How to Trim Your Pet Pig's Hooves
Most pigs are not comfortable being restrained so having their hooves trimmed can be a challenge. Your Veterinarian can trim your pet pig’s hooves for you, but may require your pig to be sedated. For the pet pig owner who would like to trim their pig’s hooves themselves, here a few basic steps to help you out.
1. Touch Your Piglets Feet
It is best to touch your piglet’s feet often when they are young to get them used to the feeling. When your pig is relaxing next to you or lying on your lap, gently touch, move and play with their feet so the become used to having their feet touched. Pigs enjoy having their belly rubbed, being brushed or scratched so while they are having a happy, relaxed moment, pick up and hold each foot one at a time for a moment so the pig gets used to the feeling and will not be afraid as it gets older to allow you to trim its nails.
2. Filing Your Pigs Nails
The traditional pig’s foot has two toes and two dewclaws. The mule footed pig’s foot has one high heel shaped toe with two dewclaws Each toe is surrounded with a hard nail similar to a humans toenail. Each hoof has nerves and blood vessels in it that are sensitive so be careful and gentile when trimming. There is a soft pad on the bottom of each hoof. A nail file can be introduced slowly, doing one hoof at a time. If your pig becomes upset or does not want to cooperate, stop and give them a treat or a belly rub to reduce their uneasiness. All four hooves do not need to be done at the same time. Go slow and work on your pet’s hooves a little at a time.
3. Using Hoof Trimmers.
Using a nail file on young piglet’s hooves is fine, but you will probably want to use a curved blade or blunted ended clippers as your pig grows due to the hardness of their nails as they get older. While your pig is resting, you should look at the bottom of its hoof. Check your pigs hoof for a build up of dried flaky nail on the bottom. You will want to remove this build up first because is can cause a pig to stand incorrectly, and by removing it, you will be able to see exactly where to trim its hooves without injury or pain. Using your trimmers, trim the underside of the nail until the entire flaky nail is gone. You will come to smooth nail. You want to have the bottom of the nail flat with or just higher than the pad. After that is accomplished, cut back both sides of the nail and blunt the end. Do not clip between the toes on the inside edge. You can then smooth the rough edges with a nail file (a metal file may work best). Do not leave any sharp edges. The dewclaws can be shortened on the sides with the trimmer, leaving a blunt cut. Smooth out the edges using a file and you are done.
**** Allowing your pig to play outside or to walk on cement will help keep its hooves worn down. Many pigs will almost never need a hoof trimming if they are allowed to wear them down naturally.