Trimming Pig Feet

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    Pig\'s feet are like any other animal\'s foot. If a hog does not get a set amount of walking and exercise, their feet can grow long and become uncomfortable for them. If you have a pot-bellied pig, it will become necessary to trim their hooves down, but it is an easy process.

    To give you an idea of what you\'ll be cutting, a pig\'s foot consists of two toes with two dewclaws. Each of these toes are encased with a hard nail, with blood vessels in each hoof.

    From Image Zone


    The first step is getting your pig acclimated to you touching their feet. If you plan on getting a pot-belly, handle and touch their feet often so they will know what to expect when the time comes to trim their feet. Rub their bellies as piglets, and associate playtime with rubbing their feet. Place some pressure on their feet as well so they know what to expect. You can do these little play sessions until the pig is comfortable with their feet being held. There are some pigs that do not like having their feet touched, which is why getting them to cooperate will be the hardest part of the session.

    If your pig has a hard time getting his or her hooves trimmed, some pig owners will only trim down one per week so the pig will have groomed feet by the end of the month. Every pig is different, so be mindful of their limits, and adjust based on what they are comfortable with.

    What to Use

    If the pig is young, a file will be the perfect tool as a lightweight method, but you may need to graduate to clippers as they get older. However, switching from a file to clippers will be an easier process, since the pig will be accustomed to your touch. Standard farm shears is also a good alternative.

    From Valley Vet

    One of the best tools you can use will be a pair of stainless steel cutters, since the blades are curved with blunt ends. It is always important to begin the session playfully, such as rubbing its belly or a treat, and ending with another reward.

    Baby Steps

    Begin by either placing the pig on its back or side. You can use a pencil to get a sense of how far you want to trim back the hooves. When it comes to trimming, take your time, and if the pig seems unhappy in any way, it is best to stop the session and try again early. If the pig associates hoof trimming with a negative experience, then you\'ll have problems later down the line. When cutting, trim lightly, and do the same process on the dewclaws, only you can use a nail filer. How far to cut will depend on your preference, but as long as too much trimming is not done, you\'ll be in good territory. It is better to cut too little than too much. If you notice a flaky layer under the hooves, scrape that off for more even footing. Avoid cutting between the toes, and never cut to the soft pads. The underside of the nail should be flat, and the nail should be higher than the pad. As long as the trimmed nails are dull and short, you\'ll have a happy pig. Check out the following videos for a visual demonstration.

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