How To Cut Overgrown Bearded Dragon Nails?

How To Cut Overgrown Bearded Dragon Nails

Adult bearded dragons can grow long nails, and you should clip them carefully while avoiding the quick part of the nail. Ensuring your bearded pet dragon is calm and steady while you are clipping its claws and using suitable instruments. Alternatively, using a ceramic tile or a rock in the pet enclosure for your bearded pet dragon to climb will ensure its nails get trimmed naturally.

Bearded Dragon Nail Structure

Bearded dragon nails are made up of keratin and have different parts. 

A blackish or darkish pigment will be along the entire nail from the part where it starts to the curved outward tip. The pigment strip is just a part of the overall nail color. In some bearded dragons, this dark strip might be more transparent as they are bred to have whiter and clear nails.

A bearded dragon’s “quick” is a soft cuticle that contains mostly nerves and blood vessels. Because it contains blood vessels, the quick is also called the avascular part of the nail.

The quick is located right above the curved part of the overgrown nail. The quick can be found if you travel backward from the outermost curved tip, underneath the nail structure, till you find a soft, bumpy design. This indicates where the quick is located.

The curved part of the nail forms a claw-like structure, whereas the flat part grows from the toe, where the quick can be found easily. 

Why Should You Trim Your Pet Bearded Dragon’s, Overgrown Nails?

You should regularly clip your pet bearded dragon’s overgrown nails for several important reasons.

  • Overgrown nails can scratch you and cause injuries when handling your bearded dragon. 
  • From the perspective of the bearded dragon, overgrown nails can get into the movement of bearded dragons and can cause them injuries
  • The nails can get caught in things around the pet enclosure and break off, causing that nail never to grow back again.
  • Overgrown nails can affect the overall grip of bearded dragons as well. 

You can check out how this bearded dragon is struggling, all because of overgrown nails!

Natural Way to Keep Your Pet Bearded Dragon’s Nails Trimmed

It is easier to prevent the excessive growth of nails in a bearded dragon. This can be done by enabling the natural trimming of the nails of your pet bearded dragon in a natural manner. 

You can keep a tile in its enclosure to enable the natural trimming of your pet’s nails or claws. You can also place a rock or stone that is sharp. 

The tile or the rock will trim its nails naturally whenever your bearded pet dragon moves on it. Place it somewhere, like a water dish or the basking area where your pet will go. 

Although sometimes it may happen that your pet’s nails will not be sharp, they will still be long. In this case, you need to clip them. 

What Instruments Do You Need to Clip Bearded Dragon’s Nails? 

Following are some special instruments you will require to clip your bearded dragon’s overgrown nails. 

  1. Nail Clippers For Pets

A nail clipper meant for pets works best. A nail clipper meant for cats or dogs can also be used. 

An alternative is to use a tiny nail clipper meant for human babies.

It is crucial to not use the same clipper for your other pets or yourself, as the everyday use of nail clippers can spread infections. 

  1. Small Nail File

Along with clippers, you will also need a metal file. Use an emery board to file the nails of your pebearded petragon.  

  1. Warm Blanket

A small warm blanket is an optional requirement. It’s to be used only if your little pet is stressed out. 

Covering the pet enclosure with a small blank blanket before trimming the bearded dragon’s nails will desensitize your pet by cutting out any exposure to light and loud sounds. 

Although ensure, not to cover the pet enclosure for too long as it may get too warm inside. 

Stepwise Procedure to Trim Bearded Dragon’s, Overgrown Nails

Clipping your bearded dragon’s nails can seem daunting, but if done in a stepwise manner, it is easy. 

  1. Ensure Your Pet Bearded Dragon Is Calm

Making sure that your little pet is calm and not stressed is a crucial step. If your pet is not calm, it may not cooperate with you during the actual process when you are trimming the nails. This can lead to accidental injuries and pain in your bearded dragon.

If your bearded dragon is stressed, calm it down by giving it a warm bath, petting it gently, covering the pet enclosure with a small warm blanket to desensitize it, or giving it some food. Bathing them before clipping nails will also soften them nails slightly.

If your pet is still stressed out despite your attempts to calm it, you should try clipping the nails after some time or the next day. 

  1. Grip the Foot Firmly

Once your bearded dragon is calm, gently but very firmly hold the foot with the claws you are going to trim first. While doing so, ensure that your hand movements are visible to your pet so that it is not taken by surprise. 

Ensure your grip is not too hard, which can injure your bearded dragon. 

  1. Clip the Thin Black Part of the Nail

Once your bearded dragon is calm and your grip is firm, and you are sure that your pet won’t suddenly move, you can start clipping the nail.

Gently cut only the curled or the sharp tip of the nail. The end of the nail will look only black and thinner than the rest of the nail. Cut only the more delicate part and clip way before the quick part of the nail or the bumpy part underneath it. 

Remember, the quick part, if cut, can cause your bearded dragon to bleed. You must avoid clipping away from the quick. Do not overdo the clipping. If unsure, it is best to trim very little.

  1. File the nails

Once the clipping is done, you can file the nails using a nail file. Ensure you do not over-file the nails, as they can become blunt. Blunt nails will make it hard for your bearded dragon to grip the surface or other things.

Also, do not file near the quick as it can make the quick sore.

  1. Reward Your Bearded Dragon

Finally, reward your pet with a treat. The treats will give your bearded dragon a good experience. This will reinforce a positive experience associated with nail clipping in your pet and make future nail clipping sessions easier.

If you are entirely new to this, it is advisable to learn this entire process from an actual demonstration from a veterinary doctor. Also, get into a habit of regularly handling your bearded dragon so that it doesn’t squirm or try to get away from you when you want to clip its overgrown nails. 

What to Do in Case of Accidental Injuries While Cutting Bearded Dragon’s Overgrown Nails?

Unfortunately, if you clipped the quick part of the nail, which is bleeding, you can use styptic powder to stop it. 

Though understand that having styptic powder on the stand-by will not prevent the pain that your bearded dragon will experience. So you must be very careful while clipping your pet’s nails.  

How Often Should You Clip Bearded Dragons Nails?

It is advisable to trim your bearded dragon’s nails every 3-4 months or 1-2 times a year, depending on the growth of the nails. 

You must watch for elongated nails every few months and clip them as necessary. 

If you are apprehensive and do not want to clip your bearded dragon’s nails, you can always get an appointment with a veterinary doctor and get it done. You can also learn from them how to do it yourself. 


Trimming your bearded dragon’s overgrown nails is a necessary activity. It should be done carefully with utmost care and gentleness. 

Any injury can lead to the loss of trust in your pet. Every time you clip your pet’s nails, a gentle, caring, and cautious treatment will make nail cutting a more accessible experience for you and your pet.

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