four birds in a row sitting outdoors .

Even your bird buddies get an itch they just have to scratch. Can long nails do more than satisfy that itchy spot?

There’s More to an Avian Pet Than Pretty Feathers

Head, shoulders, beak, and tail feathers make Polly pretty. Aside from your avian beauty’s good looks, there is a lot of care that goes into keeping pretty Polly healthy. Nail trims matter as much as diet, exercise, social time, and cage cleanliness.

Long Nails Spell Trouble for Avians

In the wild, nails wear down naturally as birds move around on the ground or perch on rough surfaces. In your house, many birds have a smooth perch and are not challenged to use their nails enough for wear. It’s up to you to keep those nails trimmed to a good length. What happens if nails grow too long?

  • It will be hard for your bird to hang on to a perch or comfortably move around
  • Their nails will get caught in clothing and household fabrics
  • They won’t be able to hold food properly
  • When they scratch an itch, they can deeply scratch their skin, leaving them susceptible to bacterial infections

Too Long, Too Short, What’s the Right Length for Polly’s Nails?

What is a good length for an avian’s nails? They should be trimmed just below the quick, the area that receives blood flow. If you cut them too short, the nails will bleed, so be careful!

Can I Trim My Bird’s Nails at Home?

Yes! You want to keep your bird’s nails trimmed to the right length at all times so learning how to trim your pet’s nails is important. Remember, the perfect nail length is just below (not above) the quick. Here are some tips on how to trim them:

  • First, wrap your bird in a towel to keep it from interfering with the trim
  • On dark-colored nails, you won’t be able to see the quick, so trim monthly and just take the tip of the nail
  • If your bird is still having trouble with its nails, trim a little more
  • Styptic powder works best to stop bleeding
  • Use a clipper on large nails, and a file on smaller birds

Keeping your bird’s nails trimmed to the right length will prevent the quick from expanding into a longer nail. The vein will grow, making it tough to trim Polly’s nails to a comfortable length.

Ask us about proper nail and beak care. Call (281) 337-4535 or use our information request form to learn more.

Can My Vet Do Nail Trims?

We will share our expertise with you on proper avian nail trims. If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, we will be happy to keep Polly’s nails in first-rate shape. We share tips on our blog for you on how to transport your bird to see us. Please call to schedule an appointment.

Meet Dr. Robin Scott, Our Avian Specialist

Dr. Scott is happy to partner with you in the care of your pet birds. With over 20 years of experience, she is well prepared to help you learn the best home health care practices for your feathered loved ones.

At Dickinson Animal Hospital & Pet Wellness Center, we care for all kinds of pets including avians and exotics. We encourage you to schedule regular wellness visits.

Our mission is to partner with you to provide excellent health care throughout the life of your pets. Our goal is to keep our pet families happy and healthy, so call us immediately if you are concerned about changes in your pet’s behavior.