How to Clip and Trim a Parakeet's Nails
Do Parakeets Need Pedicures?
A parakeet's claws, if not kept clipped, can quickly get out of hand. If they get too long, they can begin to curl downward and grow into the bird's feet, causing him severe pain and discomfort. That is why it's very important to take good care of your parakeet's claws.
Some may prefer to take their bird to a professional, but I've found that it's much quicker and cheaper to do it at home. Here's how.
What You Will Need to Trim a Parakeet's Claws
- A washcloth. This will be used to help you hold the parakeet. It will protect you from being bitten, and it will help to keep the parakeet calm.
- A pair of clippers. If you don't already have these, they can be found at any pet store. However, they are much cheaper online.
- A helper. While it's not absolutely necessary, it will be a great help to have someone else hold the parakeet while you clip his claws. Eventually, you will learn to do it by yourself, but for now it's wise to have some help.
Step 1: Secure Your Parakeet Safely
Before you begin clipping your parakeet's claws, you will need to secure him safely and comfortably in a washcloth. To do this, place a clean washcloth over your parakeet, and grab him around his back with your hand. Make sure that his wings are tucked in at his sides; if they are spread out and you are attempting to secure him in this position, he could be injured. You do not need to squeeze him, just hold him in place very gently. As long as he can't spread his wings, he cannot go anywhere.
Note: He will probably squawk a lot. This does not mean you are hurting him, as long as you aren't squeezing too hard. This is not exactly fun for him to be confined like this, so he'll be in a bit of distress. I usually sing songs to my parakeet that I know she likes. This calms her down quite a bit.
Step 2: Locate the Vein
Now it's time to start clipping. Before you clip each nail, it's important that you carefully examine it, and locate the vein. Parakeets have veins that run about halfway through the upper portion of their claws. It will look like a red line, and should be clearly visible through light-colored claws.
You should avoid cutting the vein. Just place the tip of the claw into the center of the clippers, and squeeze the handles together. While this may scare your parakeet a little, don't worry, it doesn't hurt him a bit to have his nails clipped!
What If You Cut a Vein?
If you accidentally cut a vein, put some styptic powder (can be purchased at pet stores), cornstarch (baby powder), or some flour in the palm of your free hand, and dip the bleeding nail in it. It will help stop the bleeding. Generally, the nail bed will heal and your parakeet will be okay! But if the bleeding does not stop, you will need to take your parakeet to the vet with urgency.
Step 3: Release Your Parakeet
After you've clipped all of your parakeet's claws, you're finished! Simply release him from your grasp. He will recover very quickly from any stress he may have been experiencing just moments ago. You will need to repeat this process every time you notice his claws getting too long.
I have to clip my parakeet's claws every couple of months, or so. It just depends on how fast they grow, and how well they are being filed down naturally between clippings. If this seemed a little bit scary, don't worry. It will get easier every time you try. You will get more comfortable with the process, and become more confident that you won't hurt your parakeet. Just keep at it. If you have any questions or run into any problems, give your local veterinarian a call for some advice. Good luck!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.