How To Clip Guinea Pig Nails

You may wonder if guinea pig’s nails need to be cut. Of course, yes, nail trimming is necessary when caring for these fluffy pets. It’s part of grooming your guinea pig.

If you have not trimmed your piggy before, now you know you need to do it. Guinea pig’s nails grow endlessly. A piggy in contact with stone or earth lots of the time will naturally wear down its nails.

But for guinea pigs that are frequently indoor, there is nothing to wear their nails down; hence, regular clipping is necessary. Clipping your piggy may seem a formidable task, but it isn’t. You can do it even by yourself.

Read through the article to get some advice about how to quickly and effectively trim your guinea pig nails.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

How to Clip Guinea Pig Nails

How to Clip Guinea Pig Nails

Because your guinea pig nails never stop growing, the nails may become too long without trimming. Long nails will get disorientated or cause discomfort to the pet.

Some caretakers fear they will make their friend piggies bleed if they trim them themselves. But you can do the task at home if you have experience.

A frequent visit to the vet for nail clipping may be a bit expensive, and that’s why most people prefer to do it at home. Only ensure you have the right tools and a support person.

However, if you haven’t trimmed piggy nails before and lack support, too, you may want to seek help from a vet or pet groomer.

Also, if money isn’t a problem for you and you don’t have much time, using the available service would be a good choice.

Where to Get Your Guinea Pig Nails Clipped?

Where to Get Your Guinea Pig Nails Clipped?

If you wish to have your guinea pig nails trimmed and you’re unable to do the service, you can take it to a specialist pet groomer or local veterinarian.

Both can safely give a quality service. It’s worth analyzing the pros and cons of hiring a vet or pet groomer to know who suits you the best.

Pros of a Vet Clipping Your Guinea Pig’s Nails

While someone may consider professional grooming to be expensive and a luxury, a couple of benefits are involved that make it a prudent decision. If a vet performs the service of nail trimming, he will;

  • Pay attention to signs of a health issue. Sometimes it could be early detection, and an early treatment begins immediately.
  • Be cautious to avoid any medical problems with the nails.
  • The vet is experienced in handling guinea pigs with various issues and knows how to restrain them during nail trimming. Note that some pigs are fearful or aggressive.
  • Vets have special tools for a nail trim, plus other grooming practices. Your pet may require more than one service.

Cons

  • Sometimes the vet may not be available when you need him.
  • The charges for grooming may not be affordable to all caretakers. Only those with a lot of money may be privileged.

Visiting a specialist pet groomer is also a wise choice. They will help to keep your animal pet’s nails in control. Below are some pros and cons of hiring a specialist pet groomer to nail trim your guinea pig.

Pros

  • Offers premium services- the mess and stress associated with nail trimming are reduced.
  • Mobile groomers can visit your home, as specified by you, for grooming services, hence, saves you time.
  • Professional guinea pig groomers are experienced in handling an irritated or frightened guinea pig. They can soothe and calm them down.
  • Focus on various grooming services, including nail trim, brushing, and bathing the pig.

Cons

  • Finding an experienced and registered guinea pig groomer can be more challenging, especially if unavailable in your local area.
  • Specialist pet groomers may charge generally higher than a veterinarian.
  • Getting the service from a nonprofessional may expose the pet to injuries, e.g., cutting the vein inside nails (called the quick).

How Much Will You Spend to Get a Guinea Pig’s Nails Clipped?

How Much Will You Spend to Get a Guinea Pig’s Nails Clipped?

When it comes to guinea pigs’ nail trimming, you may want to do it yourself, use the services from a vet or a pet groomer. Your decision will depend on your time, budget, and comfort with nail trimming your pet.

If you take your guinea pig to a veterinarian to get its nails cut, the prices may vary depending on the vet in question and whether you have health pet insurance.

Ideally, the cost for a vet to perform a nail trimming service is around $8-$25. It takes an appointment and a veterinarian’s time. The vet may also perform a health check-up for your pig.

The price of nail trim being done by a groomer varies greatly depending on the shop, guinea pig, and method utilized. The charges for nail trim alone fall between $7-$25.

Always contact the vet or pet groomer first and hear directly from them about the charges for their services.

How to Tell if a Guinea Pig Nails are Too Long?

