Something that it is often easy to forget about and neglect when you have a guinea pig is cutting their nails.
Guinea pig nail care is a pretty vital part of looking after a guinea pig well. Its a skill in itself to learn but the more you do it the better you will get at it.
Getting started with Guinea pig nail care
The Guinea Pig has nails that grow continually, with a nail on each of the four toes on their front feet and three on the toes on their hind fee. So regular trimming is something that needs to be done often.
However if like me, the thought of trimming your Guinea Pig’s nails makes you feel a little uneasy, especially getting it wrong, then be rest assured you are not alone!
What happens when you dont trim your guinea pigs nails
If they are not trimmed regularly, they will continually grow and curl into the footpad.
As you can imagine, this could be quite painful for your guinea pig and result in them being unable to stand on that foot.
Other things that could happen is that your guinea pig may develop pododermatitis or bumblefoot which are inflammatory reactions that can occur because of infection.
However, if you trim them regularly this will give you the chance to check your Guinea Pig’s footpad often for any potential signs of infection.
How often do Guinea Pig nails need to be clipped?
Clipping your Guinea Pigs nails on a monthly basis will ensure that they do not grow too much.
Guinea Pig nail bleeding
In each nail there is a blood vessel which is known as the ‘quick’ that you may notice is a red or pink colour, although if your Guinea Pig has darker nails it maybe difficult to pick out where the quick is.
The chances of your Guinea Pig’s nail bleeding will increase if you cut across the quick.
Use styptic powder for any cuts that may occur in the process of clipping. You can also purchase Styptic pencils from any drug store.
You can also use aluminium sulfate powder that can be used to stop the bleeding.
Some veterinarians sell ‘quick stop’ which is a specialist treatment for ‘quicks’.
Where to get Guinea Pig nails cut
If clipping nails of your guinea pig, fills you with dread then you could always make an appointment with your local veterinarian or pet groomer who will do this for you.
Other ways of keeping your guinea pigs nails trim
Another way of keeping the nails of your Guinea Pig down is to let them round on concrete or place stones or rocks in their cages. What this does is to wear down the nails which will save the need for cutting them.
Do make sure that they do not have holes in thought so that the guinea pig does not get their legs trapped.
They don’t enjoy running around on concrete as much as grass but it will wear down the nails more than grass will. What I do often is to place the run half on grass and half on concrete so my Guinea Pig can get some time running on concrete.
What about dark Guinea Pig nails?
If your Guinea Pig has dark nails or even black nails then it is very difficult to see where the quick starts and finishes. Just trim the edges of the tips to ensure that you don’t cut anywhere near the quick.
However if the thought of this still makes you feel uneasy, then it might be better to get a veterinarian to trim your Guinea Pig’s nails rather than doing it yourself.