The Importance and Procedure of Hamster Nail Trimming

This page introduces the necessity of trimming hamster nails and provides guidance on how to do it for those who may be wondering, “My hamster’s nails seem to be getting long… Should I trim them?”

Is it okay to leave the nails long?

Leaving the nails excessively long is not recommended.
When the nails are long, there is a risk that the hamster may accidentally scratch its eyes or nose while grooming.
Additionally, during free-roaming time, the nails may get caught in carpets or sofas, potentially causing them to break or even fracture.

Guidelines for nails that require trimming

The photo below shows the nails of my hamster.
After consulting with a veterinarian, I was told that at this length, trimming is not immediately necessary.
However, if the nails continue to grow and curl at the tips, it’s advisable to consider trimming them.

Nails of a Syrian hamster
Nails of a Syrian hamster
Gidelines for nail that requre trimming
Gidelines for nail that requre trimming

Procedure for Nail Trimming

It is strongly recommended to have nail trimming done by a professional at an animal clinic.
Due to the small size of a hamster’s body, there is a risk of causing injury with even a slight misalignment.
Accidental bleeding can lead to potentially life-threatening situations.

Procedure for owners to trim nails themselves

In situations where it is unavoidable for the owner to trim the hamster’s nails, such as when your elderly hamster may become too weak to go to the clinic, use specialized small animal nail clippers.
Regular scissors have blades that are too large, posing a risk of severe injury if nerves or fingers are accidentally cut.

The method for trimming nails involves gently placing the hamster on its back and securing its limbs at the base with your fingers before trimming.
Providing a distraction such as treats can help keep the hamster occupied, reducing the likelihood of it resisting or struggling significantly during the process.

The hamster being placed on its back
The hamster being placed on its back

If the hamster struggles too much and you are unable to trim its nails by holding it, another effective and safe method is to place the hamster in a container with small holes, similar to a sieve.
This allows the nails that protrude from the holes to be trimmed easily from below.

Please take sufficient care not to trim the nails too short.
When you observe your hamster closely, you can see pink nerves inside the nails.
Cutting beyond this point can cause pain and bleeding, so please only trim the curved part of the nail.

Gidelines for nail that requre trimming
Gidelines for nail that requre trimming

Preventing nails from growing too long

If you maintain an appropriate living environment, the nails of your hamster should naturally wear down to the right length without becoming excessively long.
If the nails of a healthy and young hamster are too long, it may indicate that they are not getting enough exercise.
For hamsters that are not fond of running wheels, providing an environment for sand baths or digging holes, and occasionally allowing them to play outside the cage, may be beneficial.

For elderly hamsters, it is often unavoidable that their activity levels decrease, leading to excessively long nails.


We have discussed the guidelines, procedures, and methods to prevent hamster nails from growing too long.
While leaving excessively long nails untrimmed is not recommended, there is a significant risk of injuring the hamster during nail trimming, so if possible, it’s best to have the procedure done at an animal clinic!

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