Useful Tips

How to safely trim your guinea pig nails yourself


Overgrown nails of a pet not only spoil furniture, wallpaper and flooring, but also harm the health of the pet. If you do not trim the nails of your pet, then they:

  • They will twist and dig into the pads of the paws. This will damage the legs. An infection can get into the wounds on the pads.
  • They will interfere with the normal movement of the rodent, which will lead to a decrease in motor activity. This in turn will lead to obesity.
  • They will begin to accumulate dirt, which will provoke the development of pododermatitis.
  • They will prevent the beast from stepping on paws correctly. This leads to curvature of the skeleton of the paws and displacement of the vertebrae.
  • They can injure the skin when trying to scratch.

To avoid possible health problems, you need to cut your pet's nails regularly. It is not necessary to consult a veterinarian. You can trim the claws of your pet yourself at home.

Preparation for the procedure

Before starting the procedure, you need to prepare the tools. For haircuts you will need special tweezers. They are sold at pet stores and are called rodent clippers. A rodent claw cutter can be replaced with baby tweezers or a cat claw cutter. For very small piglets, ordinary manicure scissors are also suitable, since babies have soft nails.

In the case when it is impossible to accurately determine the safe place of application of claws, it is better to use a nail file. An ordinary file that people use, or a special device - an electric sharpener - is suitable. It is sold at pet stores.

In the nail plate of the animals there is a nerve ending and a vessel. If a vessel or nerve is touched when cutting a nail, bleeding will occur. In this case, you will need a powder to stop bleeding. This may be a special tool that is sold in a pharmacy. Chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, brilliant green and a weak solution of potassium permanganate are also suitable for treating wounds. In the case of liquid treatment, cotton pads will be needed.

Still for a manicure you will need a towel. A pet is wrapped in it to soothe it and prevent bites.

How to trim the claws of a guinea pig

A good time for carrying out manicure procedures is right after the pet wakes up. After sleep, animals are still inactive for some time.

The pet should be carefully removed from the cage, and calmed with stroking movements. To reduce the risk of damage during the procedure, the mumps are placed on their lap. It is better to put the pet on the back with your head away from you. The forefinger and thumb of one hand hold the foot, the remaining fingers fix the head of the animal. With the second hand they calm the pet, you can give the beast a treat. This position will help control the movement of the rodent. If the mumps is calm, you can take the tweezers and start cutting the claws.

The pigs have 14 fingers, 4 on two front legs and 3 on the back. Only a small part of the nail is cut off so that about 1-2 mm remains to the nerve ending and the vessel. When using tweezers, it is better not to cut the whole nail, but to trim its edges. Thus, the likelihood of damage to the nerve and vessel is reduced, and at the same time remove more keratinized part. You need to cut the claws of the guinea pig at an angle so that later it can directly put the foot on the surface.

The procedure must be carried out in a bright place, preferably directly under the light source. If the claws of the mumps are transparent, then there will not be a problem with determining the place of application of the claw, but if the claws of the pet are black, it is better to use a nail file. But in this case, you can determine where to cut. The non-living part of the nail is thinner than the living, and on the underside of the nail there is a transition along which you can cut.

If you could not trim the claws of a guinea pig without bleeding, then you need to use a hemostatic agent. After the blood is stopped, excess powder should be removed to prevent it from entering the animal’s digestive tract. Bleeding in itself is not a dangerous phenomenon, although it is rather painful.

If uneven patches remain on the nails after completing the haircut, they are treated with a nail file.

On the hind legs, the claws leave a little longer than on the front legs.

Clipping your claws will be easier using an electric sharpener. Its price is higher than the cost of claw cutting, but the risk of injuring the animal is practically excluded.

It is easier to carry out the procedure together, but when the pig gets used to it, one person will cope.

After clipping the claws, you need to change the litter in the cage so that the dirt does not get into possible wounds on the legs and infection does not occur.

