Urban pot bellied pigs are at particular risk of developing overgrown, curved, and misshapen hooves, because of their relative lack of access to uneven or rough terrain on which to wander.
These types of surfaces will often keep hooves down to a manageable level. However, all pot bellied pigs are susceptible to overgrown hooves, especially if they are overweight or older and thus more sedentary.
While it may be a challenge to to give some pigs a pedicure, you can make it easier on yourself and your porcine companion by preparing both you and the pig for the procedure.
Why do you need to trim pot bellied pigs' hooves?
When hooves become overgrown, it creates a condition similar to what would happen to a human if their toenails were allowed to grow unimpeded and curl under the toes themselves. Walking would become difficult and painful, and the gait would change as they tried to adjust their steps to alleviate the pain of walking.
Overgrown hooves can lead to issues with knees and hips as the body attempts to contort itself and compensate for a new pattern of walking.
Infections can also develop as the overgrown hooves form fissures that allow bacteria to enter. This is especially an issue for an animal who walks through a pig-sized quantity of their own feces.
Can a veterinarian trim the hooves?
If live in an area with a vet that treats pot bellied pigs, it can be done more easily because the pig can then be sedated while the trimming is being performed.
However, if you don't have a vet nearby that does this procedure or your pig is just as recalcitrant about being transported as it is about getting a pedicure, it behooves you to do it yourself.
How to trim your pig's hooves
Preparation is the key to success. You must first buy hoof trimmers that are designed for the job, not dog nail clippers or another substitute.
You can then familiarize your pig with the trimmers for a few days before the actual event. Bring them close to their feet and let them inspect and sniff them.
You may wish to try to trim the hooves gradually over a period of a few days. Start along the outer rim of the hooves, and take off a small sliver with each cut. Don't try to cut large portions, because the hooves are very tough and will require a strong effort that may scare the pig.
The most important thing is to avoid the quick, which is the sliver of flesh that runs through the center of the hooves. If you cut the quick only once, the bleeding will usually be minimal, but the memory may last forever, and you'll have a pig who runs (or limps) away at the sight of the hoof trimmer.
Slow and steady wins the race and trims the hooves.
For a veterinarian, contact an organization such as Bay Street Pet Suite Hotel & Day Spa.