Guinea pigs' enclosures should have a smooth and/or soft surface, and not mesh. They have no hair or protection on the bottom of their feet and a wire surface will cause them to develop foot sores. However, if they are kept on smooth plastic or grass all the time, the downside is that their toenails will not be worn down, but will keep on growing. This means they need regular clipping.
Paws for thought… Your guinea pigs’ nails will need trimming
Guinea Pig Toenails
Guinea pigs have four toes on their front feet, and three on their back feet, so there are 14 toenails to manicure. Each nail has a blood vessel or quick running down its centre. If your guinea pig has white nails this will be easy to see, and you can trim just the tip of the nail, avoiding the quick. The quick is harder to see if the nail is dark.
If you accidentally cut the quick, hold some cotton wool on the wound and the pressure will quickly stop the bleeding. Alternatively you can buy styptic pencils containing silver nitrate from a pharmacy, to keep in your emergency med-box.
If you are nervous about trimming your guinea pigs' nails, a vet or other expert will be able to do it for you (for a small fee).
Megan, 16 April 2016
One of the toe nails on my guinea pig is dark and looks bad. All of the other nails on the other feet look fine. What do I do about this?