How to clip guinea pig nails


Keeping your piggies nails short and neat is a task that some people feel happy doing, and others don’t.  However, it’s one of the essential things that need to be done when caring for a guinea pig.  But if you cringe at the very thought of it – never fear, because your vet will always be happy to carry out this task for you.


Asking your vet to show you exactly what they do when they clip your guinea pig’s nails is probably the best way to gain the knowledge you need to carry out this routine task yourself.  But even if you’ve been shown, it’s always nice to know where you can come for a little reassurance – so we thought a blog on the subject would be a good idea.


The video below, even though it doesn’t have any instructions, is a good example of how calm and simple a task this should be.  You’ll note that the guinea pig is quite happy to sit quietly whilst his ‘manicure’ takes place, and this should always be your aim when cutting your pig’s claws.



Your vet will inform you that each nail has a blood vessel running through it.  Because of this, it’s essential not to cut the nail too short.  If you do you’ll break this vessel and the nail will bleed (and it’ll hurt too).  But if the worst does happen it’s not the end of the world; a little pressure and the bleeding will soon stop – although your pig might understandably be rather nervous at letting you have another try…


So, to ensure that this doesn’t happen, you need to identify the part of the nail that you can safely cut.  With guinea pigs that have light colored nails this is quite easy.  You’ll clearly be able to see the pink part of the nail, and the white part which is the tip.  As long as you only cut the white part then you can be sure that you won’t be anywhere near the blood vessel.


If your piggie has dark colored nails then this is a little more of a challenge.  Sometimes shining a torch at the nail can help you identify where the blood vessel is – seen by a slight change in coloration at the tip of the nail.  If not, once again the best thing is to ask your vet to show you exactly where you should be cutting the nail.  But the general rule is that you only need to snip off the very tip – and that way you’ll be safely away from the blood vessel (or ‘quick’ as it’s also called.)


If you are nervous about cutting your pig’s nails, then never be afraid to ask for help.  No-one will laugh at you – in fact, it shows how much you care about your pets by seeking a vet or other experts opinion.  And once you’ve done it a few times you’ll happily be cutting your guinea pig’s nails with the same confidence that you do your own.


Thanks for dropping by, and till next time – love those piggies…



    • says

      Hi Gemini6lce

      There is no definitive answer to this, and the best advice is to just keep a close eye on your guinea pigs’s nails. As a really general guide, perhaps once every 4-6 weeks, but it really does depend on the individual. For instance, if a guinea pig runs around on concrete a lot, then he’ll naturally wear down his nails. But those that run around on grass or other soft surfaces will need their nails clipping more regularly.

      The best advice is to simply check your pig’s nails on a weekly basis. That way you’ll notice when they start to get too long and can clip them back.

      Hope that helps,

      Kind regards,

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