Claw care

As mentioned earlier, in a natural habitat, pigs grind claws on stones. If you install stones or a piece of brick in a cage, or fold a stable hill of stones, then the pig will naturally grind its claws. In hot weather, the stones will serve as a cooling place. The presence of stones will help to keep the claws in order between manicure procedures. The procedures themselves are carried out as the claws grow, if the tip has grown by more than 2 mm. This usually happens once every 2–4 weeks. It is necessary to cut the claws of a guinea pig from a month old. At this age, the animal tolerates the procedure more easily, and with its constant repetition it will be calmer to relate to various manipulations. Skipping manicure procedures is not recommended, as the nail becomes stiffer over time and the vessel with the nerve lengthens as the nail grows.

If the pig is worried

If a pet is worried during clipping, then here are some tips on how to calm him down.

  1. If the pig withdraws the foot, do not hold it. Release the foot, stroke the animal, calm, give a treat, and then try again. Pulling on the legs is not necessary to make it easier to cut, you can lightly press on the finger, and the nail will “open” in its entire length. A rodent should also be treated after each treated foot. Thus, the animal develops a trusting attitude to the ongoing manipulations.
  2. With ongoing attempts to escape, the pet is wrapped in a diaper or towel and tightly clamped.
  3. You can reassure your pet with a distraction, for example, offer a tasty treat or move to the bathroom or kitchen and turn on the water there. At the sound of flowing water, the guinea pigs freeze. You can feed your favorite food throughout the procedure, if the pet is so relaxed.
  4. If your pet is aggressive, use a muzzle for small dogs or cats.
  5. If you can’t cut the claws of your beloved pet, it’s best to contact a veterinarian or a pet salon for help.

Guinea pigs do not require much care, are unpretentious in food and at the same time they are ready to please the owners with their attention. But nail guinea pigs must be included in the list of care procedures.

Why do I need to cut the claws of a guinea pig

In rodents in the wild, the claws naturally grind. In an apartment setting, the owner of the guinea pig should help the pet tidy its claws.

Too overgrown nails of animals look awful: they become coarse and twist.

The troubles resulting from the lack of claw care:

  • curvature of fingers and paws,
  • inflammatory process on the fingertips (pododermatitis),
  • diseases of the spine and numerous problems with the skeletal system,
  • wounds on the legs and skin of the animal, and their further infection,
  • reduction of motor activity of the animal, which leads to metabolic disorders.

In addition, the animal can scratch the furniture and floors in the apartment. To avoid these negative consequences, it is necessary to cut the nails of the guinea pig regularly, starting from the age of 3 months, as soon as they grow more than 2 mm.

According to the experience of the owners of rodents, this procedure will need to be done at least once a month.

Due to the fact that the claws and blood vessels are located in close proximity, you must be able to correctly determine the boundary of the cut.

Nailing a guinea pig should not cause her physical pain. Everything should be organized so that the animal does not receive psychological stress.

How to trim your guinea pig nails

In the claws of a rodent, a strictly transparent part is cut that does not reach the vessel. Blood coagulates usually in a short time, if the vessel is hooked, but in the future the animal will be scared of this procedure.

It is necessary to pay attention to the claws of a guinea pig of a dark color: it is very difficult to consider the border where the vessels begin. If in doubt, the file will help out. Sometimes it’s justifiable to use a magnifying glass in order to make out the front of the work.

There are 4 claws on the front legs of the rodent, and 3 on the hind legs. They grow longer than the front. When doing a rodent pedicure, they are left with a larger size.

With an assistant to an inexperienced master, it is easier to cut the claws of a pig. One will hold and calm the animal, clutching to itself, the second to cut. They do this at a certain angle so that the foot is not on weight, but rests on the person’s hand.

This process looks like this:

  • stretch forward one leg of the rodent,
  • hold the claw between the thumb and forefinger,
  • take the nippers with your other hand,
  • cut the claw just above the blood channel.

