Trimming your guinea pigs nails can be very intimidating for us all, especially if you are new to guinea pigs, have a wriggly little critter, and not to mention those black nails! At Guinea Pigs Australia we are all guinea pig owners ourselves and understand the hesitations that come with nail trimming, so this is why we have compiled a number of tips and tricks to help make nail trimming a breeze at home!
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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
A small pair of nail clippers - cat nail clippers work great
Lots of treats and rewards
A towel or blanket to keep your piggy comfortable
Some paper towel, cornstarch or potassium permanganate in case of bleeds
Choose a quiet and well-lit room where you and your guinea pig can both feel relaxed and comfortable during the nail trimming process. It may help to wrap them in a towel, or you may want to have a helper assist you in keeping your guinea pig calm and secure.
Examine your guinea pigs nails and identify the part that needs trimming. Be careful not to cut into the quick, which is the pinkish area inside the nail containing blood vessels and nerves. If your guinea pig has clear or light coloured nails it's easier to see the quick. However, if they have dark coloured nails it may be more challenging to see, so proceed with caution. Sometimes shining a light through the dark nail makes visualising the quick easier.
It's time to begin trimming. Hold your guinea pigs paw gently but firmly, and carefully trim a small tip off at a time, remembering to work slowly and carefully. Check the nail after each trim to avoid cutting into the quick. If you are unsure, it is always best to trim less initially, and gradually trim more over time, or trim small amounts frequently.
It's important to praise and reward your guinea pig for their good behaviour and co-operation, making nail trimming a positive experience for them. Both verbal praise and lots of treats works well! It is also important to take breaks if needed. If your guinea pig becomes stressed or anxious, take breaks between each nail trim to ensure their comfort and well-being.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CUT A NAIL TOO SHORT?
If you cut a nail too short, it is important not to panic. It will likely bleed, and pressure should be applied with some paper towel to stem the bleeding. Products like cornstarch or potassium permanganate can also be applied to the tip to help stem the bleeding. If bleeding persists, please give your local veterinarian a call.
Always ask for help if you are unsure or uncomfortable trimming your guinea pigs nails. Most veterinary clinics, guinea pig rescues, or professional groomers experienced in pocket pets will be more than happy to provide assistance.