Pig hoof care and trimming

Written by: Bria Osborne, OVC 2026

Edited by: Dr. Paisley Canning

Proper hoof care and maintenance is one of the most important aspects of pet pig care. Providing your pig with hoof trims is one way to ensure that your pig remains mobile and happy.  

Pig Hoof Anatomy 

All pigs have 4 digits on each foot. They have 2 weightbearing digits and 2 non weightbearing dewclaws. Both weight bearing toes and dewclaws require maintenance for pig health and comfort.  

Pigs have a fleshy heel and a keratinous sole and hoof wall.  Like dogs and cats, pig hooves also have a quick that will bleed if cut too short.  

See below Figure 1 and Figure 2 for a visual demonstration of pig hoof anatomy. 

Photo Credit: American mini pig association

Figure 1: An underside view of a pig’s hoof. Note the location of the heel vs the sole. This photo demonstrates how the claws should be balanced and shaped.

Photo Credit: American mini pig association

Figure 2: A side view of a pig hoof. Note the angle of the sole and hoof wall in comparison to the phalanx bones.  

Why do pigs need hoof trims? 

When a pig’s hooves get overgrown, they can become cracked or misaligned. Significant pressure and pain can result on your pigs’ joints, ligaments, and hooves. Poor hoof maintenance can result in exacerbated arthritis development. The aim of a hoof trim is to provide balanced claws (figure 4) and a flat walking surface (figure 3).  

Photo Credit: Mini pig info

Figure 3: Above is the summarized process of a hoof trim. Note how a flat walking surface is restored and the hoof wall follows the angle of the Phalynx bone (as seen in figure 2). 

Photo Credit: American mini pig association

Figure 4: Above is a set of hooves post hoof trim. Note how the claws are even and balanced.  

How often do pigs need a hoof trim? 

It is recommended to get your pig’s hooves trimmed one to two times a year. However, environment, nutrition, genetics, and lifestyle can affect how long your pigs can go in between trims. Having Dr. Canning out to access your pig can help you get an idea of what schedule may work for your pig.  

What are my options for hoof trimming? 

There are a handful of options to consider for hoof trims. Knowing your pig’s temperament and working closely with your veterinarian can help you make the safest and best decision for your pigs. At Upper Thames, we are able to provide you with a custom hoof trimming plan for your pig. 

Some options include doing it yourself with your pig un-sedated or with light sedative medication prescribed to you by your veterinarian. Having Dr. Canning pay a visit to your pig to complete a non-sedate hoof trim, or a full sedation hoof trim is another option we offer.  

Providing a well-balanced diet is essential for proper hoof care

Having your pig eat a balanced and complete diet is important for ensuring proper hoof growth. An incomplete or non-balanced diet can cause deficiencies in your pig that can result in poor hoof quality and discomfort.  

If you have questions regarding what is included in the hoof trims provided by Upper Thames, are looking for more information on proper hoof care, or want to know what hoof trim procedure would fit your pig best, please do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Canning regarding hoof trims or hoof care. You can contact the clinic at [email protected], or on facebook.com/upperthamesvs. 


Potbellied Pig Veterinary Medicine by Kristie Mozzachio

Last updated on August 8th, 2023.