How to Cut Guinea Pig Nails: The Safest Vet Recommend Way

Guinea pigs have three and four toes on their hind and front feet respectively.

The nail of each foot tends to grow through their whole life without signs of stops gradually.

Therefore, nail trimming is an important task for any pet owner.

Guinea pig clipping nail

This job may be difficult at first due to a lack of experience.

However, if you do it more often, you can keep your little friend in shape without having to spend a lot of time.

So, how to cut guinea pig nails?

Follow some tips below!

Why do Guinea Pigs need Trimming?

You need to show most care to the guinea bedding and for nails.

A guinea pig’s nail will continue growing if there is no regular nail clipping.

In that case, you may risk having its nail curl into the foot pad.

This is a source of severe ailment and even leads to the rodent’s inability to use its foot.

The infected footpad can result in the development of pododermatitis or bumblefoot.

If left untreated, such bumblefoot may lead to the removal or infection of the limb.

Through regular trimming, pet owners can examine their guinea pigs’ foot pad to make sure there is no swelling.

In addition, the older a guinea pig becomes, the more brittle its nails are.

Breakage is unavoidable. If one nail breaks, the animal will suffer from acute pain.

Contrary to some people’s belief, they put a stone in their mind.

Each nail has a quick, or blood vessel. The guinea pig nail quick usually has a pink or red color.

Remember to cut nails below this blood vessel for the sake of your little friend’s safety.

However, some animals have dark nails, causing difficulty in detecting the quick.

Therefore, nail trimming needs to do in a different way. Go on reading to find out more.

How often should Guinea Pig Nails be Trimmed?

It is advisable that they are clipped on a monthly basis. If necessary, you can do it more often.

When the nails regrow, an indent where the last trimming stopped is visible.

Thus, you will find cutting guinea pig nails much easier next time.

Where can I get my Guinea Pig Nails Clipped?

If you are not sure about your skills, you can take your cavy to the vet’s clinic. He will do the trimming job in front of you so that you can practice yourself next time.

Another choice is to take it to a grooming salon. Many salons provide nail trimming on a walk-in basis.

Making an appointment is needless. Just bring proof of current rabies vaccination.

Full-package grooms usually include all-natural shampoo and conditioning treatment, nail trim, and ear cleaning.

You can buy a service like that. If it isn’t affordable, you can go for a nail trim only at a much lower cost. Normally, the price of nail trimming falls into the range of $10 and $20.

However, in the long run, you should learn to trim guinea pig nails yourself to save time and money.

Finding the Right Nail Clipper

When it comes to nail clipping, there are two types of clippers you can use.

Pet nail clipper

  • Human nail clippers: Due to their easy handling, such nail clippers are favored by a majority of pet owners. However, the nail can be flattened after trimming, so remember to cut any excess nail. Bear in mind that human nail clippers tend to squeeze the nail together, which may be painful for guinea pigs.
  • Small animal nail clippers: There is a groove coming along with blades to hold the nail. After cutting the nail, such guillotine-style clippers will produce a clean and nice finish. They are available at affordable price.

You can try both types first to see which one suits your pet better.

How to Clip Guinea Pigs Nails?

To clip guinea pig nails, you need to hold them still.

This is not always an easy task because your pets may not cooperate and try to escape from clippers.

With practice and patience, you can make the little rodent squirm less over time. It will get used to nail clipping as a regular routine.

In the first time of nail clipping, a helper to hold your pet may come in handy. As a result, you can safely cut its nails.

Although guinea pigs are wiggly, holding them is not so difficult. You can try one of these following ways.

How to hold guinea pigs?

  • Sit on the ground: Let’s place the pet on your lap with its face away from you. Its rump will lean against your stomach. By doing so can you keep it from backing up.
  • Hold properly: Lightly place your hand around the rodent’s chest so that it is in an upright and onto the position with its hind legs. It will turn its back to you. Let it on your lap or use your other hand to make sure its hind end is supported. Step by step, you will be able to hold one foreleg out while keeping its chest with one hand when placing it between your fingers.
  • Wrap up its body: In case the ways mentioned earlier don’t work, you can try wrapping up its body along with three legs in a light towel. Let one leg free for nail clipping. However, don’t wrap the rodent too tightly or else it may feel stressed and suffocated for breath. Take a break between to minimize chances of overheating.

Now, Let’s Do the Trimming!

When doing the trimming, it’s important that you cut the sharp tip off the nail without doing harm to the quick.

The nail will bleed once you cut into the quick, making your pet feel painful.

For guinea pigs with light nails, the quick as the pink part inside the nail is visible.

Where you should clip

Thus, you can easily cut in front of the quick and head for the end of the nail.

Don’t try to cut too near the quick. Otherwise, it may hurt your little friend.

