Do not cut the blood vessel inside each paw. Rabbits have blood vessels inside their claws like cats and dogs. If you clip too quickly, your rabbit will be sore and bleed profusely, so you should know where the blood vessel is before you start clipping the nails. It is a red or black spot inside the nail bed.
If your rabbit has white or clear nails, you should be able to find the blood vessel without too much trouble. The blood vessel can be red or pink, so cut the white part of the nail over the red area.
If the rabbit has dark colored nails, point a lamp at the nails to find the blood vessel. It should be a clear dark spot inside the transparent nail. You can record the location of the vessels, and just clip the nail over this area.
If you can’t find the blood vessel, you can estimate its location by touching the claw. Pick a location about halfway under the claw, and use the end of the nipper to press down firmly. If your rabbit tries to pull its claws or resist, you are probably putting pressure on the blood vessel. Try again a little further into the area. If the rabbit does not react, then it is safe for you to clip it from this point.
Trim the edge of each claw, it’s better to keep it small, clipping regularly is better than cutting too much at once as the nails grow long. Trim your rabbit’s nails at 4 to 6 weeks old, depending on how fast they grow.
Cut the claws. Make sure the rabbit is well leashed. Start with the front nails, push the fur away from the paw, locate the blood vessel and then mark the cut. Cut quickly and precisely, with minimal movement. Cut off the white or transparent edge of each paw, well above the blood vessel. Before clipping, apply light pressure as a “snipping test”, if the rabbit sticks its claws away, this is a good chance that you were about to cut the blood vessel
You may need to turn your rabbit over on its back to trim its back claws. Do this very carefully so as not to injure or upset the rabbit. Highly mobile rabbits do not need to have their hind nails trimmed, as they naturally lose their nails through jumping, digging and general activity.
Remember to clip the relict claw on all of the front claws. If the relic claw grows too long, it can get stuck in something and hurt the rabbit.
Repeat the process for each nail. Find the blood vessel and cut each claw’s fingernail to the finish. Be prudent and take your time. Take a break between his feet if the rabbit is resisting or the procedure is taking some time. It is important if you are using a towel to restrain him that you expose the rabbit for a few minutes to keep him from getting too hot. You can use a reward to make your rabbit more comfortable.
Use a bleeding-stopping powder on your rabbit’s nails if necessary. Mistakes can happen, even if you did your best to locate the blood vessel in the nail. Rabbits are prone to sudden movements and can snip more than planned. Don’t worry, act quickly and calmly and the cut will heal.