Guinea Pig

How To Cut Guinea Pig Nails?

Just like humans, guinea pigs also have continuously growing nails. In the wild their nails are worn out naturally but when they are adopted domestically they won’t have that chance. As pet owners you might be thinking how to cut guinea pig nails. Let’s see the importance of nail clipping and why regular nail clipping is needed at least once a month.

As a pet owner if you don’t take care of your guinea pigs’ nails properly you will have to face unpleasant consequences. Overgrown nails could be curvature and those could grow into the footpad. Further long nails could damage the skin and could lead to bumblefoot.

Regular nail trimming will reduce the discomfort for your pet and avoid the blood supply from the nail tip growing closer. As a cavy parent you can’t miss or neglect the nail trimming and you should maintain proper nail length of your guinea pig. If you are a new cavy owner, it is better you learn how to cut nails so the pet’s experience would be painless and smooth as these pets could be excited when their nails are trimmed.

What Is The “Quick” Of The Guinea Pig Nails?

Quick is simply a flimsy blood vessel in the nail and to be exact it runs through the nail. Even experienced guinea pig owners get nervous when they cut guinea pig nails because of this quick. If it is damaged accidently when clipping nails your pig will bleed out.

How To Identify Where To Trim

If your pet has transparent nails then you are able to identify the quick. Quick will be visible as a pink spot of the nail which enclose the blood supply. If your cavy has a black nail or dark nail then you can light up a flashlight beneath the nail and that gives you an idea to spot the blood vessel.

Prevent cutting too close to the blood vessel but you can trim above it so your guinea pig won’t feel a discomfort.

Requirements For Cutting Nails

  1. Nail clipper or nail trimmer

Human nail clippers are not recommended as they don’t have a wide opening. Small animal nail clipper is always better as it has a wider opening and will do a better job.

  1. Styptic powder

If you cut your pet’s nail too deep accidently, you can use styptic powder as a solution. Styptic pencil is also a good solution in such scenario.

  1. Clean towel or paper towels

In case of an emergency you can use the towel to wipe out the bleeding nail or clean the area.

  1. Treats or fresh vegetable pieces

Treats and vegetable pieces can be used to amuse your pig when you cut nails of your pet. You can also use treats to offer as an encouraging reinforcement at the end.

How To Cut Guinea Pig Nails?

First make your guinea pig feel relaxed by providing a treat or vegetable piece. Offering veggies and treats after and during nail cutting can calm your piggy and you will optimistically reinforce nail cutting with the treaty time. So make sure you have enough vegetables and treats to offer to your cavy.

  1. First look for quick in each nail and identify the end. Quick holds the nerve ends and blood vessels. When you cut nails your pet won’t feel a thing but if you accidently cut the quick bleeding and pain can occur. You will be lucky if your pet guinea pig has clear nails so you can see the quick as a pink part in nail.

Having dark nails would make things harder for you. When you are ready to cut darker nails, watch carefully how the nail tip is formed. After your observation you can trim the narrow end of the nail. Start clipping little part at a time and then continue.

  1. Place your guinea pig in a comfortable position. If your piggy finds it comfortable in your lap hold it vertical with its back against your tummy. Then your cavy’s stomach would face away by you. Then lightly put your hand across your cavy’s chest. If cavy doesn’t find it comfortable in your lap take a hand towel and wrap from it while keeping its feet easily reachable.

  2. After the treats your cavy will be relaxed and softly pick a leg and hold it. If your pet shows any dislike let it calm again and then you can continue.

  3. As you pick a leg, start trimming off the nails one by one and finish the whole leg. If you are unable to find the quick just trim only the very end. If your piggy has long nails trim them weekly in small amounts till they are a suitable length. In your first time ask someone to support you to hold the pig while you cut nails.

Nail Clipping Tips

  • The plan is to cut the sharp end of the nail without damaging the quick. If you damage the quick, cavy will have a bleeding nail and it will be very painful to your pet.

  • Trim in front of the quick but not too close to it. Always avoid the visible pink area as if you cut too close to it that will be painful to your guinea pig even you don’t damage that area.

  • You can always seek for advice from your vet or vet team member when you trim guinea pig nails. You can also have a groomer or you can ask an experienced guinea pig owner to perform it before you do it by yourself.

How To Deal With Accidents

Although you are very careful when trimming there will be a situation that you cut into the quick. Bleeding will start quickly but do not panic. You can easily stop bleeding using several methods but your guinea pig will be in great pain.

  • Apply some styptic powder to the bleeding point. Styptic powder is highly successful in stopping bleeding even though it is temporary.

  • Get beeswax or soap then press the bleeding nail into it.

  • Flour and cornstarch can be used same as styptic powder.

  • Observe well before you keep the piggy back in the cage to make sure that the bleeding has stopped.

  • Applying pressure to the bleeding nail tip will be effective for minor cuts.

How To Cut A Darker Nail

Mostly dark guinea pigs have dark or black nails. It makes it impossible to point out the quick and will be a very hard task when it comes to nail clipping. Use extra light to cut such nails and you can ask somebody to help you with a bright light underneath the nail so the quick may be visible and makes it easy for you to cut the nails.

How To Cut Curling Nails Or Overgrown Nails?

If you miss your regular trimming guinea pig’s nails will grow longer and blood supply will also follow the nail as it grows. So if you cut the nails to normal size without checking the blood supply, nail will start bleeding.

You can trim the long nails every few days to make the blood vessel shrunk back. When you continue clipping on a regular basis nails will come back to normal length so the blood supply. When you bring nails back to the normal length, cut them every 2-4 weeks so you can maintain the nails in a proper length.

Have Confidence When Clipping

As with any other thing, the more you are familiar with clipping you will build up great confidence. If you miss clipping because you are afraid of it your guinea pig would do the suffering and its feet will be infected eventually. If you are not comfortable doing it hire a professional to do it for you monthly. Even you have to spend some money that will benefit a lot in your guinea pig’s health.

Where Can I Take My Guinea Pig For Nail Clipping?

You can try following places for nail clipping services for you cavy.

  • Some small pet boarders

  • Veterinarians

  • Guinea pig rescue centers

  • Pet grooming centers who offer services for guinea pigs and small pets.

When you visit your vet for nail clipping services, veterinary nurse will offer the service to you and if you are interested in doing it by yourself you can ask from them and they might show you the steps to follow to do it. So when it is due next time you can have a go according to the specific instructions.

The cost will be different according the place you visit for services and vets are expensive than the rescue centers, boarders and pet grooming centers. Some vets would offer the services starting at £4.99 and could go up to £8 for each cavy.

Final Thoughts

Nail clipping is a hard task even to a well experienced guinea pig owner. But having some faith, confidence and regular trimming will help you and your cavy ease up the things. Do not panic at any point when cutting piggy’s nails and do not leave your guinea pig’s nails to grow longer. If you miss it for some reason you pet will suffer and eventually get sore feet which could lead to infected feet. So if you are wondering how to cut guinea pig nails? do not hesitate to seek out source help if you need it.

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