How to File a Pet Squirrel Nails
If you’re worried about your pet squirrel’s nails, here are some tips for handling and trimming them. In the wild, squirrels do not trim their nails because they keep them manageable through their daily activities. Because their natural habitat is full of rough materials, squirrels walk on them, grip trees, and dig for food, which wears down their nails. When your pet squirrel grows too long, you can cut its nails with a cuticle trimmer.
Taking a pet squirrel to a licensed rehabilitator or vet
Filing the pet squirrel’s nails is not the same as taking it to a veterinarian. A licensed vet will know what to do, and will know exactly what to give your squirrel to make it healthy again. It is also important to be aware of the legalities surrounding the use of medications for wildlife. Some veterinarians are more lenient than others when it comes to prescribing medications to pets. If you’re uncertain whether a particular medication is legal in your area, contact a wildlife rescue for assistance.
Unlike other pets, squirrels are protected species. Many states have laws prohibiting the ownership of wild animals. In the UK, red squirrels are protected by law, but grey squirrels are considered invasive species and must be killed humanely. Even if your state allows the ownership of captive-bred squirrels, contacting a wildlife rescue center is essential to get legal approval for your pet squirrel.
Using a cuticle trimmer on younger squirrels
A cuticle trimmer is a handy tool for cutting the overgrown claws of young squirrels. Younger squirrels can be particularly sensitive to the tool, which is why it is important to use gloves and a towel when trimming them. It is important to remember that squirrel teeth do not have nerves like human hair or nails, so you must be gentle with them. In any case, it is better to leave the task to a vet or trained wildlife rehabilitator.
Squirrels have small teeth, so trim their lower and upper incisors to about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch below the gumline. However, it can be difficult to trim the teeth of a young squirrel. Nevertheless, this is a very important task. The squirrel’s incisors may grow in a different position, so be gentle when trimming them.
Checking for dehydration in baby squirrels
You can check for dehydration in a baby squirrel by performing a skin turgor test. Pinching the skin of the squirrel will determine its level of dehydration. A newborn squirrel’s or bat’s skin will stand up when pinched. The skin’s eyes and nose will also show signs of dehydration. You may not treat dehydration in a bird, but you can help it get back to normal by administering warm water.
A dehydrated baby squirrel may have a non-formed bowel movement or diarrhea. This may be a result of formula transition, too frequent feedings, or overextended digestive tract. If you notice these symptoms, it’s time to take the baby squirrel to the veterinarian. If it still doesn’t pee, you’ll need to provide additional fluids and consult a vet. In rare cases, the baby may be dehydrated.
Checking for infected bites
There are many reasons why you should check for infected bites when filing the nails of your pet squirrel. The most common is because your pet squirrel has been bitten by another animal, such as a dog. While the bite may appear clean, the bacteria that live on the squirrel’s body can spread into the wound, causing serious complications. If you don’t immediately take care of the bite, you may end up exposing your squirrel to rabies.
Fortunately, many squirrels are generally healthy and hardy, so you shouldn’t worry about infected bites. But if you notice your squirrel is showing signs of illness, it’s a good idea to take it to the veterinarian for further diagnosis. Look for signs of pain or a rash, as well as hunching over or chewing on a limb. Additionally, check for signs of other possible infections, such as viral or parasitic infection.
Providing things for a squirrel to chew on
Squirrels need to chew on a variety of items to prevent teeth decay. These objects include tree branches, antlers, and walnut-sized rocks. Some of these items contain trace minerals. A cuttlebone provides calcium, and should be hung on a cage side. Avoid feeding your pet food, snacks, or treats that contain artificial sweeteners or preservatives. In addition, avoid introducing new foods or treats until your squirrel is used to them.
It is important to provide chewing material for your pet to maintain its dental health. Squirrels gnaw on things to wear down their teeth and to help them develop their own dentition. They also play an important role in forest ecosystems. A squirrel’s diet includes several different kinds of nuts, and they must chew on a variety of these objects to ensure their teeth are kept as clean as possible.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.