Photo Credit For All Images: @hold_onto_your_hooves
To keep your pig healthy and free of pain, you’re going to have to trim their hoofs around twice a year. Long hoofs may cause your pig to walk abnormally or, if they are too long, not even walk at all because of how much it hurts them to do so. Not only do long hoofs cause pain to your mini pig, but they are also not very pleasing to look at.
You can trim your pig’s hoofs yourself, but I would recommend you get a mini pig farrier or your veterinarian to do it for you. It is not a very easy thing to do, so someone with experience will be a much better option. You also don’t want to accidentally cut too short, which will cause your mini pig pain and bleeding.
I would recommend you to try and find a Ferrier in your area because they do not use sedation methods as many veterinarians will to calm your pig down. This is generally not very safe because they really don’t know how your pig will react to the drug. Sometimes it may really harm or even kill them in rare cases.
If you want to trim their hooves yourself, continue reading or Click here to scroll down to that subheading.
How to know if your mini pig’s hoofs are too long
The easiest way to tell if the hoofs on your mini pig are too long is if they start to curl inwards. Hoofs like that will cause pain and discomfort for your mini pig. The image below is an example of a hoof that needs to be trimmed.
In contrast, a pig with trimmed hoofs should look like the image below.
This isn’t the only indicator though. If you start to notice that your mini pig seems to be walking uncomfortably, it’s probably time to get their hoofs trimmed, even if their hoofs don’t appear to be too long. Sometimes it may just be their dewclaws that are outgrown (which are harder to notice).
The dewclaws are the smallest part of a mini pig hoof, as you can see in the image below. These claws can cause discomfort and pain in mini pigs when overgrown, so it’s important to trim them when they get to long.
How often should you trim your pig’s hoofs?
About every 4 to 6 months you should get your mini pig’s hoofs trimmed. Some may grow faster but in general, you shouldn’t wait much longer than 6 months to trim them. Make sure to add hoof trimming into your yearly routine.
Pigs who are very active will probably not need their hoofs to be trimmed as often because they are naturally filed by surfaces they may play on such as concrete. This is the opposite for pigs who aren’t active or are only indoor pigs. Also, some pigs may have deformed hoofs that need correction work done to them. These pigs will probably have to see a farrier or vet quite often.
Deformed hoofs are not common, but they can cause many problems for mini pigs. Beau is an 8-month-old mini pig and unfortunately has a hoof that is very deformed. It is growing upward and is creating a hook that is snagging onto things as he is walking. 8 months is somewhat young for a trim, but Beau needed one before he ended up hurting himself. Check out Beau’s deformed hoof in the image below.
I would recommend that you condition your pig’s hoofs by using products such as Hoof-Alive or simple oils such as coconut oil, almond oil, and safflower oil. Check out Hoof-Alive on Amazon by clicking here. Apply these products to your mini pig’s hoofs once a week to promote better hoof growth.
What is a mini pig hoof farrier and why are they better than the vet?
Mini pig hoof farriers such as @hold_onto_your_hooves (California based) are becoming more popular as of recently. They are specialized in trimming mini pig hoofs and have an arsenal of high-end tools that they use. If you can find one in your area, I would recommend hiring them to trim your pig’s hoofs because they do not use sedation methods to calm your pig down, as many veterinarians do.
These sedation methods are very risky and can have many side effects that hurt your pig, especially if they use ketamine. The Michigan Veterinarian Medical Association says, “This drug can be used safely in pig patients, but it can result in very rough recoveries and sometimes behavioral changes for several days” describing Ketamine. So if you do use your veterinarian to trim your pig’s hoofs, ask them to not sedate your pig.
How to trim your pig’s hoofs yourself
If you want to trim your pig’s hoofs yourself, you may need to purchase a pair of hoof trimmers (link goes to Amazon). Hoof trimmers are a simple tool that will work for trimming most mini pig’s hoofs. If your mini pig’s hoofs are too long, sometimes you may need more heavy-duty tools such as hoof nippers. At that point, I would recommend hiring a pig Ferrier or veterinarian to do it for you to avoid accidentally hurting your pig.
Step 1 – Make sure your pig is very relaxed
Many times when you try to trim your pig’s hoofs, they will squirm around and try to not let you touch them. So waiting until nighttime or a time when they are relaxed is very important.
Step 2 – Lay them on their side or back
Laying them on their back (flip the pig method) is what most mini pig farriers do. This way it is relatively easy to control them if they are squirming too hard. Check out the video below to see how to do it.
Your mini pig won’t enjoy it, but it’s better than the sedation methods used by veterinarians. It is completely harmless to your mini pig and does not involve using drugs to calm them down.
What if they are squirming to much?
Sometimes your pig may simply not let you trim their hooves because they are squirming way too much. If this is happening, I would recommend you wait until nighttime when your pig is very tired. Have whoever your pig trusts the most go up to them and pet them gently to relax them. If they are not already laying down, try to get them to lay on their side (or in some way where you can get to their hoofs). Then while you are petting and keeping your pig calm, have someone come and gently trim their hoofs at the same time.
Step 3 – Begin Trimming
Once you’ve got your pig relaxed on their side, you can begin trimming their hoofs with the hoof trimmers. Make sure that you don’t trim them too short because if you accidentally trim their soft tissue it will hurt your pig and could cause them to bleed. You can usually see their soft tissue through their hoofs if they are cleaned very well.
As you can see in my very poor drawing of a hoof above, the soft tissue is represented by pink, and the hoof is yellow. Make sure not to trim into the soft tissue.
If you are more of a visual learner, watch this video
Questions about hoof trimming
Why trim your mini pig’s hoofs?
If you let your mini pig’s hoofs grow too long, it will surely start to hurt and cause them discomfort over time. In rare cases, it may even cause lameness (inability to walk) if it gets too bad. So make sure you are doing this at least twice a year because it’s very important for the well being of your pig.
Does trimming your pig’s hoofs hurt them?
Trimming your mini pigs hoofs does not hurt them unless you trim there soft tissue under their hoof.