Guinea pigs nails grow continuously, just like humans. Their toenails file down naturally in the wild, but they dont get the same opportunity when domesticated. For this reason, guinea pigs require regular nail cutting to save them from the pain and discomfort overgrown and curled nails cause.
Overgrown and twisted nail tips can cause open wounds on the feet and damage your pets skin. The infected footpad can develop pododermatitis (bumblefoot) or inflammation that progresses to osteoarthritis or osteomyelitis (conditions with a poor prognosis).
The quick is a delicate red blood vessel that runs through the nail and can make your pet bleed out if you accidentally clip it. However, if you shine a USB light or a torch through the nail, and youll see the blood vessel more clearly. These clippers usually have a rounded groove in the blades that can hold the nail and give it a refined, clean finish after cutting.
Animal or human nail clippers Styptic powder or Cornflour (in case of bleeding when you accidentally cut the quick) Hand towel Magnifying glasses with LED lights or torch Lettuce, grass, or your pets favorite food Therefore, ensure your piggys favorite healthy snack is available, as it will help distract your pet while you go on trimming. The best way to do it is by sitting on the ground and place the piggy on your lap, facing away from you while the ramp is against your stomach.
Use the hand holding the piggys legs to steady the nail between the thumb and the index finger. Proceed with trimming the other nails and give your pet time to cool off if it is restless during the session. If your piggys nails are black, it can be virtually impossible to locate the quick, making it a little disturbing.
Regular cutting sessions can help you guess where its safe to clip based on the nails shape, although you must be sure and confident. Ideally, you can ask a groomer, a vet team member, or an experienced guinea pig parent for help before you attempt it yourself. Clipping a little more often will help you cut to the standard length with the blood vessels shrunk back.
Even the most careful and experienced guinea pig parents have accidentally cut into the quick and caused it to bleed at one point. If it becomes sore and wont stop bleeding, consult your family vet for alternative advice. However, a little patience and regular trimming will help build confidence and make it easier for you and your pet.
But, do not at any point panic and leave the nail to grow as itll make your pet suffer, get infected, and develop sore feet. Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway.
Are you supposed to trim guinea pig nails?
Guinea pigs require regular nail trimming. The frequency can vary among animals but should occur once a month at a minimum. Clipping nails more often will help to create a routine and prevent the quick, or blood supply at the center of the nail, from growing closer to the tip.
What happens if you don't trim your guinea pigs nails?
If you don’t cut a guinea pig’s nails what can happen is their nails will start to curl up and they won’t be able to do some of their normal activities and can also sustain injuries if they’re left uncut for too long. So because of that, it’s always a good idea to make sure that their nails are kept at a decent level.
Can you cut guinea pig's nails with nail clippers?
Nail Clipping. You can use human nail clippers or nail clippers designed for cats and other small animals. … Aim to clip your guinea pig’s nails at least once a month, although you can do it more often if necessary.
When should I cut my guinea pig's nails?
Trimming your piggies nails should start when they are about two months old. Their small size usually dictates the need for a second person – one to hold firmly and one to trim.
– Gather your supplies. First, youll need a nail clipper. You can use a nail clipper for humans or one designed for cats or small animals. Second, youll need styptic powder. The powder quickly stops bleeding in case you cut the nail too short.
Guinea pig toenails grow constantly. Some grow straighter while others have a tendency to curl and lie to one side. Very young guinea pig‘s nails are short and sharp. Early clippings help blunt their sharp nails. As a guinea pig ages, their nails become more brittle and grow more irregularly. Guinea pigs kept as pets generally require nail clipping, as their nails do not receive enough wear to keep them at the proper length. Some people put a stone or brick in their pet’s cage in the hope that it will wear down the nails so trimming is unnecessary. However, this is generally not effective and all guinea pigs seem to require regular trims. A very few pigs will chew on their hind nails.
It does not open as wide as the adjacent guillotine style clipper, though some pet owners prefer them. With dark nails, some people claim shining a bright light from underneath will help you locate where the quick is so you can avoid clipping too short.
