top of page

Standard of Hoof and Tusk Care for Pet Pigs and the Importance of Choosing an Experienced Provider of Sedation-Free Hoof Care



Proper hoof care is a vital aspect of maintaining the overall health and well-being of pet pigs. This comprehensive guide aims to establish a standard for hoof care practices tailored to pet pigs of different sizes, emphasizing the significance of selecting experienced professionals who prioritize sedation-free care. Additionally, safe handling practices and proper tool choice are highlighted to ensure the safety of both the pigs and the handlers.


1. Handling and Restraint:

Proper handling and restraint techniques are fundamental to ensuring a successful and stress-free hoof care experience for pet pigs. The following guidelines should be observed:

  • Experienced Handler(s): Utilize handler(s) who possess a deep understanding of pig behavior and are adept at handling and restraining them. This knowledge minimizes stress for the pigs and enhances the safety of the procedure.

  • Safe Flipping: When possible, pigs should be “flipped” for hoof care. This should be done by securing the legs opposite the handler and bringing those legs towards the handler in a sweeping motion, ensuring the pig's comfort and safety during the process. The pig should be square on their back and held between the legs of the handler with one leg on either side, just behind the shoulders of the pig.

  • Sedation Considerations: Sedatives should be avoided whenever possible. This includes giving beer or alcohol as a sedative. Even if directed to do so by a veterinarian, beer and alcohol should never be used. Consult with experienced hoof care professionals who specialize in pig hoof care if you have concerns. Sedation-free hoof care is recommended to minimize potential risks associated with sedative use.

  • Collaboration with Veterinarians: In cases of prolonged lameness or underlying health issues, collaboration between veterinarians and pig hoof trimmers can be crucial. Their combined expertise can lead to effective and comprehensive care for pigs with complex hoof-related problems.


2. Tools and Equipment:

Choosing the right tools and equipment is essential for performing efficient and safe hoof trims. Quality and proper maintenance are paramount considerations:

  • Quality Tools: Opt for well-maintained, high-quality tools specifically designed for hoof care. Hoof nippers from farm supply or hardware stores are not be suitable and can lead to suboptimal outcomes.

  • Hoof Nippers: Sharp hoof nippers with thin tolerances are essential for precise trimming. Avoid using nippers designed for larger animals, as they can cause unnecessary trauma to pig hooves.

  • Single Handler Approach: Avoid using nippers with two handlers, as this can lead to uneven pressure and imprecise trimming, potentially causing discomfort and injury to the pig.

  • Tool Choice: Hoof knives are not recommended for pig hoof care due to the risk of accidental injuries. Instead, opt for filing tools such as small rotary tools or hand files, which offer greater control and reduced risk. Additionally, gardening tools such as branch trimmers or shears should not be utilized.


3. Hoof Trimming Procedure:

A systematic and patient approach to hoof trimming is necessary to ensure the pigs' comfort and safety during the procedure:

  • Preparation: Create a comfortable environment for the trimming process, following guidelines provided by your experienced hoof care professional. A well-prepared setting contributes to a smoother procedure. Please see the link below for guidelines:

  • Calming Pigs: Prior to starting the procedure, ensure the pigs are as calm and relaxed as possible. Reducing stress is vital to maintaining a positive experience for both the pigs and the handlers.

  • Secure Flipping: When flipping pigs for hoof care, ensure they are securely held to prevent unnecessary movement or discomfort.

  • Gradual Trimming: Trim the hooves gradually, taking care to avoid sensitive tissues. Precision and patience are key to preventing injuries and maintaining the pigs' well-being.

  • Observation and Adjustment: Continuously monitor the pigs' reactions during the trimming process. If signs of discomfort or stress are observed, be prepared to adjust your approach accordingly.

4. Post-Trim Care:

After the hoof trimming procedure, proper post-trim care ensures the pigs' comfort and ongoing hoof health:

  • Gentle Release: Once the trimming is complete, gently release the pigs from any restraint. This helps alleviate stress and supports a positive overall experience.

  • Monitoring: Monitor the pigs for any signs of discomfort or abnormal behavior post-trim. Promptly address any concerns that may arise.

  • Regular Hoof Care Schedule: Stick to a consistent hoof care schedule to maintain the health of the pigs' hooves. Regular trimming prevents overgrowth, discomfort, and potential complications.



By adhering to the safe handling practices and comprehensive hoof care guidelines outlined in this standard, pet pig owners can ensure the well-being and comfort of their animals during hoof care procedures. Choosing experienced providers of sedation-free hoof care is of paramount importance, as their specialized expertise and dedication to pig-specific needs contribute to optimal outcomes. The collaboration between veterinarians and pig hoof trimmers further enhances the quality of care for pigs, particularly when addressing complex hoof-related issues. Ultimately, this standard promotes the health and happiness of pet pigs while fostering responsible and compassionate animal care practices.

bottom of page