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Cliping ferret nails like a pro!

clipping ferret nailsFerrets are really clean animals and they only need few thing to make their life easier. Like cats, ferrets use their claws to climb on things, to dig or to investigate their surroundings. But, the anatomy of ferret’s toenail and cat’s isn’t the same. Cat’s claws are retractable, ferrets are more like dog’s. Since toenails are used mostly for digging, they need to be cut from time to time. Wild ferret’s ancestors used their toenails every day and their toenails were always short. No need for clipping ferret’s nails! 🙂



Yes. Our pets ferrets don’t have the opportunity to dig all day and make their toenails short, so we are cutting ferret’s nails. If you let your ferret’s toenail become too long, he will have trouble climbing or even walking. When he is sleeping in his favorite hammock and suddenly an itch appears your ferret will jump out of the hammock and scratch. You know what I am talking about. Ferret will get stuck in fabric when toenails are too long and he’ll panic. When ferrets panic they jump, twist and act all crazy. That means he can break his toenail, or even worse, his toe! That is something we won’t allow since trimming ferret nails are really simple, easy and fast.

Usually, this period between clipping ferret nails is two weeks, depending on how fast his toenails grow. Just observe your ferret and you’ll know everything. If you see your ferret having trouble climbing, running or some other activity it’s time for some clipping!


There are many toenail clippers, but there aren’t any made especially for clipping ferret’s nails. You can use cat claw clippers and they are great for this. Their size is OK, they aren’t too big or small and they are sharp. Some people even use clippers made for humans, so that is also a good option. You can’t get the wrong clippers as long as they are sharp and they clip toenail with a clean cut. But, be careful, if you buy cheap clipper it will become blunt very quickly. If you have more than one ferret, definitely buy quality clippers. All of you with one ferret, you can also buy quality clipper of course, but since you’ll use them rarely for clipping ferret nails, they will last longer. But, when you buy the quality one, they can last for years, cheap ones you’ll have to buy almost every year.


There are so many ways for clipping ferret nails and I’ve tried 2 of them. When I got my Frida, her first clipping was at the veterinarian at regular checkup and vaccination. My veterinarian showed me how I can do it fast, but it looked too complicated for me. He did it all by himself and I was like: ”No way, that’s impossible! How can he do that all alone?”

For my first year or so, I asked my brother or sister to help me. (depending who was at home that moment) We made quite the operation. 😀 I grabbed my clipper and malt paste (like Ferretone) and we went to the bathroom.  My sibling would hold Frida under her arms and gave her malt paste. When she started licking the paste I attacked. Frida was hanging in the air eating malt paste and I was going around trimming ferret nails. That was really a two-man job.

 If you aren’t sure about clipping ferret’s nails, first few times you can ask someone to help you. They can hold your ferret, give him Ferretone, do anything that can make this errand less stressful for you and your ferret. Since I was inexperienced I thought this was the easiest way for me, as a beginner.

trimming ferret nails

After couple dozen times of cutting ferret’s nails, I realized I can do it by myself.  I used one old T-shirt, put it on the table and placed Frida on it. Frida was on her back and I put a small amount of malt paste on her belly so she can lick it while I clip. When she was on her back her legs were in the air so I could easily take every paw gently and clip. If she started to wiggle I would just give her another round of malt paste on the same spot. That was rare because she must clean her fur off the paste and that can take time. After trimming ferret’s nails I just picked Frida up, put her aside and cleaned the table. Most of the time she didn’t even realize I did something to her.

That is how I’m clipping ferret nails today and it lasts for about a minute.

There is one more way you can do it, but for cutting ferret’s nails this way, your ferret needs to be asleep. I haven’t tried it while Frida sleeps because she loves to change position so I am afraid I’ll hurt her. Can you do that with your ferret? I don’t know, let’s check out! Try to put your sleeping beauty on your lap and test his sleep. Pick one paw and release it. Pick another and repeat. If your ferret didn’t wake up, you have a deep sleeper, great! I recommend you to do it while he’s asleep, he won’t notice anything and won’t move. You don’t even need malt paste for this ferret nail clipping!


The good thing about ferret nail clipping is that on white toes you can easily see the whole toenail. On dark toes not so much, but it is visible. If you look closely you can see their blood vein inside the toenail. If you regularly clip toenails, that vein will be short, if you don’t do that, the vein will be long.

That blood vein is a big stop sign for trimming ferret nails. If you clip too short you can clip that vein and that is painful. There will be blood in the small amount, but if you do that, just stop with the cutting ferret’s nails and care for the wound. Accidents happen, unfortunately, I did it to my Frida, but I think I was more stressed than her.

If you clip near the vein your ferret will pull his toe back and hiss, but that doesn’t mean you hit the vein, maybe you just pulled his hair. If there isn’t any blood, the vein is fine. Just try to clip on the middle, so the vein isn’t too close to clippers.

Frist, clip the front toenails, they are longer and easier to handle. Rear toenails don’t grow that much, they are more challenging to clip, but be patient and careful. You can slightly push their paw with your finger so he’ll push you back and you’ll see toenails better. You will clip your ferret toenails more careful in the beginning, but you’ll catch it in no time.

Now do the war dance with your groomed toenails! 🙂

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Comments (5)

  1. lynio December 19, 2016 at 5:09 pm Reply

    So I tried this advice on my Lili when I first saw it a few months ago on your blog. I had almost no problem with Chouchen before but when I got Lili, I realized that it wouldn’t be as easy. Long story short, she really doesn’t like it. When I put the vitamins on her belly, she freaks out and run everywhere and when I finally catch her under a furniture and put her on her back, the vitamins are almost completely gone and she starts liking furiously to remove the rest. I use that moment to cut her nails but it’s really short and she’s moving a little bit. She really seems to hate that so much.
    The trick does work on Chouchen but she’s usually calm, I almost don’t need it.

    1. Anja Delic December 22, 2016 at 9:36 am Reply

      Does she love vitamins? The catch is to give them something they really love so that they will be focused on that thing, not nail clipping.

      1. lynio December 22, 2016 at 5:01 pm Reply

        Thanks for answering! I think she likes vitamins usually because she’s always happy to lick some. I don’t know if she *loves* them though. She seems to like chicken maybe more but I would have to make it in some kind of paste otherwise she will just run away with it.
        But it seems that having something stuck to her belly really freaks her out. I tried introducing her to water and swimming and she seemed to like it but as soon as the water touch her belly below the rib cage, she freaks out.

        1. Anja Delic December 26, 2016 at 5:07 pm Reply

          Have you tried to clip her toenails while she’s asleep? Or someone can hold her while you do that, that way you can avoid her belly.

          1. lynio December 26, 2016 at 9:15 pm

            She wakes up pretty easily when I’m around, and holding her calm is extremely difficult so it’s not really possible.
            I tried to sit with my legs crossed and put vitamins on the bottom side of one of my leg so that I can keep her calm on her back under a leg and it worked very well! It looks silly but it works so… I’ll try to put a pic on Instagram next time.

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