How To Cut Guinea Pig Nails: The Safest and Comfortable Way

As much as the hygienic importance placed on cutting human nails, more should be placed on cutting guinea pig nails. Most guinea pig owners think only about brushing their pet’s hair. Whereas, there’s more to healthy grooming of guinea pigs than neat and shining hair.

The effect of leaving your guinea pig nails uncut cannot be stated enough. As it causes health challenges amongst others. Hence, it’s essential you understand how to cut guinea pig nails.

Do I Have To Cut My Guinea Pig’s Nails

As earlier stated, cutting your guinea pig’s nail is vital for its wellbeing. Because leaving the guinea pig nail uncut leads to curly nails or causing the nails to grow to one side. With this, the blood vessels in the nails, otherwise known as the “quick” extend to the top of the nails.

Consequently, the curly nails and extended “quick” causes pain for your pet. And, this leads to serious feet and health challenges. Such as difficulty in movement, bumble-foot, and inflammation. So, it’s paramount you trim your pet nails to detect and prevent potential issues.

To keep it short, a guinea pig with frequently trimmed nails is a healthy and lively pet. But how do you know when it’s appropriate to trim your guinea pig nails? Continue below.

How Do I Know When To Trim My Guinea Pig’s Nails

Woman hands cutting claws of guinea pig with nail clipper

Trimming your guinea pig nails isn’t the most complicated task. However, it’s safer to seek the service of a vet to carry out the trimming, especially if it’s the first trim. However, if you’re well-informed about how to cut guinea pig nails, there’s a need for you to know when it’s time for a trim.

The easiest way to know the nails trimming time is;

  • When it’s a month or over since your guinea pig had a trim. Because the guinea pig nails grow continuously, just like the human nails. So a month without trimming is a long time enough for another cutting session.
  • Another way is when the nails become curly. This is because the nails of a guinea pig start curling, once it grows beyond the toe. Thus depicting the need for trimming.
  • Also, when the movement of your pet on the floor is generating a clicking or tapping sound.

So your guinea pig just gave birth to a pup, or you acquired a new one, how will you know when they’re old for nail cutting? Read on.

When Should Your Guinea Pig Get Its First Trim 

The ideal time to start trimming your guinea pig nails is when it’s 2 months old. Trimming the nails from a young age has its benefits. As they’re short and sharp at this stage.

With the nails of guinea pigs known to get thicker with age, you must get it used to the routine when they’re still short and sharp. Hence, by the time the nails get thicker, your pet would’ve been used to trimming and more tolerant of it.

So how often should you cut the nails after the first cut? We’ve thrown more light on it below.

How Often Should You Cut Your Piggy nails 

The frequency of cutting your guinea pig’s nails is essential. As it helps in getting your pet accustomed to the routine and at the same time makes the nail cutting easier. Although the activity might be time-consuming as it requires patience, the regularity and consistency are important.

It is a safe practice to cut the nails every 2-4 weeks. For guinea pigs with fast-growing nails, you can cut their nails every 2 to 3 weeks intervals. While some can be left for a month, it all depends on your pet’s and the readiness to do the trimming.

So, how do you cut your guinea pig nails? Follow me below as I detailed the step-by-step method of cutting guinea pig nails safely and efficiently.

Let’s dive in!

How To Cut Guinea Pig’s Nails

Hands trimming claws of guinea pig with pet clippers

Trimming guinea pig’s nails isn’t the toughest of jobs, but it requires know-how and patience. Below are the steps necessary to successfully cut your guinea pig nails.

Step 1: Getting the required trimming tools ready.

The tools required includes:

  • A pair of clippers: While some people use human clippers that work to a degree, there are clippers designed mainly for Guinea Pig. The animal clippers have a wider opening and cut the nails without squeezing it. This makes the trimming easier and painless for your guinea pig.
  • Styptic powder: This is very important as it stops bleeding fast in case of an accident. If it’s not available, you can make use of cornflour.
  • Towel: The towel serves two purposes. The first is to help restrain your pet. The second purpose is to help keep it comfortable. Although, a towel isn’t a must, but it’s essential as it helps keep your guinea pig calm.
  • Magnifying lamp or lamps generally: This is essential for improved visibility. It enables you to get a clear view of the “quick” in the nails, which in-turn prevent accidents.

Lastly, it is good practice to keep your piggy’s favorite meal close. It helps in keeping it calm and relaxed.

Step 2: Prepping your guinea pig for trimming. 

Your guinea pig must be relaxed before you start the nail trimming. Firstly, you should wrap it in the towel gently. Then position it comfortably.

This can be done by placing it on your lap with its back against your stomach and the legs facing out. There’s also the option of having its side against your stomach and legs facing out. Just ensure you don’t hold it down with excessive force.

It is worth mentioning that if you’re not experienced enough to hold your guinea pig with one hand and clip with the other. Then you should seek the service of a vet till you’re capable of doing the trimming alone.

Step 3: Cutting the nails.

Before you start trimming, you need to know where the blood vessels (quick) are in any of the nails you’re starting with. The quick is easier to identify in light-colored nails. They appear pink or reddish in the nail. In dark-colored nails, it’s far more challenging to identify the thick.

Secondly, trim to just above the quick. Cutting the quick will cause bleeding and pain to your guinea pig. And this might make it resist trimming another time. In dark nails where the quick cannot be easily seen, you should cut just the sharp edge.

Lastly, if your guinea pig is feeling uneasy, you should let go and continue some other time. Also, remember to give it a nice treat after the trimming.

What You Should do In case of Accident 

The common accident that occurs when clipping guinea pig’s nails is bleeding. When this happens, you need to keep a cool head as you’ve not caused any fatal harm to your pet.

The easiest way to stop the bleeding is by applying styptic powder or cornflour. This will help to stop the bleeding in no time. However, if the accident leads to an infection or the bleeding doesn’t stop after apply styptic powder or cornflour. Please consult a veterinarian for further assistance.

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