Guinea pig claws

Cataria

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Any one know anything about guinea pigs?

So my brother's family got two guinea pigs probably about a year ago -- I've never seen them or heard too much about them, but they are going on vacation and asked my parents to babysit the guinea pigs. Since I adore animals, I went over to visit them since I've never really gotten to play with a guinea pig before and don't know anything about them.

I interacted with them a bit, they seemed pretty skittish, but eventually I was able to pick one up -- and immediately noticed the claws were just not right. Again, I know nothing about guinea pigs, but I'm pretty sure nothing is supposed to have long, curled claws that were twisted and stuck around each other. Looked at the other guinea pig and it wasn't much better. I happened to have nail clippers on me, and they fortunately had white nails so it was easy to see the quick, so I figured it wasn't rocket science, a claw is a claw, and I did my best to trim them. I definitely got the twisted parts off, but they still seem a little long and are curling under in places. I didn't feel comfortable going any further because most of the rest of the claw was pink like it was the quick of the nail.

Does anyone have any examples of what healthy guinea pig claws should look like? I'm hoping the claw curl is normal and that there isn't anything wrong with the claws now that they are trimmed.

I want to talk to my brother and his family about the importance of keeping the claws trimmed, but I'm not sure what to say. I only really know about cats and am learning about rabbits now that I have one. From what I can tell they seem good otherwise -- based on what I know about rabbits their diet sounds logical, healthy, and including high quality food and their cage seems decent (albeit a little small, but I don't know the space requirements for guinea pigs), I think it's just the claw thing. It feels weird for me to tell them they are doing something wrong when they are the ones that have had the guinea pigs for a year and I've never even touched one before today, but my gut tells me something is wrong.
 

Furballsmom

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Bless your heart for helping them! Type in guinea pig claw clipping and there are a number of videos and info :)
 

LTS3

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Normal guinea pig claws:



The claws are always growing, much like cat claws or people fingernails. They need to be trimmed regularly. If the curling is bad, a vet will need to trim the claws down because sedating the guinea pig may be needed.

Minimum cage requirement is 30 inches by 36 inches for a single guinea pig. Two guinea pigs need at least 30 inches by 50 inches. Guinea pigs don't climb or stand on their back legs so vertical height doesn't matter much but a 12 inches high or so is good. Many pet store cages sold for guinea pigs are too small.
 
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Cataria

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Thank you both! Based on the picture it definitely looks like those claws will need more work. I'll try to stop by this weekend and give them another clipping, maybe the quick receded some. They held still enough for me to clip the worst of it the first time, so I think I should be able to handle it.

I think the cage they are currently in is the minimum size for *one* guinea pig, unfortunately. :/ They might have a bigger cage at home, but I'll have to ask.
 
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Cataria

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I did a second trimming of their claws today! Looking better, but still not quite like the picture.

I did however confirm that the cage they are currently in is actually one of several cages they have at home, and the multiple cages are all attached together somehow. So it sounds like they are good on their space requirement, thank goodness!
 

Furballsmom

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You're so terrific ❤ sorry for the wonky spelling in my post above, I didn't catch it in time to fix it :)
 

CuriousKittens

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Guinea pig nails can also be thicker than the photo provided (sometimes a lot), but they shouldn't be long enough to curl significantly.
 
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