For those with dark colored nails, you should make a guess where to cut for safety.

The nail shape may vary, but the nail tip is often narrow and seems hollow when being viewed from the bottom.

If you are not sure, the safest way is to cut about ¼ inch of the nail tip.

In case you aren’t confident enough to do the trimming yourself, you can resort to a groomer or veterinary team member.

Such people can make a good example for you to follow.

Regardless of your utmost care, accidentally cutting into the quick is inevitable.

In the worst scenarios, don’t panic upon seeing blood. Just calm down to handle the cut, which not so serious.

Let’s use simple methods to easily stop the bleeding.

Apply the styptic remedy to the bleeding nail tip. Despite stinging for a moment, such powders boast effectiveness in stopping the bleeding.

Flour or cornstarch can go on as a possible replacement.

Unless you can find these substances, let’s use ingredients available in your houses such as soap and beeswax. Try pressing the hurt nail into a jar of beeswax or a bar of soap. You can see wonders immediately.

Minor bleeding is much easier to handle. By creating pressure on the tip of the nail, blood will stop oozing out.

Before putting the animal to the cage, make sure that the bleeding has completely stopped. Or else, the hurt may develop into an infection.

Also, don’t forget to wipe off all the substances applied to its nail to prevent it from eating.

Along with regular trimming, a proper diet needs paying attention to.

Calcium is helpful in keeping nails and skin healthy. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you increase the content of calcium in your pet’s daily food.

A Tutorial on Guinea Nail Trimming

Gather supplies:

Prepare your guinea pig:

  1. Take your pet out of the cage. Slowly reach into the cage and use one hand to support its hindquarters while placing the other hand’s thumb under its jaw. As a result, it won’t be frightened and you are saved from being bitten.
  2. Carefully place the rodent on the towel. Be careful not to add too much force to wrap the animal. This may cause overheating or quick suffocation.
  3. Position the pet. Let it sit facing away from you to minimize chances of nipping or biting.
  4. Put the rodent at ease. Before start trimming, you can relax your little friend by gently petting its ear or offering some snacks.

Make sure the food is not available within its eyesight. Food can serve as an effective distractor to guinea pigs, but don’t make them tempted. In that case, you will run into more trouble cutting off their nails.

Carrots or bell peppers can be used as healthy snacks.

Conduct trimming:

  1. Choose a leg to do the very first trimming. Your pet may wiggle as a natural reaction. Just release its leg and wait for it to calm down. Then, you can do again.
  2. Keep its hind foot between your index finger and thumb. Don’t try to secure the nail too tightly. Otherwise, the rodent may squirm. There is a tip here. You should start from one end of the foot and continue to the outside or inside the foot. Therefore, you can have an easier track of trimmed nails.
  3. Use the other hand to pick up the nail clipper.
  4. Find the quick. It is colored pink or red in light nails.
  5. Trim the nail. Don’t risk cutting at or above the quick. Otherwise, it may hurt your lovely companion. In case you can’t spot the quick, be more careful and trim step by step. The nail will start bleeding if the quick is cut into. Quickly apply a small amount of styptic powder, flour, or cornstarch to the nail.
  6. Do the same with the front nails. If your pet reveals any signs of restlessness, let it calm down before finishing nail trimming. Reward it with a treat after trimming each nail as a means of distraction. Make sure you won’t start on the next nail until it has eaten up the food. Haste may cause it to choke on the treat.
  7. Put the guinea pig back in the cage. Don’t forget to wipe off all the styptic powder is applied. If this is the first time of nail trimming, don’t expect too much. Since the pet isn’t used to having its nails cut, it may wiggle too much. If the process doesn’t run smoothly, try cutting your guinea pig nails over several days rather than all at once.

How to Cut Guinea Pig Nails that are Black?

Black nails are more challenging in trimming than light ones. It is because the quick cannot be seen.

However, a USB light or an e-torch can be of great help. Shine either of them through the nail to detect the blood vessel.

For safety, don’t try cutting nails to fast. Just do a little bit at a time.

Only clip the end of the nail if you are still not sure about the location of the quick.

Are you up for the Guinea Nail Trimming Challenge?

Nail trimming may be a difficult experience for both pet owners and guinea pigs. Practice and patience will help you sharpen your skill day by day.

Just relax and don’t worry too much about cutting into the quick.

Keeping your little guinea pigs’ nails short is already a huge success. Make sure to do the trimming on a regular basis.

Hope that our guide on how to cut guinea pig nails has helped you through this apparently difficult task.

Definitely, These Guinea Pigs are also good for adopting

Better to look for water bottles for your guinea pig so that they can easily feed and drink, nowadays even hay feeders are popular, don’t miss to try it out.

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