Any nail clipping advice?

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Miss Aislin
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Any nail clipping advice?

Post by Miss Aislin » Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:31 pm

I've had four rats previously and never had to clip nails until they were elderly and stopped caring about grooming as much. However my two current babies aren't using their scratching block (why scratch it when they can climb on it, wee on it and hide under it?) It's starting to hurt now when they dive under my ponytail or climb up my sleeve and leaving nasty red scratch marks everywhere... So I caved and bought some ratty nail clippers.

Now I know the basics of ratty nail clipping, but there's a big difference between clipping the excess growth on an elderly lady rat who will curl up on your lap, and clipping the talons of two pingy babies who wriggle and jump. So does anyone have any advice on how best to handle this?

Thanks
(Ps I know the vet will do it but it's an 18.50 consultation charge each time... Eep)
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babytarragon
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by babytarragon » Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:37 pm

I struggle with this too with my wriggly boy. It's hard getting the balance of making the rat not feel like they are being gripped yet holding the foot securely enough that it's safe to snip. I end up taking off tiny little bits at a time which is really useless!!

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Miss Aislin
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by Miss Aislin » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:31 pm

Attempt one did not end well, managed to clip 2 nails from each rat before scrabbling squeaking and scratching ensued. Did not help with OH yelling 'don't cut their toes off'...

Anyone have any advice or recommendations?
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Kelski
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by Kelski » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:36 pm

I'm terrified of trying to clip my girls' nails too, I'm covered in big itchy red scratches but can't justify putting them through the stress of the vet for my own vanity :oops: Might need to get it done before my parents meet them for the first time at Christmas though!
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Miss Aislin
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by Miss Aislin » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:04 pm

Am I right in thinking it's only their back claws that need trimming?
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annc
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by annc » Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:08 pm

It's quite good to only do one or two at a time until they are used to it. I follow Acrorat's idea (you may be able to find her video) and hold the rat between my arm and side, bringing one foot out at a time.

If you go to shows you can often get someone to help you.

The front claws don't often need doing.
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Hoodles25
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by Hoodles25 » Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:51 am

My girlfriend and I have a set routine now. I will be sitting down and will try to sit the unlucky rat on her bottom, propping her back against my stomach. I will try to put my hands around her belly so that the paw to be clipped is sticking out from between my fingers. I can then use my other hand to try and splay each toe so its easier for my OH to see and snip.

Some of our girls are real little strugglers and will fight all the way through and others will just sit there and not bat a whisker at it....

Generally we get the back claws done first and then will assess how the girlie is reacting before deciding if its worth trying for the front claws.

If they get too worked up or start squeeking then we take a little break and give them a fuss before trying again....

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annc
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by annc » Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:27 pm

I thought I'd better do my hyperactive girl Dora's back claws tonight before giving her a chance to scratch the vet to bits! I was expecting an awful job, but she was brilliant. I've also shown Becky how I held her.
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crazyblackwings
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by crazyblackwings » Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:56 am

I tend to let them climb up the bars of the cage and feed them treats to keep them there and relatively still, then I just nick the points off.

I know what you mean about painful. Mine tend to grip on your arm for dear life which causes scratches when trying to move them!
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by Joanne » Thu Nov 24, 2011 1:37 pm

We have tried numerous ways but his feet were too wriggly. We now feed him treats so he is distracted while OH clips the nails. Our other rat clips his own.
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NellyNoodle
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by NellyNoodle » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:03 pm

do people use clippers or scissors? I bought some rabbit scissor things from P@H but they're rubbish, but once cut my own finger quite badly on clippers so they scare me a bit!

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Flox
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by Flox » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:34 pm

I just use standard nail clippers - you can see what you're doing which you can't really with the dog claw type (round hole), and I find scissors scary - they're pointy, and could slide off the claw, whereas clippers put equal pressure top and bottom. I'm just very careful to line the claw up and not cut until I'm certain (and also close the clippers a little first so they can't shove their toe in at the last minute). It's still awkward, though. We do what Hoodles described - my boyfriend holds them upright and I get their back legs, then we try to pin their hands between his fingers. I do all of them for a show, but if I could ever convince the boy (and myself, to be fair) to go through the trauma when it wasn't 'needed', I'd only do the back - they tend to be more talon-like and that's where they put their weight when they're scrabbling up your bare flesh >.<
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by acapae_wolf » Tue Nov 29, 2011 2:40 am

I just pop them on my knee and hold still. I hold the hand/ foor with my fingers, and use the rest of my hand/ arm/ body to hold the rat body still. Generally though I'll do a couple of nails or a whole foot and then let them have a break. With babies or rats otherwise not clipped before (that I know of), I'll do maybe 2-3 nails or a single foot a night, over a few days. Not so much to reduce the stress of any one time, but because the repeated action over time normalises it much quicker than 1 big one-off session.

I use human nail clippers too. With scissors, there's more of a chance that the cut won't fully remove the nail and you'll have to do a very precise 2nd cut. Also with clippers when you/ the rat get experienced, due to how they work, you can viably sometimes do 2 front nails at once, so a bit less stressful overall.

Obviously I try not to cut the quick, but I have on a couple of occasions, and they do (on rats not of questionable varieties) clot really fast - I don't use cornflour or anything. So although obviously try not to, don't majorly stress about it because the stress will probably cloud your judgement a bit or just make it harder generally.

I only ever clip before a show (all claws of all rats who are entered). I don't normally as I find once I have clipped, their ability to climb fabric and wood is greatly diminised, and since there's a lot of rope and wood in my cages that's not so good. Also I don't really find the claws long enough to be an issue to my skin - though if a rat does have a long talon I'll take them off because the end can often be weaker (especially in a new rescue rat re. nutrition).

I do quite like doing them, but I used to hate doing them and get someone else to if I could. It's one of those things whereby if you do it a lot (of times or more rats) your technique improves really quickly. Part of that is working out the 'how' that's right for you.
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LisaLQ
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by LisaLQ » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:19 am

I clip all babies nails regularly - so that they get used to it for their new homes.

I use baby nail clippers, and clip both front and back - while the back ones are thicker, the front ones are very fine and sharp, and as I have a rat allergy, these often irritate me just as much if not more than the back nails.

Much the same as Beri, I hold them firmly, hold their foot and clip as many as I can before they start to wiggle. Just taking the tips off, not getting near the quick (make sure you're in a well lit room, if you're like me and have trouble seeing the quick).

Front feet are trickier, because they always want to sniff the clippers or see what you're doing, and those whiskers can get in the way too :lol: I hold their toes between my first and second finger, so that their toes/nails are just poking through. This leaves the rest of my hand free to gently but firmly hold the rat steady, while the other hand clips them.
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littlemonster
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Re: Any nail clipping advice?

Post by littlemonster » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:50 pm

I do the clipping both ways - either hold the rat sort of between my arm and me and stick a food out, or more sit them up and hold still, some rats will do best either way. That is for back claws.

If I need to do front paws I sit them up and hold gently between my body and arm, three fingers around their body, thumb and index fingers hold front paw and clip with the other hand - making sure to avoid cutting whiskers off!


Most I've found will actually struggle less if sat up to do it - but I'm a mean mummy and they stay until I'm done :oops: Oh and I just use standard small (may be baby ones, not a clue) nail clippers too, scissors would worry me for the potential to accidentally stab a squirming rat.

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