Three Tips For Trimming Your Guinea Pig's Nails

Posted on: 2 August 2016

Guinea pigs need their nails cut regularly, just like humans do, but this procedure can be challenging for the new guinea pig owner. Here are three tips for trimming your guinea pig's nails.

Use appropriate nail clippers

Like all tasks, trimming your guinea pig's nails is easiest when you have the right tools for the job. The large nail clippers that you use to cut your own toenails are too large and powerful to use on your guinea pig. Choose a pair of smaller, weaker clippers that will suit their tiny nails.

Guillotine-style nail clippers are readily available from pet stores and are designed with guinea pigs' small nails in mind. To use these clippers, you simply insert the nail into the guide hole and then press the handles to snip the nail. Tiny nail clippers that are designed for human babies are also fine to use for your guinea pigs.

Get an assistant

Since guinea pigs are prey animals, they won't be excited to be scooped out of their cage to have their toenails trimmed by a large animal. Even after your guinea pigs have bonded with you, this can be a scary experience for them. They will try to squirm and escape, and it's very difficult to cut the nails of a squirming guinea pig.

If you cut your pig's nail too high, it could bleed, so it's important that they hold still during the process. Have a second person hold your guinea pig while you do their nails. Your assistant should hold your guinea pig with its back against their chest so that their feet are sticking out and easy to access.

Bribe your pig with treats

If your guinea pig won't hold still and won't cooperate with the nail trimming process, try bribing them with their favourite treat. While they have a mouthful of delicious snacks, they won't be as scared of what you're doing to their toenails.

Different guinea pigs like different foods, so choose something that is safe for guinea pigs and that you know your pig likes. Sweet vegetables and fruits like carrots, tomatoes, apples or strawberries are all good choices for distracting your pig. Once you're done cutting their nails and they're back in the safety of their cage, give them another small piece of their favourite treat to reassure them that they're okay. Over time, they'll associate getting their nails clipped with snack time.

When you cut your guinea pig's nails, make sure to use appropriate nail clippers, enlist the help of an assistant and bribe your pig with treats. If necessary, take your guinea pigs to a veterinary clinic to have their nails clipped.

For more information, contact Loving Care Animal Hospital or a similar location.