How to trim nails properly?

Terri123

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Jan 21, 2019
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edmonton
Help! I was trying to trim my box turtle's hind nail, with nail clippers, I thought I was being very careful, and cut past the "black portion" ie. only the nail portion, but Toby was bleeding, after, there was blood flow to that portion as well? Is there a relevant video, or instructions, on trimming nails? I'm in Alberta, Canada, and it's still cold out, so he can't trim down his nails walking outside, and I am reluctant to take him to the vet, to have his nails trimmed, it's pricey, but that's okay I guess, but he seemed so freaked out last time I took him to the vet, plus with Covid-19, I am self-isolating, just in case, and this is not an emergency scenario. Anyhow, any advise for trimming hind, or front leg nails please? I felt soooo bad when I saw Toby's nail bleeding, soaked his little foot with a touch of peroxide/water, and replaced his soil with a blanket, so there is no infection, but I don't want a repeat scenario next time I try to trim his nails :(

Thank you for the advice!

Best,
Terri
 

ZenHerper

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Hey Terri!

It is distressing to have this kind of accident. But I'm sure Toby will be just fine.

If you post a very clear photo of the foot in question, it may be possible to see if the nails are even long enough to need trimming...they may be pointy, but not over-long.

Folks who keep turtles and torts indoors use things like a concrete yard paver or two for a feeding platform. This helps to both keep the beak smooth and the nail tips filed.

If you have a firm emery board, that may be a sufficient enough tool to dull the points until the weather warms up for outdoor exercise. (Do not reuse this type of tool on yourself to protect yourself from any bacteria or fungal spores present on your pet's feet.)
 

Terri123

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Jan 21, 2019
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edmonton
Thank you !! I will get a concrete yard paver for a feeding platform, that's an excellent idea, and try using a firm emery board. And, next time, I will post a picture to check with you incredible knowledgeable people, to check if, in fact, his nails require trimming. Thank you Again!
 

ZenHerper

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New Jersey
No worries!

Nails can get incredibly sharp from disuse without growing very long.

For a three-toed boxie with such a great dome as Toby's, I'd push the paver down to just about level with the substrate surface so he doesn't have to tilt too far when getting on and off.

Dab the cut toenail with the hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball (or similar) twice a day for the next 5 days. A healthy turtle's immune system is used to managing dings to the skin and even torn nails in the wild.

Cheers to everyone way up North. I hope you and yours are and stay well!
 

Yvonne G

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I generally trim nails out in the sun where the light is VERY bright. then I turn the foot over so I'm looking at the underside of it. In a very bright light you can see the red line of blood inside the nail and that makes it easier to not clip into the blood area.

When trimming nails always have styptic powder at hand.
 

jeneliza

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Mar 30, 2020
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burton michigan
What do you think about using a demel, like I do on dogs? On low of course being there very tiny in comparison, I have clippers, but it seems easier to demel them, being it's easier to not quick them, with clippers it's done, with a demel you can stop and look, as you go, I have never had to trim my redfoots nails, I use a brick paver as a feeding area, it has worked very well,
 
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