In fact, I take my piggies to the Vet on a monthly basis to “escape” this stressful pastime! If the nails are left for extended periods of time without attention, the bloodline advances closer to the tip. In the event you do trim the nail too short and cut through the bloodline, take a deep breath.
She places her pointer finger between the front legs and under the chin to prevent the pig from biting. In this thread , Quiet Wren shows how she clips her guinea pigs’ nails. Quiet Wren mentions she uses a pretty relaxed hold and uses a human nail clippers.
LS in AK writes, “I’ve found that a few carefully selected treats shoved in piggy mouths at strategic times (ie when chisel teeth need something more useful to do than aim for my fingers) helps make nail clipping easier, especially when you have a nippy pig.
Despite their common name, guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus), are not really pigs at all. They are a species of rodents belonging to the family Caviidae, and their scientific name porcellus is Latin for little pig.2 These animals have been involved in biological experimentation since the 17th century.3 Their use as a model organism in the 19th and 20th centuries resulted in the epithet guinea pig for a test subject. Guinea pigs have been largely replaced by other rodents, such as mice and rats,3 but they are still used in research, primarily as models for human medical conditions such as juvenile diabetes, tuberculosis, scurvy, and pregnancy complications. Guinea pigs are generally docile and seldom bite; however, they are easily frightened and will try to avoid capture or being held.
Guinea pigs have been largely replaced by other rodents, such as mice and rats, 3 but they are still used in research, primarily as models for human medical conditions such as juvenile diabetes, tuberculosis, scurvy, and pregnancy complications. 1 The inflammation associated with this condition can progress to osteoarthritis and, in rare cases, osteomyelitis, which has a poor prognosis in guinea pigs.
Its toes will automatically spread open when you hold it this way, which aids in getting the nails trimmed quickly and is less stressful on the animal as well as you. Before returning the animal to its home cage, check all toenails for any signs of bleeding and apply the styptic pencil or clotting powder if necessary.
Best Clippers for Cutting Guinea Pig Nails
There are two types of nail clippers you can use:
Small Animal Nail Clipper
You can use clippers especially made for clipping your piggy’s nails. These clippers usually have a rounded groove in the blades that can hold the nail and give it a refined, clean finish after cutting.Examples of small animal nail clippers you can use include Kaytee Small Animal Pro-Nail Trimmer, Babyliss Pro Pet Nail Clipper, and Hertzko Angled Blade.
Human Nail Clipper
If the pet-designated clipper does not have enough gap to accommodate your pet’s nails, you can opt for a human clipper with an extra gap. However, these clippers may flatten the nails, so be sure to trim away the excess nail when using them.You may find that young piggies have much softer and delicate nails than older guinea pigs because the nails harden and thicken with age. Similarly, nails on the hind limbs tend to be thicker than the front ones. You can use human toenail clippers for thicker nails.Examples of human nail clippers you can use include HAWATOUR Nail Clippers, FIXBODY Nail Clippers, and QOOQI Nail Clippers.
Relax Your Pet
Remember, most guinea pigs are the happiest when munching on their favorite food. Therefore, ensure your piggy’s favorite healthy snack is available, as it will help distract your pet while you go on trimming.
Position the Pet in Your Lap
The hardest part about nail cutting is getting your guinea pig to hold still. The best way to do it is by sitting on the ground and place the piggy on your lap, facing away from you while the ramp is against your stomach. It’ll help prevent it from backing up.
Choose a Leg
Hold your pet upright and choose a leg to trim, and gently pull it out. If the piggy wiggles during this process, release the leg and allow it to calm down before you gently proceed.
Secure one of the Nails
Use the hand holding the piggy’s legs to steady the nail between the thumb and the index finger. However, do not squeeze too tight to keep the nail in place, or it may make your pet squirm.Select the nail starting from one end of the foot as you work your way from the inside to the other end. It’ll help you keep count of the nails you’ve clipped.Then, pick up the clippers with your other hand and position them in front of the nail you want to trim. Identify the nail’s quick-it’ll be easier to locate on a clear nail than on a black nail. But, a magnifying glass and an LED light can help with that.
