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What To Do When Your Guinea Pig Dies

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Tim Rhodes

Having to deal with a dead guinea pig isn’t easy for anyone.

Although it’s been a few years when you were reading about all the things you should know as a new guinea pig pet owner, it seems like yesterday.

Death is a part of life, and you know it.

Yet, the fear of loss or knowing your pet is dying (or has died) makes you feel awful and you don’t know what to do.

Unfortunately, most small rodents such as guinea pigs don’t live long, so you should always be prepared to say goodbye.

Guinea pigs typically live five to eight years, provided they have not been seriously injured or ill before that date.

So if you’re in a situation where you have to deal with a dead guinea pig or you’re preparing for the loss of your pet, then this is for you.

I hope this article helps answer these crucial questions.

If your guinea pig is near the end of its life, there are steps you can take to make its last moments more comfortable.

What To Do When Your Guinea Pig Dies?

Even in your worst times, you have to be prepared to find out what you can do when your guinea pig dies.

How to Know If Your Guinea Pig Is Dying?

First of all, watch your guinea pig’s behavior.

As the end of your guinea pig’s life draws near, you may notice some signs.

However, there are no behavioral indicators that are 100% guaranteed that your guinea pig will die.

Some guinea pigs may show no signs of death, while others may appear to be dying and continue for a long time.

Some of the possible signs include:

  • Anorexia
  • Slow movement or low activity
  • Incontinence
  • Less desire to play
  • Difficulty breathing

How Old Is Your Guinea Pig?

Unless you saw when your guinea pig was born (or obtained it from someone who knows its date of birth), you probably don’t know its age.

Relatively predictable signs of aging can be used to estimate the age (and lifespan) of an animal.

It’s recommended that this assessment be performed by a veterinarian.

Signs of aging include:

  • Thick twisted toes
  • Cataracts (cloudy eyes)
  • Bumps/lumps in the body or head
  • Joint stiffness

Notice the signs of fatigue and slow movements

Your guinea pig may become less agile and move more slowly with age.

If the animal is no longer able to climb slopes, stand or walk a lot, its body will likely become more fragile.

Always pay attention to your guinea pig’s energy level compared to when he was younger and in better health.

Some guinea pigs are completely unstable.

If you have it, slowness might not be a negative sign.

The constant fatigue of a guinea pig can also be the result of the animal being overweight.

Try to keep your pet at a healthy weight, always watch his diet and keep him at a normal level.

If your rabbit appears sick, injured, or dying, see a doctor.

In addition to providing treatment that could save the animal’s life, your veterinarian will be able to keep you informed about the health of your guinea pig and let you know if anything can be done to save the animal’s life.

A guinea pig can experience a lot of pain when it’s old or terminally ill (depending on the type of disease); if your vet tells you the animal is in this condition, consider euthanasia.

In some cases, this is the most humane option.

How To Make the End of Your Guinea Pig’s Life Easier?

Keep your guinea pig with its companions, guinea pigs are social creatures.

If you have several guinea pigs, avoid separating them, especially if one of them is dying.

Parting with small pigs can make them sad or anxious, and it shouldn’t be done when the pig’s life is drawing to a close.

It may be necessary to isolate a sick guinea pig if it’s in pain or if other piglets want to play with it aggressively.

You have to judge for yourself whether or not to isolate the animal, depending on its condition.

Place a small, light blanket or soft cloth on or around the animal to protect it from the cold and help it relax.

Your guinea pig may start to experience incontinence as he gets older, so try changing blankets regularly to keep your pet clean and comfortable.

The sensitivity of various animals (and humans) to cold increases as they age or end of life, so it’s recommended that you keep your guinea pig’s environment warmer than usual to greatly increase their comfort.

Use material or fabric that your guinea pig uses to make it more comfortable.

Your guinea pig will become weaker and will not be able to feed and drink water on its own when it dies so you’d have to help your guinea pig with necessities.

You can make your life easier by serving water with a spoon, syringe, or bottle.

Prepare a “vitamin” to feed your guinea pig by beating hay, water, and ground fodder.

Do not force an animal to eat or drink if it does not want to.

The intention is to make water and food more accessible if they cannot be obtained on their own.

Always beat food well before presenting it to your guinea pig so that it does not have to spend precious energy chewing.

Show affection to your pet.

Gently stroke your guinea pig to calm it down and express your affection.

This will help your guinea pig feel less alone and can reduce their fear and anxiety.

If you want to hug him, do it however he wants and don’t cause unnecessary pain or discomfort.