How to Tell if a Guinea Pig Nails are Too Long?

The signs of a guinea pig with too long nails are pretty obvious. Neglecting your guinea pig nails for too long is close to saying that you fail in your responsibilities. It risks your pet into many things.

For instance, it is common for untrimmed or too long guinea pig nails to curve, but some can grow straight. Sometimes they can grow into the piggy’s footpads.

Another awkward encounter with guinea pigs with overly long nails is being caught or snagged in the clothing items present in the habitat. The guinea pig may also have problems with walking.

If your piggy damages your skin when you touch it, its nails may be overgrown. Closely examine the nails of your piggy and see if they are overly long. Look at all four legs.

What Happens If You Don’t Clip Your Guinea Pig’s Nails?

If you don’t clip your curvy’s nails, you risk its ability to move, and health issues may arise.

Guinea pigs with too long nails are likely to show the following signs. Be watchful of your pet!

  • Curled or overly long straight nails
  • Limping/difficulty walking
  • Loss of appetite
  • Losses the desire to exercise
  • Weight Loss
  • Reduced growth
  • The nails hanging up on things

If your animal strikes a floor with its long nails, it will be too painful for him. Likewise, nails hanging up on things can get torn off, and the pig will actually feel the pain.

Going too long without clipping your piggy nails, the nerves of the nails also continue to grow.

The blood vessels become too long, making it harder to trim the nails to an appropriate length without cutting them, and eventually causes bleeding. In most cases, home trimming is discouraged for this reason.

Too long nails also tend to curve and grow into the piggy’s footpad; they may injure the footpad and cause infections.

Moreover, long nails can cause damage to the piggy’s skin from an open wound on the feet and eventually lead to bumblefoot, inflammation, sores, hair loss, or redness.

How Long Should Guinea Pig’s Nails Be?

There isn’t a perfect length that guinea pig nails have to be kept. However, it’s recommended for the nails not to grow past the fur of their feet.

That’s the criteria most people use to know if their piggy’s nails are getting a little longer. These animal companions require regular nail trimming to keep their nails in good shape and avoid unnecessary injuries.

Aim to nail trim your beloved piggy after every two to four weeks; if you can do it more often, the better. Regular nail clipping also keeps the quick (nail’s blood vessels) to an appropriate length for clipping.

5 Steps To Clip Guinea Pig Nails at Home

If you are confident enough to nail clip your piggy and it’s not a new task to you, you won’t have problems giving the service.

Some guinea pigs are stubborn, making them difficult to handle. However, clipping your pet’s nails will become your regular routine; it only requires patience and practice, and the pig should also get comfortable with time.

You want the pig to be trimmed without any corresponding mess, stress, injuries, or pain. Follow the following steps when clipping your guinea pig nails at home.

Step #1: Gather Tools You Will Need

Gathering the proper materials is always the first step to every task awaiting you. Having all the tools together prevents unnecessary movements and saves you time doing the service.

Since you’re doing the work at home, get support (maybe a friend or relative) to hold your guinea pig for you. This is more important if you’re doing the trimming for the first time.

The following are guinea pigs nail trimming supplies;

  • Nail Clippers
  • Most people use human nail clippers to clip their guinea pigs, but I would discourage it. It may be disastrous to use them.
  • We have many options for ideal clippers for guinea pigs, e.g., scissor-style clippers, pet nail clippers for small animals, and plier-style nail clippers.
  • styptic powder
  • You need to have this product to apply to your guinea pig nail if you accidentally cut the quick or nail’s nerve. Styptic powder helps to stop bleeding.
  • Paper towel and hand towel
  • If you trim the nails of your pig and cut them too deep, a paper towel will help wipe the blood and affected part.
  • You will need to wrap your piggy in a hand towel if it’s squiggly during nail trims. The towel helps to restrain the pig and keep it calm. Use one towel throughout; if possible, the pig will feel comfortable.
  • Gloves
  • Ensure you have thick gloves to protect you from bites. Nitrile gloves are also suitable if you wrap your guinea pig on a towel while clipping.
  • Treats
  • It keeps the guinea pig busy during the trimming process. The GuineaDad Nourish series is an excellent natural vegetable option to buy.