Trim the Nail
If your guinea pig has clear nails, you’ll see the quick as the pink part inside the nail. If you can locate the quick, the trick is to cut the extended tip off the nail without getting into the quick. Ensure you are at the right angle; trim the nail just above the quick, towards the nail’s end.Avoid trimming too close to the quick as it’ll be painful for your piggy. Worse still, if you cut the quick, you risk your pig bleeding out.Proceed with trimming the other nails and give your pet time to cool off if it is restless during the session. A treat after each nail clipping can provide positive reinforcement and offer some distraction.
How to Cut Black Guinea Pig Nails
If your piggy’s nails are black, it can be virtually impossible to locate the quick, making it a little disturbing.Therefore, it would be best to ensure you have extra lighting or additional LED lighting to help. You can also ask someone to help shine the light from beneath the nail for you to see clearly.Regular cutting sessions can help you guess where it’s safe to clip based on the nail’s shape, although you must be sure and confident. The nail’s tip is usually narrow and appears nearly hollow when you view it from the bottom.The golden rule of thumb is to clip off about 1/4 inch of the nail tip. Ideally, you can ask a groomer, a vet team member, or an experienced guinea pig parent for help before you attempt it yourself.
How to Cut Curled or Overgrown Nails
As your piggy’s nail continues elongating, the blood supply levels also increase because they follow the nails down. So, if you go ahead and cut the nail to the standard length at once, it’ll bleed.It’ll be helpful to clip the nails bit by bit every few days to make the blood vessels move back. Clipping a little more often will help you cut to the standard length with the blood vessels shrunk back.You can now start clipping every 2-4 weeks onwards.
After 12 years you’d think I’d have this nail trimming thing down to a fine science — not even close! In fact, I take my piggies to the Vet on a monthly basis to “escape” this stressful pastime!I may be a “weenie” but it doesn’t mean you have to follow in my footsteps. Nail trimming can be done at home and here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.Trimming your piggies nails should start when they are about two months old. Their small size usually dictates the need for a second person – one to hold firmly and one to trim. Little piggie teeth are very sharp so be prepared and perform the procedure in a location where you can put the piggie down quickly to tend to a wound or two!I recommend a set of baby sized nail clippers to begin (in proportion to tiny little nails) and trim a little bit off each nail in the beginning. Some piggies have clear nails and you will be able to easily see the blood line, others it may not be visible and you will have to guess. As your piggie gets older, you can switch to adult nail clippers or get a set of the scissors nail trimmers available in your local pet store.If there’s a golden rule to piggie nail trimming, it’s probably frequency. If the nails are left for extended periods of time without attention, the bloodline advances closer to the tip. However, by trimming the nails more frequently, the bloodline miraculously recedes. Every 30 days seems to be a good average.In the event you do trim the nail too short and cut through the bloodline, take a deep breath. You haven’t mortally wounded your little friend! It’s always a good idea to have a “styptic pencil” handy (available in the men’s shaving area of your local drug store) or aluminum sulfate power (also from the drug store). Touch the end of the bleeding nail with the pencil or the powder and the bleeding will stop immediately (yes there is a little discomfort to your piggie so be strong).As your piggie gets older you may stick to the two person format, but many owners have been successful using a nice big piece of carrot or another favorite food to distract piggie while getting the job done. Some even find it best to complete the task over a couple of days.Whatever method you find works best for you, stay calm and focused and everything will turn out fine!As a footnote, there are some owners who puts rocks and bricks etc. in their piggies cages to wear down their nails . . . maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but I don’t think anything beats a good nail trimming routine!
Heather’s Handy Pig Hold
Heather, an experienced nail clipper, uses the following holds to clip the nails on her pigs’ feet. She places her pointer finger between the front legs and under the chin to prevent the pig from biting.