What to do when a guinea pig passes away
The unimaginable has happened, and now you’re looking for guidance on what to do next. You may have not expected this to happen, and it can be shocking especially if it’s sudden.
Death is natural and inevitable, even if we don’t really realize it until we lose the ones we love.
We’re sorry for your loss, and it’s important that you allow yourself and your guinea pigs to properly grieve in a healthy way.
Allow your guinea pigs to grieve
Just like humans, guinea pigs have their own personalities and their own reactions to different things, even with things like grief.
In general guinea pigs are herd animals that enjoy companionship, and they need piggy friends in order to thrive.
It’s important for them to understand what has happened to their friend, and to know that they are gone.
When a guinea pig has passed, allow the other piggies to cuddle up to them if they want to and give them at least 30 minutes with the piggy’s body, or however much time it takes for them to realize and understand.
Does your guinea pig need help?
During a difficult time like this, your guinea pigs need all the support and attention they can get.
It’s important to keep an eye on them and be observant of their personalities and their eating habits in the days following the loss of your other piggy.
The personalities of the remaining guinea pigs may even change a bit in light of the loss, and they may even be less active than usual.
Reduction of appetite can be normal, but if they stop eating completely, this is cause for concern and you should consult your vet at this point.
What else can you do for your guinea pig?
If your guinea pig had been part of a herd of piggies, then this next bit of advice may not apply to your situation.
For others who only had a close pair of guinea pigs, losing their friend can be quite hard on them. We always like to make sure this is emphasized, but guinea pigs are herd animals. They need each other to live well and happily.
If you’re not in a position where you’re able to adopt another guinea pig, it’s important to give your remaining one extra attention, whether it be in the form of cuddles, extra treats, or even more bonding time with you.
Cremation or Burial
Ultimately, it’s up to you and which you prefer to do with their body. Just be aware of the pet burial laws in your area. For example, in California, you’re not able to bury pets in your own backyard, and especially not close to water sources.
If you want a pet burial, it has to be in a cemetery of some sort. If your pet was euthanized at the vet’s rather than dying naturally, you usually won’t be allowed to bring their body home for burial. Many vets also offer cremation, you just have to ask them for more information on their services in that regard.
There are two kinds of cremation services when it comes to pets. One involves other animals being cremated with yours, and you’re not able to keep the ashes. The other is just an individual cremation, and you’re able to have the ashes sent to you.
How to help yourself
Grief is very real and it takes a toll on your body, no matter who you lose. It’s important to allow yourself to grieve properly and feel all the emotions that come with it. You’ve created this bond and attachment to your piggy, and being sad about your loss is understandable and expected.
Try to stay positive and remember all the good times you had with your piggy, and try to focus on the moments where they were happy and healthy.
Again, it’s important for both you and your guinea pigs to grieve the loss of your friend. With time it will get easier, but don’t be afraid to reach out for help, whether it’s for you or your guinea pigs.
I lost my most favourite guinea pig last weekend. She got heatstroke. I took her to the Emergency in the Small Animal Specialist Hospital. Unfortunately we could not save her life. I’m very sad. And I feel sorry that I didn’t give the remaining guinea pigs the opportunities to say good bye before we put her sleep in peace. Now the little body is frozen in the hospital. I will bring her back to bury. I wonder if it is wiseable to place the little body back in the cage to let the other guinea pigs to say goodbye. As the little body is frozen, the others may not recognise her? I’m not sure. I would like to have some advice.
I lost my heart pig last May and her absence still pains me beyond relief. Thank you for this article.
We unexpectedly lost our most tame piggy yesterday. I am so sad it physically hurts. I’m trying to focus on the good times, rather than the loss, but it’s going to take time.
Thank you for your support. One of my guinea ladies passed away yesterday morning and I am a mess inside. Her roommate was able to smell her after she passed and so far seems to be doing okay. Doing my best to focus on her but I am still pretty heartbroken right now.
We just lost a Guinea Girl. One of two. We are not in a position to get another Guinea pig, but I was wondering if it would be a could idea to re-herd her with another herd? I have a friend who has two Guinea pigs, younger than my girl, but my girls were shy girls. Even after 4 years after rescuing them. Im just not sure and any guidance would be appreciated. ☺️
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