Guinea pigs are fascinating pets, and their nails can keep growing, often causing them pain. But nail trimming can help ease their discomfort.
While wild guinea pigs generally lose the excess nail while hunting or moving around in the forest, the case is quite different for a guinea pig living in your house. These pets will need regular nail clipping to prevent the nails from overgrowing.
Now, guinea pigs can be fidgety and may keep trying to scurry away. Hence, we decided to pen down this guide to help you trim their nails in the easiest way possible.
Read on to know more!
How To Cut A Guinea Pig’s Nails
This process involves a few tools that you need to keep nearby before beginning. These are:
- Medium-sized towel
- Animal or human nail clippers
- Styptic powder
- Lettuce or grass
- A magnifying glass with a torch
Step 1: Using The Hand Towel
First, let your guinea pig curl up on a towel and feel comfortable. Take it out of the cage and wrap the towel around its body without tightening it. Remember that putting too much pressure will cause its body to heat up, making it uncomfortable.
Step 2: Give Guinea Pigs A Treat
You will need to provide positive reinforcement to keep your pet happy and calm. So, consider giving it a piece of lettuce or grass and let it munch on the snack. This will keep it distracted while you can focus on working with its nails.
Step 3: Position The Guinea Pig
Next, you will have to place the guinea pig correctly so that it cannot move out of position. Please keep it on your lap with its ramp against your tummy to do this.
Step 4: Pick A Leg
Once your pet is in position, you can hold one of its front feet and pull it out gently. In case the guinea pig starts wiggling, you can release the leg and allow it to relax. Once it is calm, you can start working again.
Step 5: Keeping The Hind Foot Nail In Place
You will need to hold the nail that needs to be cut between your index finger and thumb — but be careful not to press on the nail too much. If you do so, the guinea pig may start wiggling out of place again. When that happens, give it some time to relax and then restart the process.
Moving on, start from one end of the hand and slowly head towards the other end. You can hold the clipper in one hand and then keep it right before the nail. If the nail is not visible, use the magnifying lens and LED light for a better view.
Step 6: Trim The Nails
For guinea pigs with clear nails, you will have to identify the “quick”, which is generally the pink section of the nails.
When you begin cutting, make sure you are trimming the extended part of the nail and not the quick. Cut till just above this part, ensuring you don’t go beyond the tips.
We recommend not going too near the quick as you may hit a blood vessel, which is often painful and may lead to bleeding.
Also, between each nail, give the guinea pig some time to relax. Maintain a steady movement so that they are not scared and try to run away.
How to Handle Curled Nails
As guinea pigs’ nails keep growing, the blood supply levels also go up as they follow the nails. Hence, you might see bleeding if you suddenly cut the nails and hit the blood vessels.
And to push the blood vessels back, you will need to cut the nails little by little. Once it is back to its normal length, you can then go back to trimming once in three to four weeks.
How To Cut A Guinea Pig’s Dark Nails
For guinea pigs with black nails, it can be challenging to determine the location of the nail quick. Here, you can take the help of another person so as not to injure your tiny pet accidentally. That said, you can request a friend or a family member to keep the LED light below the nail so that you can see better.
Note that the nail tip will be the hollow and narrow part that can be seen with the LED light. If you have never trimmed its nails before, it is essential to remember this rule of thumb — cut only ¼ part of the tip.
If you are still not confident, it is best to take the guinea pig to a local pet store or an experienced groomer. You can then learn the process from them and try it yourself.
How To Prevent Accidents?
Accidents can happen at any point, and it is best to be prepared for them. But don’t panic, as your pet may sense the tension and become even more scared. Instead, use the styptic pencil to stop the blood flow in case of bleeding. You can apply the powder near the toenail skin and allow the bleeding to stop.
Then, apply some pressure on one nail that is hurting and push it into beeswax or soap. This will stop the bleeding almost immediately.
If that does not do the trick and there are open wounds, you must consult a doctor immediately. The guinea pig may have sore hind feet for a few days, but the doctor will look into it.
Guinea Pig Nail Trimming
Trimming its nails once a month will keep your guinea pig happy and free from unnecessary pain. But, before doing so, you must remember only to use small animal nail clippers. Be patient during the process and maintain a slow and steady movement. Soon enough, you will build up enough confidence to do it effortlessly.
And if the first time does not go well, do not give up and stop trimming entirely. Ignoring proper and regular care could lead to overgrown nails, becoming infected and developing into sore feet. If all fails, you can always go to a professional groomer for help.
If you need help finding guinea pig equipment, housing, food, or toys, please contact our team or check out our Planet Pet store. We have a broad selection of items available for your little companion!
We hope you have a safe experience. Take care!