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Step #2: Make Sure That Guinea Pig Feel Secure with Being Handled

With gloved hands, remove your piggy from its hutch. Approach the cage with a slow and steady movement and clasp the pig from behind. It prevents you from biting and frightening your guinea pig.

Use one hand to support the piggy from under its forearms and the other the hindquarter. Gently wrap the pet in a hand towel. Don’t tighten the towel to avoid suffocation and overheating.

You may choose to pet your guinea pig if it appears restless. Most guinea pigs are happy when eating their favorite snack.

How to restrain your guinea pig for nail clipping

  • Holding a guinea pig upright during a nail trim is the correct posture. You do this by;
  • Sitting down on the ground and placing the animal on your lap. It should face away from you while its ramp rests against your stomach to avoid backing up.
  • Hold the pig upright with its back resting against your stomach and its stomach facing away from you. Place your less dominant hand lightly around the pet’s chest for support. Your lap supports the pig’s hindquarter, or you can use your other hand (best if there’s support to help with the clipping)
  • Ensure that the leg you deal with is free from the towel for clipping nails. Using the hand that holds the piggy’s chest, steady the nail between your thumb and index finger. Avoid holding them tightly.

Step #3: Start Clipping Nails

Pick the available nail clipper with your dominant hand and hold them close to the nail. Locate the quick (it’s visible for guinea pigs with light nails, the pink part you see in the nail is the quick).

If your pig pet has a dark nail, you need a small flashlight to light the nail and identify the quick Slowly squeeze the nail clipper to clip the nail and aim the part before the quick (towards the tip of the nail).

If the pig flinches, you may be too close to the quick, so make sure to move the clippers a bit towards the nail’s tip. Cutting the quick causes bleeding and is also painful for your pig.

Ideally, it’s advisable to cut about ¼ inch of the nail tip. Cut the nails in a firm and swift motion to avoid crushing them. The clipper needs to be sharp also.

Tip: If you notice your pet becoming restress as you proceed with nail cutting, give it time to rest and provide some snacks to help it cool down. Then you can continue with the clipping process.

Step #4: Check the Nails When Finished

After a successful clipping, check all the nails for any signs of bleeding. You may have cut the quick accidentally.

Apply styptic powder for any bleeding nail toes to help in clotting. You shouldn’t panic because you cut the quick. The styptic powder will not only stop bleeding but also has a numbing agent to provide relief to your pig.

If the bleeding is minor, you may want to apply pressure to the nail’s tip. It may also be effective.

Step #5: Reward the Guinea Pig with Something

Finally, the task is done. Make sure to reward your guinea pig with a treat. Offer the piggy’s favorite snacks to provide positive reinforcement, and the pet will be happy and ready for the next nail clipping.

Rewarding guinea pigs with a treat even if you’re only through with one foot can be helpful. It will make it feel good and comfortable; hence, you can continue with the rest of the feet without problems.

After everything and making sure there’s no bleeding, return your guinea pig into its hutch and then clean up the nail trimmings.

Guinea Pig Nails FAQs

Can I use regular nail clippers on my guinea pigs?

Some people use human nail clippers to do the clipping work in their guinea pig. The clippers may work well in baby guinea pigs, but they can be disastrous in adults.

I wouldn’t recommend you to use them, but instead, go for nail clippers specifically designed for pets.

How do you cut a guinea pig’s nail without getting bit?

You can avoid guinea pig bites during the nail trimming process by holding the pig facing away from you. Also, hold it gently and carefully so as not to stress it. Your working environment should be comfortable too.

Does PetSmart trim guinea pig nails?

No, PetSmart does not trim guinea pig nails or other grooming services for these pets. However, guinea pigs for sale are available from PetSmart stores.

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Conclusion

Guinea pig nail clipping is fun when you have experience, and your guinea pig isn’t stubborn. Aggressive guinea pigs are sometimes annoying even to the most experienced guinea pig caretaker.

No matter your pig’s temperament, nail clipping is necessary for all guinea pigs, particularly those that are always indoor. Guinea pig nails grow continuously and will become overly long if not clipped.

Taking care of your piggy nails makes it happy and healthy. It’s also part of observing hygiene. Next time you cut your guinea pig nails, be sure to follow the guidelines in this article; you will smile.

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