Absolutely! There are numerous essential reasons to trim your bearded dragon’s nails; to protect yourself from painful marks and skin irritation, ensure the lizard’s feet are perpendicular and parallel to the ground, and prevent the nails from overgrowing. Besides preventing nail snagging and infections, you want to maintain your bearded dragon’s toenails at optimal health.
Trimming your bearded dragon nails depends on how fast and long the pet lizard’s nails grow, irrespective of age.
Why Should You Trim a Bearded Dragon Pet’s Nails?
Nail trimming is an essential component of responsible pet beardie care. Here’s why you should clip the toenails before they overgrow:
To Protect Yourself
If a bearded dragon’s nails are allowed to continue growing longer, they’ll become sharp and almost razor-like, capable of leaving claw marks on you whenever you handle the pet.
Accordingly, to make life safer for both the keeper and the kept, we must be willing to trim domesticated bearded dragons’ nails.
Fortunately, with a bit of grit and a pair of standard toenail trimmers or specialized pet claw trimmers, you can quickly perform this process.
To Promote Pet Safety and Comfort
Another reason you need to trim bearded dragon nails is because it ensures the lizard’s feet are perpendicular and parallel to the ground.
Otherwise, long nails push the toes to the side, making it hard for the reptile to maintain balance when climbing up objects or walking on flat and hard surfaces.
Bearded dragon nails that are not regularly trimmed might become so long that they start snagging on various objects and surfaces. Regrettably, the bearded dragon might rip off the nails while trying to save themselves.
Besides exposing the lizard to infections, ripped-off nails are extremely painful; in most cases, those nails do not grow back.
Whether your bearded dragon is a juvenile or an adult, trimming the pet lizard’s nails goes a long way in keeping the pet reptile in optimal health and providing it with a high-quality life.
Easy Ways to Manage Your Beardie Long Nails
Besides trimming the bearded dragon’s nails, you can also put in place other measures that will help restrain the nails from growing too long too quickly.
Provide Rough Surfaces inside the Tank
One of the most effective methods is recreating the bearded dragon’s natural environment. Instead of soft stones, select rough-textured rocks for the basking area. Rough surfaces help grind the beardies’ nails while walking and keep them down naturally.
Using Suitable Substrate Choices
Another way is by incorporating a large stone tile in the bearded dragon’s feeding area. As the pet lizard moves around while hunting for live food, its nails wear down.
These steps are effective complements to trimming the pet reptile’s nails but should not be used as a replacement. In the lifespan of a bearded dragon, we cannot rely on the beardie to naturally wear down nails because it’s minimal and cannot maintain the nails at a short length for long.
Take Them to the Vet
On the other hand, if you are not confident enough to trim your bearded dragon’s nails without hurting the pet, a reptile vet can do it for you at a small fee.
How Do You Tell If Your Bearded Dragons Nails Are Too Long?
You will know your bearded dragon’s nails are too long and due for trimming by the following:
1. Injury to Your Arm
When bearded dragon’s nails start scratching you and breaking your skin you may need to trim its nails. You can do it every month or a couple of times yearly, depending on their growth rate.
2. Toes Twisting
Another clue that your pet reptile’s nails are too long is whenever the beardie poops; the pet lizard is barely able to rotate its toes to the sides.
Bearded Dragon toes and nails should sit upright and be perpendicular to the ground. If the lizard’s nails are too long, it can force the pet reptile’s toes to twist over.
Toe twisting is not only painful and uncomfortable to the lizard but also causes substantial pain and stress and even leads to toe and feet (paw) deformities if left unattended for too long.
3. Difficulty While Climbing or Digging
Extremely long bearded dragon nails make climbing on rocks, trees, and hammocks complicated and challenging for a bearded dragon.
Given that you have provided your pet lizard with rocks in its vivarium, the pet reptile should be able to climb quickly.
If you realize that your lizard is having a hard time climbing on the rocks, it’s most likely the long nails are acting as a hindrance.
Sadly, too-long lizard’s nails could become obstacles instead of facilitators to climb and move. Their claws must be perpendicular to the ground surface to enable bearded dragons to dig, burrow, walk, and dash.
