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NAIL CLIPPING YOUR GUINEA PIG Guinea pigs have four toes on their front feet and three on their hind feet with each foot having nails which continually grow throughout the guinea pigs life, and as a result will require regular  trimming.  Each nail has a blood vessel known as the "quick" which is pink or red in colour. In the case of cavies with dark nails it may be difficult to see the quick. It is important to ensure when clipping your guinea pigs nails that you always cut below this blood vessel. Why is regular nail clipping important? Without regular nail clipping a guinea pigs nail will continually grow and curl into the foot pad. This may cause severe pain and can result in your guinea pig being unable to use the foot. Bumblefoot or pododermatitis may develop from the foot pad becoming infected. If left untreated bumblefoot can result in the limb being removed or infected.  Regular trimming also presents the opportunity to examine your guinea pigs foot pad and ensure they are not infected or have any swelling present. How often should I cut my guinea pigs nails? Guinea pigs should have their nails trimmed on a monthly basis or as needed. Regular trimming is advised as; When the nail regrows there will be an indent where the last trimming took place, making it easier to cut your guinea pigs nails in the future. What nail clippers should I use? There are two types of nail clippers that can be used. Small Animal Nail clippers: These clippers have a groove situated in the blades which are able to hold the nail. When the nail is cut it will give a nice, clean finish. To purchase small animal nail clippers for your cavy please see our Guinea Pig Accessories. Human nail clippers:  Some owners prefer human nail clippers due to ease of handling. However the nail may be flattened when cutting, so always ensure that you trim away any excess nail when using human nail clippers. Methods for clipping your guinea pigs nails There are numerous methods for clipping your guinea pigs nails. We have included video at the end of our nail clipping guide by Weecompanions,  which provides an excellent visual tutorial.  Our own method of clipping your guinea pigs nails is below: What you will need: Small Animal or Human Nail Clippers A towel Stypic powder (this will aid in stopping blood flow should you accidentally cut the quick)            Note: If this powder is not available plain flour can be used           as a substitute Lettuce, grass or your cavies favourite food Steps: 1) Carefully place your guinea pig on a towel with the food readily available. The guinea pig will be distracted by the food provided whilst the nail trimming takes place. 2) Holding your guinea pigs hind foot between your thumb and index finger, locate the quick which will be red or pink in colour. You do not want to cut above or at the quick as this will cause pain and bleeding. 3) Holding your guinea pigs foot in one hand, gently clip the end of your guinea pigs nail, being careful to avoid the quick. 4) Repeat the same method with the front nails. TIPS Black Nails: Black nails do present difficulty in locating the quick as it cannot be seen, however a USB light can be shone through the nail and the blood vessel can then be seen more easily. A torch may also provide a similar effect. Remember if in doubt only clip the end of the nail. Difficulty in trimming: If your guinea pig is not used to nail trimming and food is not working, it may be advised to hold your guinea pigs with its chest facing outward. Ensure your guinea pigs back is supported against your body and hold your guinea pig with one hand around the mid section for extra support. As the guinea pig is being held, clip its nails. The legs will be faced outward providing ease of excess.  A friend could also hold your guinea pig whilst you clip the nails. If you are not confident in attempting to clip your guinea pigs nails your local veterinarian may be able to assist or local pet groomers for a minimal charge. Nail clipping should be a stress free event for you and your guinea pig.
Quick or Blood Vessel of Nail (Do Not Cut Here)
Tip of Nail (Cut Here)
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