Gerbils' nails can grow too long in captivity, as they don’t get much chance to wear them down naturally. Owners can give them a helping hand, though.
If your gerbils’ nails have started to grow back towards their feet, or if they have developed a strong curve, you need to trim them. This is a little tricky, but it will get easier with practice - or, if you feel nervous about the procedure, you can ask a vet to do it for you. Regular trimming will ensure that you need to trim off less each time.
Before setting to work with the nail clippers, check that your gerbil is calm and happy to be handled. If it struggles too much and gets stressed, trimming the nails will be much more difficult.
Ready and waiting for his nails to be trimmed!
Trimming a Gerbil's Nails Correctly
First of all, check your gerbil’s feet carefully. Get someone - an adult - to hold your pet on their lap while you gently examine it. Shine a torch from below the foot so that the toes and the nails are illuminated. You will be able to see that your gerbil has a blood vessel in the 'living' part of the nail. It’s important not to cut this vessel, or the nail immediately around it. It will cause your pet pain, and it will bleed.
To avoid cutting this blood vessel, only take a tiny portion of your pet’s nails off at a time. Just trim the very ends, until the nail is no longer curving back towards the foot. Don’t trim more than you need to - just enough so that your pet can put its whole foot down without the nails being in the way.