Long nails will get in your bearded dragon’s way and leave them struggling to gain traction when climbing or digging.
4. Loose Grip
Bearded dragons love wandering, exploring, and sunbathing on high branches. For this reason, uncomfortable long nails might stop the pet reptiles from their favorite activity.
A bearded dragon with normal-sized nails should have the ability to hold firmly on branches without falling off. If the pet reptile’s nails have become too long, the lizard can no longer hold a steady grip.
The result is it falls from branches due to loose grips caused by very long nails may injure the bearded dragon.
Furthermore, since overgrown bearded dragon nails do not support solid gripping, the pet lizard may feel insecure and keep off completely from branches.
Sadly, keeping a beardie from its fun activities and recreation heightens its stress levels and can lead to other health complications such as loss of appetite, MBD and starvation.
And that’s not all.
Extremely long bearded dragon nails also stop the lizard from sleeping on branches, as their length gets in the way when they stay stationary on the branches.
5. Nail Overgrowth
Due to nail overgrowth in bearded dragons, which is characterized by nails being allowed to grow too long, nails start to curl inwards.
If not trimmed, the overgrown beardie nails will continue to overgrow and stub into the reptile’s underfoot. This can be very painful and can also bring about infections.
Snagged nails can also be a problem for your bearded dragon. They can rip off and not grow back! Moreover, long-bearded dragon nails cause your pet lizard’s toes and feet to get caught on things like reptile carpets and clothes.
You can quickly tell that your pet reptile’s nails are too long when they start snagging.
Some beardie bacterial infections are caused by the dragon having very long nails. If your pet reptile contracts infections more often, it is good to first check under the pet lizard’s long nails for dirt.
As bearded dragons eat live food, these pet reptiles may accumulate a lot of dirt and bacteria under their nails. The longer the nails, the more the bacteria collected, which eventually leads to your pet lizard getting sick more frequently.
8. Lack of rough substrate
The next sign is how your bearded dragon stands or walks on a hard surface. When your bearded dragon is on a hard surface, you will be able to notice if its nails are too long. The nails and toes will stay perpendicular to the ground if they are the correct length.
Using substrates like smooth tiles in a bearded dragon enclosure adds to the lizard’s nails growing too long and fast.
Therefore, replacing rough-textured substrate options such as textured rocks, wooden logs, or porcelain tiles is recommended.
Substrates make you trim your bearded dragon nails less often because they naturally help wear down the lizard’s nails as the pet goes about its usual business inside the vivarium.
Bearded dragons in the wild are constantly on the move, chasing, and digging, running, and being chased after by predators.
As a result, the ground surface wears down the lizard’s claws in the wild. You can reduce the frequency of nail trims by taking advantage of this natural process and recreating it in the lizard’s enclosure.
Instead of using smooth logs or rocks, consider swapping your pet reptile’s favorite basking place with a rough stone. This will help keep the nails on the ground and naturally trim them to a safe and convenient length.
However, this process is slow. So, if your bearded dragon already has too long nails, trim the nails first and then try maintaining them using this method.
Nail trimming is essential for captive bearded dragons, whose nails grow too long due to lack of exposure to being constantly filed down naturally, as in the wild. Sadly, leaving a captive beardie’s pet nails to overgrow presents many problems to the lizard and the owner or caregiver.
Overgrown bearded dragons nails can cause the pet reptile’s toes to twist uncomfortably and painfully, impact the lizard’s ability to walk, climb, dig, or chase down live insect feeders, and leave you with painful and irritating claw marks after handling the pet.
Moreover, nail overgrowth, nail snagging, some toe and nail infections, experiencing mobility difficulties, and loose grips are signs that your pet reptile has too long nails.
In addition to the lack of rough substrate, a bearded dragon scratching and hurting your hand also depicts that your pet lizard has unusually long nails that require trimming.
Luckily, clipping or trimming your bearded dragon’s nails doesn’t always need you to contact a pet reptile vet.
It would be best if you had a basic understanding of the lizard’s nail anatomy, how to calm the beardie down, and how to trim the nail effectively, and you’ll be all set to go.
We hope that this article made it easy for you to understand that you need to trim your bearded dragon’s nails as you aim to provide the pet lizard with the best life and care you can.