Do you know guinea pigs just like human beings need their nails short and groomed?
Guinea pigs claws don’t stop growing. It is therefore essential to cut them frequently. Long nails will cause the blood supply to get closer to the tip.
But, when you make a routine trimming, you will prevent blood from getting at the tip of the nail. Thus, you will avoid causing injury when cutting the nails.
Table of Contents
- Why is it Important to Trim Your Guinea Pigs Nails?
- What Tools Do You Need to Have When Trimming Guinea Pig Nails?
- How to Trim Guinea Pig Nails
- How to Entice Your Pet to Nail Trimming
- What Happens When You Accidentally Cause Bleeding?
- Final Takeaways
- Bottom Line
Why is it Important to Trim Your Guinea Pigs Nails?
There is a critical reason for cutting your guinea pigs nails besides preventing blood quickening at the tip.
When you leave your piggy’s nails to overgrow, they will grow to curl towards the footpads. This impairs their walking and affects their activities as well as their feeding since they are always in pain. In the worst case, it can cause skin laceration, a condition known as ‘bumble foot.’
If the laceration is not adequately treated and forms inflammation, there can be a high risk of guinea pig osteoarthritis. To avoid such a painful experience to your pet, make a routine schedule for trimming its nails.
What Tools Do You Need to Have When Trimming Guinea Pig Nails?
Before you begin trimming your piggy’s nails, it is essential to prepare the tools you may need for the exercise.
Here are the tools you will need.
Medium size towel
You will need the towel to place on your lap where you piggy will rest while you are trimming its nails.
The same towel might help you to wrap the legs you are not trimming to enable you to hold your piggy still.
Guinea pig nail clippers
The guinea pig nail clippers are in two types. There are the scissors-type and guillotine-type.
The guillotine-type clippers are the best for this exercise since they give precision nail-cuttings and also prevent accidental injuries. They have a unique design made especially for such nails.
You might need to look at Pet Republique Nail Clippers
Palm Oil or Baby Oil
You will need to apply Palm oil or baby oil on the guinea pig claw which you are preparing to clip to see where the quick begins.
- Styptic powder / flour / cornstarch
Styptic powder or flour or cornstarch is important to have it on standby. You may need it in case of cut injury. We shall discuss what to do when such an incident happens.
Another item you might need if you accidentally cut too deep into the nail causing bleeding. You will use a cotton swab to cover the injury when putting pressure on it to stop bleeding.
You will also need cotton swab to wipe off the blood and when applying styptic powder to stop bleeding.
- Beeswax or Soap
You will have either of these two items on standby to help you stop bleeding in case of accidental clipping on the quick causing bleeding.
- Medical-Grade Gloves
It is essential to give your pet hygienic treatment even when cutting its nails by wearing medical-grade gloves. The gloves are sturdy, and they don’t tear easily.
How to Trim Guinea Pig Nails
Now that you have all the necessary tools on standby, you are ready to start the nail-trimming process on your little friend. Don’t not panic since it is a simple process and your piggy depends on your rational mind to do it right. Go for it!
- First, you need to remove the guinea pig from the cage after wearing your gloves. Lift it while holding it under the forelegs on its chest with one hand. With the other hand, support it in a sitting position in the hand while holding its hind legs.
There are two methods you can use to hold your piggy comfortably for nail trimming. You can choose either of them, whichever may work best with you.
- Sit on a chair or the ground while still holding your piggy gently under its forelegs. Place it to a sitting position on your lap and against your body using the inactive hand.
- Remember the towel we talked about as one of the tools? You can use that towel to wrap your pet holding all the legs inside but leaving out the one you are clipping.
Be gentle by not wrapping it too tightly to avoid causing it to be stressful as well as feeling hot.
- After choosing the method most preferable for you, before you start trimming the guinea pig claws, apply palm oil on the nail. Doing this will help you to see the quick section of the nail more clearly to avoid cutting into it. We recommend you to use Palm Oil – 1 Quart
If you can recall, we said this is the quick is bleeding part, and therefore you need to avoid getting close to it since you can cause pain and injury.
It is easier to notice the quick on some pets’ nails because of their light-colored nails which have a pink color for the quick.
For some pets with dark nails, the quick may not be readily visible, and in such a case then, you should be extra careful when cutting that kind of nail.
You will need to cut only the tips without going deeper. Otherwise, you will notice the safe part of the nail where it appears narrow and curled in a hollow way from the bottom.
- Be friendly as much as possible when trimming the nails to get your piggy’s cooperation otherwise you will both have a stressful time.
- Once you are through with one, continue with this exercise until you have trimmed all the nails or as long as your piggy friend is up to it.
- If you notice your pet is starting to be fussy and agitated, then know that it is tired. Discontinue the exercise and let it rest.
- Once you place it back on its cage, reward it with its best treat or a toy to unwind the stress.
You may continue with the exercise later when the piggy has rested even if it is after a day or two.
How to Entice Your Pet to Nail Trimming
Until nail trimming becomes a routine, you will have to distract your pet or entice it to cooperate with the exercise. How do you do that? You may wonder!
- Use its favorite treat – Hold your pet’s favorite treat with you when you’re removing it from the cage.
Allow it to nibble on its treat when you are trimming the nails to distract it.
- Use its favorite toy – Take breaks to allow it to play with its toy. That way, you will both enjoy the break when your pet is playing, and you are watching it play.
Be wise to know when to begin the exercise again.
What Happens When You Accidentally Cause Bleeding?
Even when you are extra careful, you may accidentally cut the quick, and the nail starts bleeding. In such a case, you can do one of the following first-aid. But, first, you need to stay calm and don’t panic. Even though it may hurt your piggy friend for a bit, it is not fatal.
- Apply either styptic powder or flour or cornstarch at the bleeding part using a cotton swab and apply pleasure on it. You will momentarily stop the bleeding.
- Apply pleasure if you don’t have the above items and holding it for a while to stop bleeding.
- Press beeswax or soap on the tip of the nail where there is the injury. After a while, the blood flow will cease.
You will have to discontinue the exercise in such a case since the pet has already been agitated and in pain.
Put your pet back inside its cage after the bleeding has stopped. Make sure to give it the best treat to lift its spirit and forget the trauma caused by the pain.
- Make your pet as comfortable as possible in whichever method you will use to trim the nails.
- The pink color on the nail will show you where the quick starts so that you may avoid getting close to it when cutting the nails.
- If you can’t find the quick, you can trim the nail a 1/4” from the tip to be on the safe side and avoid causing injury.
- Avoid going close to the quick as the part might be raw and therefore painful.
- If you accidentally cut into the quick, make sure the bleeding has stopped before placing your piggy friend back in its cage.
Guinea pig nail trimming is not for soft-hearted and especially when you fear causing injury or your little friend is uncooperative. If that is your experience, consider engaging services of an expert pet groomer near you who can assist you to do it at a fee.
After the exercise, always remember to give your pet its favorite snack, treat, or toy. Kaytee Timothy Biscuits Baked Apple Treat, 4oz Bag
If you would like to engage it with a toy, try out Kaytee Nut Knot Nibble
Won’t you enjoy seeing your pet happy and comfortable?
Hopefully, the next nail-cutting process will be much better.
We hope you found this information useful. If so, you may let us know your experience by leaving your comments here below.