Guinea Pigs/nails


When I was younger I had a piggy that kept its own nails i never had to clip them. i have a piggy now that i recived from someone else, his nails are long and fingers are curled up some i didnt know if i should try to clip them myself Or what i should do his little feet look very uncomfortable I now have him and another that i got from other people whose children lost interest in them. Really want to know about keeping their nails. thank you so much.

Clipping their nails is much easier than you would think. The hardest part is getting over the fear of 'quicking' the nail and nipping into the vein that runs through the nail.

If your pig has white nails it's easy, you can see the red vein. If they're dark you're going to be guessing. I prefer small cat clippers, available at places like K Mart, Walmart, 99stores, etc.  

You'll have to find your own position of comfort. I hold the pig in the bend of my arm and get a good grip on the foot. Just snip off the tip of the nail. Remember that this is a vein, not an artery. If you do cause it to bleed he will not die or bleed to death. Put a bit of cornstarch or flour on the nail tip and that will help coagulate the blood.

The secret is having a firm hold on him but at the same time having him relaxed. You might have to hold him for a minute or two until you feel him relax. I had someone tell me that they sit their pig on a tennis racket. The nails hang through the bottom of the racket and they clip them. But to do that you may need someone else to help keep the pig still.

If you're fearful of doing it the first time just take off a bit of the tips of the nail. Then take off a bit more the next day. The most difficult part is learning to hang onto the pig and be comfortable.  You can do this.  Just don't be afraid.

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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