What To Do If Your Rabbit’s Toenail Gets Ripped Out: Emergency Procedures

What should you do if your rabbit’s toenail falls out?

First and foremost, you must keep the infection from setting in. The nail bed needs to be kept clean and dry. Apply pressure to the area for a minute or two in order to minimize bleeding. Wrap the area in clean gauze and bandages. Over the next few days, watch for bacterial infection in the form of redness or swelling. 

How to medically treat a broken toenail

You can use an antibacterial ointment to clean the nail bed, but only a type that is recommended by your veterinarian. Many medicines meant for people are not good for small animals.

How do you stop the bleeding around a bunnies toenails?

The styptic powder can lessen bleeding. This is an antiseptic type of powder that acts as a clotting agent. Groomers will have this handy for when accidents happen during the grooming of their animals.

Styptic powder usually helps stop minor bleedings in less than 30 seconds. It also works as an anesthetic so using it will help ease the pain as well.

Alternatively, you can try using a pinch of cornstarch or flour and applying it directly to the wound with a towel overhead for about 30 seconds to 1 minute as well.

If you don’t happen to have any of that, find some cotton balls or a soft cloth and apply gentle pressure to the toenail for about 2 minutes.

Take your rabbit to the vet if you can’t stop the bleeding or if any infection occurs.

Your vet might even try cauterization.

If your rabbit’s toenail is loose, what should you do?

If there’s no bleeding and the nail just seems loose, it may be best to just leave it be until it falls off on its own.

Your rabbit’s paw will be a little sensitive, but it will pass. If it’s a broken nail hanging by a thread you can help by cutting it off. 

What does it feel like for a rabbit to lose a toenail?

You’d have to be Dr. Dolittle to know exactly what a rabbit feels, but losing a toenail probably feels as bad for them as it does for us. 

The nail itself has no feeling, but the nail bed is jammed with raw nerves. Bunnies are generally such quiet and gentle creatures that loud noises and acts of aggression are signs of a rabbit in pain.

Infections will obviously make that area extremely sensitive to the touch and very painful to walk on. Be on the lookout if you notice your rabbit limping or trying to avoid using one of its paws.

Does the toenail grow back, and how long will it take?

If the nail bed was not too damaged, the nail will likely grow back. However, this is a lengthy process that can take up to six months. 

Is it normal for my rabbit’s toenail to fall off?

It’s not exactly normal for a nail to fall off, but it isn’t rare either. In the wild, rabbits will dig and burrow down into the ground and they will also scratch their nails on hard surfaces. Because of this, it is not uncommon for a rabbit to lose a nail.

Keep your bunny’s nails trimmed and watch for hazards that can lead to injury like wires and gaps. 

What could happen if you leave your rabbit’s missing toenails untreated?

If you leave your rabbit’s missing toenail untreated infection may set in. If what is causing your bunny pain is not tended to, the pain will just get worse. There are two major problems that can arise from an untreated nail:

  • Bacterial Infections If there is any redness or swelling, it is likely due to a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections will continue to get worse if left untreated. Your rabbit’s going to need antibiotics. This is something only your veterinarian can prescribe so it’s important that you contact him or her as soon as possible. 
  • Sore Hocks/Pododermatitis: This happens when the fur on the hocks gets infected and becomes painful. Keep your rabbit’s nails trimmed and you will not have this problem. Again, an infection could occur and you might need to go see a vet if this doesn’t resolve on its own after you’ve removed the issue.

What are some reasons why your rabbit has loose nails?

In the wild, a rabbit’s nails are worn down by burrowing, foraging, and climbing over roots and logs. A pampered pet needs someone to keep nails trimmed before they start coming loose.

When a rabbit’s nail is allowed to grow too long it can get snagged easily and even break at a certain point that can be extremely painful for the rabbit.

Is your rabbit’s nail-biting habit causing its nail to fall off?

Nail-biting is a terrible habit for humans and even worse for rabbits. A rabbit who bites its own nails is stressed out, perhaps fed inadequately or groomed improperly. Not only can biting a nail cause damage but it is a symptom of a larger problem. 

How do you know when your rabbit’s nails are getting too long?

If the nail starts to curl, it is too long. You want to trim the nails before they get so long that your rabbit can’t hop around comfortably. 

What can possibly happen if you leave the nails untrimmed

It is not healthy to let a bunny’s nails grow too long. Not only can the claws scratch you up but they are liable to get snagged on something and come loose. Even worse, the toe may become dislocated. If the nail starts curling in, your rabbit may not be able to move without being in pain. 

What to consider when trimming your rabbit’s nails

There are many things to consider when trimming your rabbit’s nails. You want to set up a schedule for nail trimming so that it’s done at the right time. You want your rabbit to be calm during the procedure. 

The most difficult thing about cutting any animal’s nails is not cutting the quick. You also need to know how long is too long and how short is too short. 

  • How often to trim your rabbit’s nails Twice a week or every other day should do it. This will also make the quick shorter and harder to cut on accident. 
  • Can you “hypnotize” or “trance” your rabbit? You can, but you shouldn’t. A rabbit in a “trance” (Richard Adams called it a tharn) may look calm but they are really stressed out by fear. It is better to just learn how to handle a rabbit correctly. 
  • Avoid cutting the quick. The quick is a vein that supplies blood to a nail inside the nail. Cutting it leads to immense pain and bleeding. Rabbit nails are dark so you may need a small but powerful flashlight to see them. Shine it right into the nail and try to see if you can identify the silhouette of the vein. You’ll want to cut off only the tip of the nail.
  • How long should rabbit nails be? Rabbit nails should be fairly short. A good rule of thumb is that they should not grow out longer than the fur on the rabbit’s feet. 
  • What tools should I use? Scissor-shaped clippers are ideal, but some people find the guillotine style easier to handle. Have your vet show you the proper way to do it.

Is it possible to declaw a rabbit?

Never declaw a rabbit. It is not safe or humane.

Rabbits naturally use their nails to dig burrows underground. They even sometimes do it for fun. In the wild, rabbits naturally shave their nails by simply moving around, climbing, and digging on hard surfaces.

However, in captivity, it might be harder for rabbits to be able to do this. Learn to keep your bunny’s nails trimmed and they won’t become a problem.

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Author: John