How To Cut Guinea Pig Nails? What Happens If You Don’t?

As we watch our little fur of happiness run and jump around, we may often see the tiny nails on their paws grow very long.

It is not recommended to let it grow for too long as safety measures. Instead, as owners, we must groom them, and that includes, clipping their little tiny nails.

To prevent any mishaps that may lead to hurt your little pet, here are the following guidelines that can supply you the information that you need before attempting to conduct it.

Grooming Nail Accessories

Before clipping your guinea pig's nails, it is essential to gather the necessary equipment first. This process helps you to ensure that the overall nail-cutting session will go smoothly.

To know what you need, here are the following materials;

Nail Clippers

Animal clippers can be used, but if not available, baby nail clippers can also do the job. Though, it can be more painful for your guinea pig as human nail clippers tend to squeeze the nail together.

Using the nail clippers designed for animals can keep the overall process at ease. They are also guillotine-styled, which are exclusively designed for your little pet's nails. You can try both styles to know what is your furry pet's preference and use what it would most likely prefer.

Styptic Powder

Always ensure that you have styptic powder at hand, in case an accident occurs in the middle of cutting their nails. It helps to quickly stop the bleeding and is useful in doing so. It is mostly found at your local pharmacy or grocery store.

If not available, flour or corn starch can be used as an alternative. Place at least one-fourth of a teaspoon on a paper towel or tissue to have quick access to stop the bleeding.


In times wherein your guinea pig tends to be difficult while attempting to trim their nails, you can wrap them up in a hand towel to restrain them. Always use the same towel to provide comfort. Do not wrap your pet too tightly, as it may cause them to overheat or suffocate.

A Step-By-Step Process To Clip Your Guinea Pig’s Nails

To prevent the mishaps from happening ever so often, you need to be equipped with the proper instructions needed to trim their nails successfully. We would not want our cute little pet to get hurt and bleed, especially with their adorable little presence.

To do this, here is the following step-by-step process:

1. Relax Your Guinea Pig

You can relax your little pet by petting him gently, or by giving him little treats. A small piece of bell pepper or carrot can be used, or any other vegetables. Though, keep in mind that he should not have any food while conducting the trimming process because he might get tempted.

2. Hold His Leg Out

Choose a leg to start with and gently pull it towards you. Your guinea pig may wiggle during this attempt, but it is only natural. If it is too much, release it and let it relax before trying again.

3. Secure The Nail

Steady the nail by using your index finger and thumb. Always remember to not squeeze the leg too tightly, as it may frighten them. Select the nail at the end of his foot at first, then work your way through the rest one at a time to have easier access.

4. Get The Nail Clipper

Hold the nail clipper using your free hand. Position it to the nail that you want to trim.

5. Find The “Quick”

The “quick” is a tissue area in your little pet's nail which contains all the blood vessel, and accidentally cutting it may cause bleeding. With this, you should be careful of its location before actually cutting the nail.

It is easier to look for in clear and almost transparent nails than those with a dark shade. A quick would appear darker than the rest of the nails, and for clearer nails, it is pink in color.

6. Clip The Nail

Once you have found the quick, trim the nail below it. If you are unsure if it is the quick, consider trimming a small portion at a time; in case the nail bleeds, merely apply the styptic powder to stop it. Do not worry; this error is not anything serious.

If your guinea pig seems to be restless, it is essential to let him settle down before proceeding to cut the rest of the nails.

The Disadvantage of Letting It Grow

Clipping your guinea pig's nail is an important part of your grooming routine, to prevent the quick from getting longer and keep its desired length. Failure to comply with this grooming essential can lead to the discomfort of your pet.

Their nails tend to curl and dig into their foot pads, allowing open wounds due to overgrown nails. A bumble foot can result due to this occurrence. On the long run, it can turn into osteoarthritis or osteomyelitis.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many times should you trim you Guinea Pig Nails?

It is best to clip your little pet’s nails at least once a month. Though, you can do it more often depending on how fast it grows. It is not best to leave it long since the quick gets longer as time goes by which make it difficult to clip their nails.

The regular clipping helps their nails to be in good shape for running and walking.

2. What do I do if I accidentally cut their quick?

Even at the most careful of times, you can still end up cutting the blood vessel in their nail or "quick," especially if it is not that visible. Do not worry, even if your guinea pig squeals and shows discomfort.

Instead, act quick and stop the bleeding using styptic powder, corn starch, or pressing it on a bar of soap. If it is minor, simply apply pressure at the tip, and it will stop at no time. Keep in mind that you should ensure that it has stopped the bleeding, before letting him back in his home.

Final Thoughts

It is essential to know how to properly trim the guinea pig's nails and to prevent errors in doing so such as cutting into the quick that may result in bleeding. Knowing it is one thing while practically doing it is another.

Do not be afraid to make some errors throughout the process, for it is fine to commit mishaps. In case it happens, apply the initial remedy to soothe your little pet.

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