Cut Guinea Pigs Nails – How to do this safely
Cutting your guinea pigs nails is a really important aspect of their general care. Overgrown nails can be very painful for them and by cutting properly, as well as regularly, it will prevent potential injuries. Do not allow the nail to grow so long that it starts curling and going into the foot pad, they will not be able to walk properly and be in a lot of discomfort. Some grow quicker than others and will need trimming down at different lengths. They do not love their nails being cut, but in time and by gaining their trust, it can make it a more comfortable experience. You will find when trying to hold them that they might squeal and wriggle about.
How to cut the nails safely
As soon as they start becoming sharp or near the double the length of the quick, they need cutting back a little. An average period is every two to three months, but others will differ from this. The quick is a blood vessel that you do not want to cut into. But if you do cut into it, you can use a styptic pen or dab a smudge of flour or talcum powder and this will stop the bleeding, just double check after. Cutting dark nails is harder and you will need to shine some light underneath or just cut a tiny bit back.
As a beginner, it can seem quite daunting at attempting to cut their nails for the first time. But don’t worry you will get there. Make sure that each foot is held securely but not tightly. Personally I now start cutting their nails in the bottom part of a cat carrier whilst they are standing up. This way takes longer with four guinea pigs and I do have to be very careful in cutting. Unfortunately I am actually not confident enough in holding them to cut the nails, but that way works for me. Either get someone else to hold the guinea pig whilst you do the cutting or if your confident enough, complete the task yourself.
What to use?
Human nail clippers might hurt them a little as it will push down on the nail, so I would recommend small animal clippers like the ancol brand, they are cheap to buy. Using scissors might be dicey, because if the guinea pig really is a mover and you can’t hold on, you might accidentally catch the foot.
Should I go to the vets?
If you are very uncomfortable with doing their nails, then definitely go to the vets and they will be able to do them for you. You still might have to help some inexperienced vets hold the guinea pig. Just to mention you might have read another article where I say that vet fees are quite expensive and getting nails done is no exception, but there might be a free health check included. Different vet practices will charge various fees across the country.
Hopefully in time you will find that it might be a possibility that you’re able to cut the nails, as in the long term it will save a lot of money. Also, less stress for the guinea pig, in not having to be in a busy waiting room and coping with the journey to the vets. Saving time as well, not having to travel and wait around. But as I have said, if confidence is an issue, the best and safest way is to go. The vet can give tips and its a good learning experience in being able to watch how it is done.
Where should I do the cutting, if attempting to cut myself?
On your lap on a towel, soft pad or pillow, which will put the guinea pig at ease and make it feel more comfortable. On a table or worktop holding the guinea pig gently. Which ever way is easier for you and the safest for your pet, either holding or on a surface. Complete in a quiet place that will allow you to concentrate in the job in hand and not stress out the little one even more.
Finally – tips in keeping nails down
There are a few ways that may keep them trimmed down before cutting, but these might not make a difference and you will still need to cut them often anyway. Having them walk and run on a rough surface like wood or concrete. A wooden felted ramp, if they are kept in a hutch, will help as they go up and down. Try putting them out on a bit of the concrete patio in the garden, they may not venture onto it though. So I wish you all the best in trimming the nails for the first time.
If you have any questions to ask me, please place a comment below and I will reply back as soon as possible.