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Guinea Pigs/cutting guinea pig's nails


Hi, I'm not sure if you are familiar with cutting guinea pig's nails  because your profile doesn't state anything on that, but I'm asking just in case you do.

I am trying to cut my Guinea pig's front paws because the nails are very sharp. But my guinea pig bites. Not very hard she'll just put her mouth over my hand but won't bite down, but I can tell she doesn't like it and she will bite harder if I continue. So I'm wondering if you have ever had this problem, and can suggest a way to cut nails on a guinea pig who bites.

Your reply will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

cutting the back nails
cutting the back nails  

cutting the front nails
cutting the front nail  
Yes, I'm very familiar with clipping the nails. That's something that must be done on a regular basis. The trick is to have a good grip on your pig. These pictures are of a boar of mine and can help give you an idea on how to hold them.

Hold your pig on her back in the crook of your arm in the same way you see this boar. Since I'm right handed I put him in the bend of my left arm. You're using your body and your arm to grip the pig firmly enough that it can't wiggle.

For the front feet just use your left hand to get a firm grip on the front nails, just as you see me doing in the back nails. You can stabilize her head tight enough with your arm that she can't reach down and nip you.

I find that small cat clippers work the best on guinea pigs. They're small enough to easily get the nipper itself over the nail.  Don't fret or worry if you hit the quick. It may bleed a little but just put some cornstarch or flour on the tip of the nail and it will stop the bleeding. Remember that these are veins not arteries, so your pig will not bleed to death if you accidently hit the vein.

I would recommend that to start with you just take the very sharp tip off the nail. As you become more comfortable handling her to do the job you can take more off. But usually just the very end is all you need to clip.

Hope this helps you.

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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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