm your dragon for the process by covering their head and body with a piece of soft cloth, like a baby blanket or hand towel. Then, gently hold your dragon’s foot (not too tight!) and quickly nip off the tips of the nails.

What if I cut too far??

If you accidentally cut too far, it’s not the end of the world. It won’t feel good for your beardie, and they might become a little nervous about you touching their feet for a little while, but overall the problem is quite minor. Simply dab the bleeding claw with iodine, and wait until the bleeding has stops before placing them back in their enclosure.


If you’re still too nervous to trim your pet’s claws, your veterinarian may be willing to do it for you.

In some cases, you may be able to avoid the necessity of claw trimming by using lots of abrasive materials in your bearded dragon’s enclosure: soil and/or natural sand substrate, climbing branches, and rocks (sandstone and cork can be particularly effective). These materials naturally keep a bearded dragon’s nails filed as it navigates its enclosure. Enclosures with solid substrates such as tile, terrarium mats, or paper towel will not provide this benefit. The same goes for soft, smooth, and/or fluffy décor items.

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  • Josh Halter


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