creative in the ways he tries to avoid getting his toenails trimmed. Still, it is very important to make sure that your fox's nails are kept neat and trimmed.
Foxes walk on their toes, so long nails can make walking uncomfortable. Nails that get too long can splinter or break, which is extremely painful for the animal, and can cause profuse bleeding. Such open wounds are the perfect gateway for infection, and can cause serious illness. Worse, as the nail grows, so does the quick, so if the toenails are neglected for too long, it can become impossible to trim them back without hurting the fox further.
The easiest way to tell whether your fox's nails are getting to be a bit long is to walk him or her across a hard surface. If the nails touch the floor or make a noise as the fox walks, they are too long and need to be trimmed back.
One great way to keep nails filed down is to take your fox on frequent walks. Of course, this depends heavily on how social and at home in public your fox is, the temperament of your neighborhood in regards to pet foxes, and local laws. But for foxes and locales that will allow it, an hour-long walk on a concrete sidewalk each day is a wonderful way to keep nails filed down. To be effective, the walks must be of considerable length, and must be taken daily. For a long time, this was all the nail maintenance Gizmo required. And on top of the benefits to the nails, this is also a great way to exercise your fox (and yourself!) and to get rid of his or her excess energy.
Another possibility is to give your fox frequent access to rough material to dig in, such as a kiddie-pool full of gravel. Foxes are natural diggers, and are usually happy to make use of any digging material you provide for them. As always, be careful that your pet fox cannot dig out of their enclosure, and frequently check their paw-pads for any sign of wear and damage. If their paws seem cracked or raw, take away their digging spot until the damage heals, and replace it later with a less-abrasive material.
For many foxes, these two things used consistently are all that is needed to keep their toenails in good condition. However, sometimes they are not enough, and additional care is needed to keep the fox's toenails in good shape--sitting down and trimming the nails is necessary.
Wednesday I'll be covering tips and advice for clipping your pet fox's nails if they get a bit too long.