Guinea pig hooves grow continuously, just like humans. Their toenails descend naturally in the wild, but they don’t get the same opportunity when tamed. For this reason, guinea pigs need regular nail trimming to save them from the pain and discomfort caused by overgrown and curled nails.
But as you know, these pets often squirm a little each time their nails are trimmed, and it would be best if you learn how to care for their nails so that the experience is as painless and as smooth as possible.
How Often Should You Trim Your Guinea Pig’s Nails?
One thing for sure is that these pets need regular pruning, it’s just that the frequency varies between the animals. It’s a good idea to trim your nails at least once a month or every two weeks. Trimming your piggy bank nails more often will help develop a routine and stop the “quick” or blood supply in the center of the nail from getting any closer to the tip.
If the tips grow, the nails tend to curl into the footbed, making it very challenging. Overgrown and twisted nail tips can cause open sores on your feet and damage your pet’s skin. Infected footpads can develop pododermatitis (bumblefoot) or inflammation that progresses to osteoarthritis or osteomyelitis (a condition with a poor prognosis).
What are “Quick” Hoofs in Guinea Pigs?
If you’re a pig parent, you understand how “quick” thinking during hoof trimming can make you nervous. Quicks are fine red veins that run through the nails and can make your pet bleed if you accidentally cut them.
You can avoid such accidents by pruning regularly because the more often you trim, the faster it “quickly” shrinks back, making the next cutting session easier and less stressful. And if your pig has black hooves, it can be difficult to find a “quick” when trimming the hoof.
However, if you shine a USB light or flashlight through your fingernail, you will see the veins more clearly. Remember, it’s best to only trim the tips of the nails if you’re in doubt.
The Best Scissors for Trimming Guinea Pigs Nails
There are two types of nail clippers you can use:
1. Small Animal Nail Clipper
You can use specially made scissors to trim your piggy bank’s nails. These cutters usually have rounded grooves on the blade that can hold the nail and give a smooth, clean finish after cutting.
Examples of small animal nail clippers that you can use include the Kaytee Small Animal Pro-Nail Trimmer, Babyliss Pro Pet Nail Clipper, and Hertzko Angled Blade.
2. Human Nail Clippers
If your pet-designated scissors don’t have enough slits to accommodate your pet’s nails, you can opt for human clippers with an extra slit. However, these scissors can flatten nails, so be sure to trim off excess nails when using them.
You may find that young guinea pigs have nails that are much softer and smoother than older guinea pigs because their nails harden and thicken with age. Similarly, the nails on the hind limbs tend to be thicker than those on the front. You can use human toenail clippers for thicker nails.
Examples of human nail clippers that you can use include HAWATOUR Nail Clippers, FIXBODY Nail Clippers, and QOOQI Nail Clippers.
The Safest & Easiest Way To Trim Guinea Pig Nails
There are several methods for trimming your piggy bank’s nails. Here’s one way to do it.
What do you need
Animal or human nail clippers
Bleeding powder or Corn Flour (if it bleeds when you accidentally cut your fast)
Magnifying glasses with LED light or torch
Lettuce, grass or your pet’s favorite food
6 Steps How to Trim Nails
1. Wrap Your Guinea Pig in a Hand Towel
Carefully place your piggy bank on a hand towel and wrap the towel around it. Make sure the towels are not too tight; You may suffocate or overheat him.
2. Relax Your Pets
Remember, most guinea pigs are happiest when they chew their favorite food. Therefore, make sure your pig’s favorite healthy treat is available, as this will help distract your pet while you are trimming.
3. Place Pets on Your Lap
The hardest part about clipping nails is keeping your guinea pig immobile. The best way to do this is to sit on the ground and place the piggy on your lap, facing away from you while the incline is against your belly. This will help prevent it from backing up.
4. Choose Feet
Hold your pet upright and choose a leg to trim, and gently pull it out. If the piggy wiggles during this process, remove the paw and allow it to cool down before you continue gently.
5. Secure one of the Nails
Use the hand holding the pig’s leg to hold the nail between the thumb and index finger. However, don’t squeeze too tightly to keep the nails in place, as this can make your pet squirm.
Pick a nail starting from one toe as you work your way from the inside to the other. This will help you count the number of nails you have trimmed.
Then, take the scissors with your other hand and position them in front of the nail you want to trim. Quickly identify nails – they are easier to find on clear nails than on black nails. However, a magnifying glass and LED light can help.
6. Nail Cut
If your guinea pig has clear nails, you’ll see the quick as a pink patch inside the nail. If you can find a quick, the trick is to trim the tip of the nail that extends without going into the quick. Make sure you’re at the right angle; Cut the nail just above the quick, towards the tip of the nail.
Avoid cutting too close to the quick as it will be painful for your piggy. Worse, if you cut fast, you run the risk of getting your pig out.
Continue with another nail clipping and give your pet time to cool off if he’s agitated during the session. Treatment after each nail clipping can provide positive reinforcement and offer some distraction.
How to Trim Black Guinea Pig’s Hoofs
If your piggy bank’s nails are black, it’s almost impossible to find the quick, so it’s a little annoying.
Therefore, it would be best to make sure you have additional lighting or additional LED lighting to help. You can also ask someone to help shine a light from under your fingernail so you can see clearly.
Regular trimming sessions can help you guess where it’s safe to cut based on the shape of your nails, although you need to be confident and confident. The tips of the nails are usually narrow and appear almost hollow when viewed from below.
The rule of thumb is to trim about 1/4 inch from the tip of the nail. Ideally, you can enlist the help of an experienced groomer, member of the vet team, or mother guinea pig before you try it yourself.
How to Cut Curly Nails or Grow Big
As your piggy bank’s nails continue to lengthen, the level of blood supply also increases as it follows the nail downwards. So if you go ahead and trim your standard length nails all at once, it’s going to bleed.
It can be helpful to trim the nails a little at a time every few days to get the blood vessels moving again. Cutting a little more often will help you cut to a standard length with the veins shrinking back.
You can now start mowing every 2-4 weeks onwards.
Even the most careful and experienced mother guinea pig accidentally cuts a quick and causes it to bleed at one point. If you do, don’t panic because, even if your pet is bleeding and injured at the time, it’s not dangerous.
You can stop the bleeding using these techniques:
Blood stalks using styptic powder. Apply blood-tinged powder or cornstarch on the bleeding tips of the nails. This powder may hurt for a moment but is very effective at stemming the bleeding.
You can also press the sore nail into a bar of soap, beeswax, or simply press the tip of the nail if it bleeds lightly.
Overall, you should make sure the bleeding has stopped before placing your pet back in its cave. If it becomes sick and does not stop bleeding, consult your family veterinarian for alternative suggestions.
Take it home
Trimming nails can be tricky for even the most experienced guinea pig owner. However, a little patience and regular pruning will help build confidence and make things easier for you and your pet.
However, don’t panic and let the nails grow as this will make your pet suffer, become infected, and experience foot pain. So if you accidentally make a quick cut or find the process too worrisome, find a professional to help you every month.
Featured Image: Dmytro Vietrov, Shutterstock