If you still bleed, you need to immediately treat the wound with prepared disinfectants and hemostatic agents.

Before releasing the animal, it is necessary to remove the hemostatic powder from the legs so that it does not get into the respiratory tract of the pet.

At the end of the procedure, the rodent must be "thanked" for its good behavior: give it your favorite food, stroke it.

What to do if the pig is worried

Not every rodent will calmly endure this procedure. We are talking about the degree of trust in the owner and how skillfully and quickly it will be possible to trim the nails. When the animal begins to strongly protest against these manipulations, you need to try to calm her.

You can just swaddle tightly in a towel, pulling one foot out. It is noted that the sound of a water stream hypnotically acts on guinea pigs. Therefore, this operation can be performed in the bathroom with bright light and the tap turned on. But this is not a gentle method from the point of view of the pet.

It will be most humane to distract the rodent during the procedure with a treat, for example, an apple or celery. If you teach the animal to pedicure and manicure from early childhood, then he will relate to this more calmly. The skill of the home master will also improve.

When the owner of the mumps has doubts as to whether or not he can cut the claws himself, you can contact the veterinarian.

When the pig strongly resists, panics and screams, it is better to postpone the resolution of this issue until the next day.

Is it worth cutting the claws of a guinea pig?

The answer is unequivocal: yes! And you need to do this regularly, since overgrown nails prevent the animal from leading a full life and can even threaten its safety. In addition, with sharp long claws, a rodent can spoil not only its cage, but also many objects in the house.

However, the main reason why clipping a guinea pig’s nails is simply necessary is to take care of your pet’s health. Too long claws gradually begin to twist, which can cause the fingers to bend in the animal. Because of this, displacement of the spine, the appearance of pododermatitis or injuries of the paw pads is possible. The latter are very painful for the animal, since a constantly growing nail expands the wound more and more and does not allow it to drag on.

In addition, long claws are dangerous for rodents for the following reasons:

  • If your pet begins to itch, it can damage his skin throughout his body.
    Under the nails, dirt accumulates, which can lead to infection.
  • Overgrown claws prevent the pig from moving, as a result, it will begin to lie all the time, which will lead to obesity and other problems.
  • The animal will scratch all surfaces close to it and as a result, it will not only damage the wallpaper, furniture or the floor of its cage, but can also eat something dangerous.

So, if before that you doubted whether the guinea pigs cut their nails, now you know that this is simply necessary. Let's figure out how to carry out this procedure quickly and easily.

When and how to cut the guinea pig’s nails?

Most veterinarians agree that clipping should be done 1-2 times a month. You can start the procedure when the cubs are 1-3 months old.

The main question that concerns all owners: how to cut the claws of a guinea pig? This is nothing complicated. Any breeder can cope with this task on their own, you just need to buy special tweezers in the zoo, also known as clippers. In this case, the choice should be left on a special model for rodents. If this species is not available, you can use the device for cats. The main thing is that the tongs should not be too large and seem convenient to you.

If you are still afraid to harm your pet during the haircut, buy an electric nail sharpener. It costs more, but it minimizes the risk of damage to the vessel and nerve located next to the claw.

How to cut the nails of rodents?

The guinea pig has only twelve fingers: four on the front legs, and three on each back. When starting a nail clipper, remember two important points:

  1. To trim the nail plate stands at such an angle so that the animal can safely rest its paw on the ground.
  2. On the hind legs, the claws of rodents are naturally longer, therefore, when processing, also leave a couple of extra millimeters on them.

It is usually easier to trim the beast's nails together, however, one person can easily cope with calm individuals who do not bite and do not try to break out.

