7 Ways to Trim Gerbil Nails

Gerbils nails will continuously grow throughout their lifetime. If left unattended, your gerbil’s nails can end up growing too much and it will start to hurt their feet.

Once their nails get too long it can start to injure them slowly and affect their everyday activities like running on the wheel.

So, if you notice that your gerbil’s nails start to curve or grow inward, then it may be time to look into ways to trim their nails.

So how can you keep your gerbil’s nails trimmed? There are many ways that you can trim your gerbil’s nails including sandpaper, toys, nail clippers, stones, and some sticks.

Let’s take a look at these items and how it can help keep your gerbil’s nails trimmed.

Trimming Down Gerbil Nails

When it comes to keeping your gerbil’s nails short and neat, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Most options you have are actually really cheap, and it’s usually something that your gerbils like to play with and are used to having.

You won’t have to worry about teaching them how to use most of these options because they mainly come naturally to them.

Using Sticks

Some of the gerbils’ favorite things to play with on a daily basis can inadvertently trim their nails.

Things like sticks and small branches can be used to wear down the nails of your gerbils without much interaction on your part.

Just by leaving small to medium sized sticks in their cage will cause your gerbils to wear down their nails each time they play or move it.

Be careful to only use sticks and branches from trees that have not been sprayed with any chemicals or things of the like, this is best for the gerbil’s health.

Using Stones

Using small stones or bricks will also wear down your gerbil’s nails over time.

Each time they climb and walk on the bricks or stones they will be slowly filing down their nails.

This can be really fun for your gerbil to play with, but remember to make sure they are not trying to chew on the stones or bricks because this will start to injure their teeth in the long term.

Using Wooden Toys

One thing gerbils should usually have in their cages are wooden toys. Wooden toys give the gerbils something to play with when you aren’t currently engaged with them.

They will spend some of their time moving the wooden toys around the cage if they can, and they will even spend time chewing on it.

While your pet gerbils are having fun playing with their wooden toys they again will be unintentionally wearing down their nails.

These wooden toys can range from the generic small wooden strips to elaborate jungle gyms where they can slip in and out of and climb.

If you buy wooden toys at the store they should already be safe for gerbils, but make sure to only get the ones specifically for rodents.

Any other wooden toys for different animals may be treated with various chemicals that might be harmful to your pet gerbil.

Using Wooden Blocks

Wooden blocks can also be another way for your gerbils to inadvertently wear down their nails.

Just like the wooden toys, gerbils will likely climb on top of the wooden blocks just out of curiosity.

Wooden blocks are one of the slower ways that will file their nails down because of the flat surface of the block.

Gerbils may use the blocks to climb on and wear their nails down initially, but over time may lose interest in them because wooden blocks are quite dull to play with for them.

Using Nail Clippers

The next option is by using nail clippers. This way is the least recommended and usually for experienced gerbil pet owners.

If you want to trim your gerbil’s nails with clippers make sure that your gerbil is in a calm and relaxed state and always stop if they get too jumpy and stressed.

While you or a second person holds the gerbil, you can start to cut the gerbils nails.

Make sure to only cut off small portions of the gerbil’s nails at a time so that you don’t accidentally snip a blood vessel.

Only cut the nails so that they are no longer curving inward, any more and it may cause discomfort to your gerbil.

Keeping Gerbils Nails Trim With Sandpaper

Gerbils love to scratch at any and all surfaces, it’s totally natural for them to do this.

I’m sure you’ve seen your gerbils scratching at the floor or digging in a corner. They’re either trying to dig or they’re trying to file their nails down.

Either way, they like it and do it often. It’s actually perfect that they do because it makes it easier for us to keep their nails filed down.

Using Sandpaper Mats

Like I said they love to scratch at stuff, that’s why putting sandpaper down on the floor for them to scratch at is such a good idea.

Your pet gerbils will naturally gravitate toward the new material out of curiosity and start to scratch at it.

Once they start to scratch at the sandpaper, it will start to do a really good job of filing down their nails.

This is one of the faster processes of wearing down your gerbil’s nails so be sure that they aren’t spending too much time scratching it.

If they spend too much time scratching the sandpaper it could leave their feet raw so you may want to take out the sandpaper periodically.

It’s best to find a corner to put the sandpaper down in so that they are not always walking on it, and they can go over to the sandpaper when they choose to.

Also, you may want to weigh the sandpaper down so that they don’t accidentally flip it over.

Using the Sandy Track Attachment

The Sandy Track is an attachment for the Silent Runner wheel and is a great way to file your gerbil’s nails down.

This is more of a specialty item that you can purchase and it’s easily attachable by pulling the original track out and replacing it.

Over time, your gerbils will file down their nails as they enjoy one of their favorite activities.

The sandpaper in the wheels is not that rough so you usually don’t have to worry about your gerbil’s feet getting too raw while running. Even so, you still want to check them periodically to be safe.

Sandpaper running wheels are by far the best option when it comes to keeping your gerbil’s nails short and out of their way.

Trying Each Option Out

If you’re still not sure which option is best, you can try them all to see which one you like more.

If they all seem to work the same then see which options your gerbils like best.

Once you start to notice your gerbils preferences then you can start to switch the options out periodically to refresh their interests in them.

The most cost effective options for trimming your gerbil’s nails are the sticks, stones, and sandpaper floors. Next, are the store bought nail clippers, wooden toys, and blocks.

Lastly, are the not so expensive, but still the most expensive option on this list, the sandpaper running wheels.

Always Take Precaution

Always make sure to take precautions when using any of these methods to cut or file down your gerbil’s nails.

When using any kind of wood, make sure that it is safe for gerbils to scratch and chew on. Usually, store bought wooden toys are safe but do your research to be sure.

If you want to try to use stones or bricks, make sure you watch to see if your gerbils are trying to chew on them.

If you see them doing this then take the stones and bricks out so they don’t hurt their teeth.

While using sandpaper floors and wheels, regularly check their feet to see if it’s starting to get raw. You can take the sandpaper out periodically to try to prevent this.

If you want to trim your gerbil’s nails with nail clippers be sure to only trim the amount they need.

Watch them and be sure to stop if you see any signs of stress or if they want to be let go.

Your gerbils will be comfortable and able to play around a lot more with nicely groomed nails. If you try any of these options and do them safely, your gerbils will remain healthy and be happier!


Hi, I'm Mason, I've kept small animals as pets since I was 8 years old. I love to learn and talk about them basically every day. Over the years I've adopted small pets like hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs.

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