trimming a guinea pigs nails
January 3, 2004 5:21 AM   Subscribe

How do you trim a guinea pig's nails ? (more)

Sounds easy, right? NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

These nails grow constantly and don't wear down like they would in the wild. Guinea pigs are notorious for hating to have them trimmed, and at best it is a two-person job. Complicating things is the fact that if you stress one out too much it really could get sick and die.

Ours has some nails actually starting to curl over- we tried again last night to trim and the darn thing tried to nip my daughter-and guinea pigs normally do not bite. Other than having to pay the expense for a vet visit to get it done, what to we do????
posted by konolia to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love the little critters! G-pig nail trimming, 101.
posted by iconomy at 5:58 AM on January 3, 2004

Wrap him/her up in a towel firmly, leaving the foot that you want to trim exposed. It's slightly tricky with guinea pigs because of their short limbs, but it works great-- immobilizes the animal effectively. One person can do it that way.

Other thing to keep in mind-- be super moderate and don't hit the quick (especially with an animal as prone to shock as a guinea pig.) This technique works especially well with cats and rabbits.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:04 AM on January 3, 2004

Oh PS - I'll call my boss and ask her if she has any tips - she has 7 g-pigs. There may be something you can give them that'll calm them down for a little while, kind of like smoking a hive to calm the bees.
posted by iconomy at 6:04 AM on January 3, 2004

Google is cool
posted by matteo at 10:19 AM on January 3, 2004

I should have made it clear-I wanted some personal experience. I googled when we were first given the pig, and it all sounds so easy until you have a real guinea pig on your hands.

(This one may be a tad more nervous than most-the previous family found out they were allergic, and he didn't get handled much there.)

I could also take donations-a quarter apiece from a few of you and I could afford the vet bill to have him or her do it. Heh.
posted by konolia at 11:09 AM on January 3, 2004

Iconomy, if this winds up in archive, email me if your boss has any suggestions. I guess we could spike his carrots with something. ;-)
posted by konolia at 11:10 AM on January 3, 2004

I just talked to her and she didn't have any secret tricks, unfortunately. She said it's important to do the same thing every time, so that the pig knows what's coming. Her routine - her 14 yr old daughter holds each one and pets it for about 15 minutes, and feeds it a special treat that it only gets when it gets its nails trimmed. Then she (my boss) firmly grasps each leg and just trims a tiny bit each time. After the nails are cut, they continue petting and feeding the pig for a few minutes, and then put them back and repeat with another pig. This whole process started out taking about 4 hours, she told me! But now that the pigs know the routine, it takes about an hour and a half, and she says that they look forward to it now and there's a lot of squealing and excitement when they see the special treats ;) She also said that you might want to wear a leather glove on the hand you hold the pig with, in case of "nibbles", but not on the hand you pet the pig with. Hope this helps!
posted by iconomy at 11:52 AM on January 3, 2004


I don't have leather gloves but I plan on letting someone ELSE do the holding. Some of Matteo's links had some good methods to try.

But I don't believe for one minute that her pigs actually look forward to the trims. Nope, nope, nope. Sorry!
posted by konolia at 4:29 PM on January 3, 2004

I kinda liked the tennis racket idea, letting their legs dangle.
posted by mischief at 11:18 PM on January 3, 2004

I just borrowed a badminton racket and will be trying it today.
posted by konolia at 4:38 AM on January 4, 2004

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