Do You Need to Trim Guinea Pig Nails?

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Are you supposed to trim guinea pig nails? 

That’s an excellent question, especially if you notice that your piggies’ overgrown nails are causing them discomfort. 

While the short answer is “yes,” there’s a lot to learn before you just grab some clippers and start cutting.

Keep reading to learn more!

Are You Supposed to Trim Guinea Pig Nails?

a lady trimming the brown cavy's nails

Guinea pigs are low-maintenance pets that need regular grooming/brushing, an occasional bath, and plenty of cuddles.

But what about their nails? Do I have to trim guinea pig nails? The short answer is yes, and let me explain why. 

Your cavy’s nails don’t stop growing, so leaving the claws intact means that they’ll become too long and cause extreme discomfort. 

As such, your cavy needs regular nail trimming. Ignoring your cavy’s nails can have dangerous consequences, as you’ll find in a bit. 

What Do You Need to Cut Guinea Pigs’ Nails?

Nail clipping your cavy’s claws is easier than you imagine. All you need are guinea pig nail trimmers, a paper towel, styptic powder, and safe snacks to relax your piggy.   

The biggest challenge is holding your cavy still while you’re trimming their claws. But you can wrap your cavy in a towel or ask a friend to help. The rest is practice. 

CHECK: How to Trim Guinea Pig Nails

Watch this video for an actual demonstration:

When Should I Cut Guinea Pigs Nails?

Once you have a secure hold on your cavy’s feet and claws, you have to locate the quick. That’s the nail’s blood supply, and cutting at it will be painful for your furry friend. 

Usually, it’s easy to see the quick in animals with light nails (the pink stuff inside), and the golden rule is to trim the claws just above the quick. 

However, if your cavy has darker nails, it can be tricky to see the quick. You can use a flashlight to shine under the black nail or err on the side of caution and trim only 1/4 inch of the tip. 

Don’t worry too much if you cut the quick. It’s painful for your cavy but not life-threatening. Use clothing powders or a styptic pencil to stop the bleeding. 

How Often Should You Cut Your Cavy’s Nails? 

a lady trimming guinea pig nails

In general, your cavy needs nail trims at least once a month, but the frequency varies from animal to animal.

More frequent nail clipping sessions are necessary if you’re dealing with curled nails to get them to a proper length. 

4 Risks of Not Trimming Your Guinea Pig Nails 

By now, you’re probably wondering why trimming your cavy nails is so important and what happens when you overlook your duties. So, let’s discuss the risks. 

#1 Risk of Infection 

Since your cavy’s nails grow constantly, they start to curl without regular trimming. That’s more dangerous than you think. 

The overgrown nails can pierce the footpad and cause wounds. If these wounds get infected, your piggy will need emergency treatment.

#2 Painful Movement 

Walking around with overgrown nails is very painful for your piggy. As such, they may stop doing their normal activities and become immobile. That’s not good for your pet’s overall health. 

#4 Mental Problems 

As the Humane Society explains, guinea pigs are social animals. When they can’t interact with their playmates or owners due to overgrown nails, your cavy won’t be happy.

#5 Trimming Gets Harder

When you don’t cut the claws at least once a month, the quick grows down the nail. As such, It gets harder to trim the nails without cutting the blood vessels.


Can You Use Human Nail Clippers on Guinea Pigs?

small human nail clipper

Yes, you can use human clippers to cut your cavy’s claws if you don’t have any animal or baby clippers around the house. 
But animal guillotine-style clippers are better because they don’t squeeze the nails and cause less discomfort for your furry friend. 

How Do You Fix Overgrown Guinea Pig Nails?

Unfortunately, you can’t cut overgrown nails to their usual length because the quick grows down the nails, and they’ll bleed. 
You’ll have to clip the nails’ tips weekly until they reach the proper length. And consult your vet to check for footpad wounds. 

Where Can I Get My Guinea Pig Nails Clipped?

If you’re too scared to trim your piggy’s nails, you can take your pet to the vet or a groomer to do it for you. Some rescue centers for small animals can also do it. 

What to Do if You Cut the Quick on a Guinea Pig?

Don’t panic, and apply clotting powder or styptic pencil to stop the bleeding. If you don’t have any available, you can squeeze the nail until it stops bleeding. 

Does it Hurt to Cut Guinea Pig Nails? 

cavy with long overgrown nails but are you supposed to trim guinea pig nails

Trimming your cavy’s claws is no more painful than cutting your own nails. As long as you don’t cut into the quick, your pet won’t feel a thing. 


Do I have to trim my guinea pig nails? Yes, you do. It’s the best way to ensure your cavy’s physical and mental wellbeing and prevent injuries from curled nails.

Get your furry pet used to the nail clipping routine as soon as possible and reward them with food to turn nail trimming into a positive experience.

What do you think about this topic? Is it hard for your to take care of your cavy’s nails? Share your experience in the comment section. 


  • “Guinea Pigs: The Right Pet for You?” 2021. The Humane Society of the United States. 2021.
  • Guliana. 2021. “3 Things That Can Happen If You Don’t Cut Your Guinea Pig’s Nails.” Pocket Sized Pets. Mason. January 23, 2021.
  • Hanford, Monique. 2018. “How to Cut Guinea Pig Nails: A Comprehensive Easy-To-Follow Guide.” Guinea Piggles. November 11, 2018.
guinea pig with long nails

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Grigorina grew up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped her into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). She has two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but she also feeds her neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them. Follow her on FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM
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