Clutching the claws of a guinea pig is quite simple, just follow a few simple rules:

  • The most comfortable haircut pose looks like this: the owner turns the animal back and supports under the ass with one hand.
  • Sometimes you may need a regular nail file. If the claw has not grown too much, you can abandon the clipper and just file the extra millimeters, getting rid of them. Also, the nail file is simply indispensable for combating the notches that often remain on the nails of rodents after cutting.
  • Be sure to carry out the procedure in a room with good lighting, and ideally - right under the lamp (for example, a table). So you can see where the blood vessels located inside the nail plate pass, and you can shorten the claws without damaging the animal’s foot.
  • Before starting the procedure, you should make sure that your pet is calm and in a good mood, otherwise the haircut may end badly for both of you (it is best to take the pig immediately after waking up, then it will be less active).
  • When treating nails, it is especially important that pigs of dark shades be treated, because their nails are almost black, so it is far from always possible to see the vessels inside.

It is imperative to cut on time. Otherwise, not only the claws, but also the blood vessels passing through them will become longer, which means that the risk of damaging them and causing the pet pain will increase.


Let's look at the step-by-step process of how to clean the claws of a guinea pig. Phased processing of the claws of rodents is as follows:

  1. Take a guinea pig and extend one of its legs (they should be taken one at a time).
  2. Lock the claw between the thumb and forefinger.
  3. Take a clipper in your free hand and place it in front of the nail.
  4. Carefully look where the blood vessel ends (if it is not visible, you can shine a flashlight on your paw), and cut the claw just above it.
  5. After the haircut is completed, return the pet to the cage.

Useful Tips

In conclusion, we’ll give some useful tips to help you better understand how to cut guinea pig nails:

  • If the pet pulls out a foot, do not try to stop it. Wait a few minutes for the animal to calm down, and then try again.
  • In the case when the vessel inside the nail is not visible even with the backlight, cut the plate a little bit or use a nail file so as not to injure your finger.
  • For bleeding caused by accidental damage to a vessel, use starch or hemostatic powder. After the procedure is completed, the residues of the substance must be removed so that the pig does not eat it.
  • If the pet does not leave an attempt to escape, you can swaddle it to avoid bites, and pull out the legs one at a time.
  • Distracting tricks work well with animals. For example, try switching your pet's attention to refreshments or the sound of flowing water (with the sound of water, the guinea pig simply becomes stiff).
  • An extreme measure applied to particularly aggressive animals is the use of a muzzle for small breed dogs or cats.

Now you know the answer to the question whether the claws are sheared by guinea pigs. Но если этот процесс по-прежнему кажется вам слишком сложным, обратитесь к ветеринару. Он даст вам практические рекомендации или сам проведет процедуру качественно и быстро.

And in one of our previous articles we talked about how to bathe a guinea pig and whether it should be done, be sure to read, this article will be of interest to you!

Hemostatic Powder

You can find it in the store where razors are sold. It helps stop bleeding when grazing while cutting a blood vessel. In the absence of such a powder, corn starch or chlorhexidine can be used for the same purpose.

It is necessary for the comfort of the animal and convenience when holding it during the procedure.

Important! Determine in advance a well-lit place where you will cut your pet's nails, and arrange all the tools in a convenient order for you.

Prepare the animal for an unpleasant procedure for him, using the following recommendations:

  1. Gently, without sudden movements, remove the pet from the cage, holding the rodent's jaw with the thumb of your hand, and gently hold the pet from behind with the other hand.
  2. Wrap the rodent in a prepared towel.
  3. Place it on your lap with your back to yourself to avoid bites.

Try to calm the pet by treating it to your favorite treat and stroking it.

How to make the procedure as painless as possible

You can save your nerves and help your pet with this procedure, following certain rules:

  • start cutting the claws from the edge, moving sequentially from finger to finger. If the animal is very worried, pause and try to calm the animal with a treat,
  • start cutting your claws from the first month to allow the baby to get used to the regular procedure,
  • if the pig is very nervous and not given, you can cut the claws in the bathroom or in the kitchen, turning on the water at the same time: often the pigs freeze when they hear the sound of water,
  • Distract during the rodent process with food.

If the rodent bites, you can put on a muzzle designed for miniature dogs.