Many guinea pigs like to be lightly beaten on the forehead.

If your pet enjoys this type of foreplay, do it when he’s dying.

Observe the little pig’s body language and sounds and always adjust its physical contact with it appropriately.

Avoid touching it in a way that could be painful.

Lastly, create a calm environment.

Your guinea pig will feel more comfortable in a warm and calm environment, with neither too strong nor too weak clarity.

The calming sounds of nature (such as birdsong or the sound of a stream) can be fun for the piglet too.

Besides, it’s recommended to leave some space for your guinea pig during the last moments of his life so that he dies in peace.

Remember to visit him often to provide him with water and food.

If your guinea pig likes a particular toy, leave it close to him.

Just having the items he likes can help calm him down.

Treat your guinea pig like a child trying to sleep; anything that can disrupt a baby’s naps is also likely to bother the animal.

How to Cope with the Loss of your Guinea Pig?

Decide what to do with the remains

When your guinea pig dies, you must decide what to do with his remains.

You can do whatever you want with the remains, as long as they are a healthy option and they are kept out of the reach of children and other pets.

The loss of a guinea pig is a very painful moment.

Whatever the circumstances of his death, this stage is difficult for many to go through.

The first question will be to know what becomes of his body.

If the law is strict on animals, the final decision is yours among the various options available to you.

Cremation, burial, or whatever, it’s up to you to decide what to do with your guinea pig according to your convictions, your sensitivity, and your means.

You are not alone with this choice; the vet is there to answer your questions.

What to do with the Body of a Deceased Guinea Pig?

Distraught, drowned in grief, you may not always know what to do when your guinea pig dies.

What do you do with your little body?

First thing, you cannot throw your dead guinea pig in the trash.

Instead, you can do any of the following.

Bury your guinea pig after its death

If you don’t want to cremate your guinea pig, you have the option of burying it in your backyard or an animal cemetery.

Bury your guinea pig in your garden

You should know that if you own your home, you can bury your guinea pig in the garden as long as it’s not next to a water source, and your guinea pig is wrapped in a box, cardboard, or cloth.

Don’t make use of plastic bags.

Any animal weighing less than 40 kg can be buried in a particular garden, so this is the case with guinea pigs.

However, you must follow certain instructions.

  • Your animal’s grave must be at a minimum distance of 35 meters from other houses and water points (wells, springs, etc.), it should be at least four feet deep so that no other animal can dig it up
  • The body of your guinea pig should be covered with a biodegradable object such as a cloth, a wooden box, or cardboard, and not a plastic container.
  • You can also place it on the ground and cover the skin with quicklime

This free solution (apart from the purchase of quicklime) allows you to keep the body of your little companion near you.

Some mark the site of a tree or flowers in tribute.

Bury Your Guinea Pig in an Animal Cemetery

If the law does not allow you to bury your guinea pig in the family vault, you have the option of burying it in an animal cemetery.

There are some and they represent an interesting solution for those who don’t have a garden or who do not wish to bury their guinea pig there.

Check with the town hall of your town to find out the location of the animal cemetery closest to you.

These animal cemeteries are run by private companies that may offer very different services from site to site.

Find out beforehand, because not everything will be allowed.

You may be free to identify your guinea pig’s burial place with a gravestone, a small sign, a photo, etc.

If you live in the city, your vet may arrange for it to be cremated.

It can be done individually, in which case you can collect the ashes in an urn or collectively where the ashes cannot be returned to you.

How Does Cremating Your Guinea Pig Work?

There are companies founded by veterinarians who help bereaved families cope with the death of their animals.

These companies offer various services (private or collective incineration) and always provide support not only for the body of the animal but also for mourners.

Either your veterinarian contacts the nearest incineration center, or you contact one of these companies yourself to make an appointment.

On the day of the cremation, you will be fully taken care of, with all due respect to anyone who has just lost a loved one.

In the end, the ashes will be given to you in an urn to bring them home.

Having the remains at a funeral or tribute can help you cope with the loss of your pet.

Do not use the remains of your dead guinea pig in a way that violates health and safety laws or regulations.

For example, do not dig a grave in someone else’s yard or set fire to a prohibited area.

Show your Pets that your Guinea Pig is Dead

If your guinea pig has other companions (such as a rabbit or another guinea pig), show them the body of the deceased animal.

Many animals know how to recognize the death of another being.

This gesture can help them understand and overcome this situation.

When they notice that a guinea pig has been removed from the cage and never returned, other animals may be sad or anxious, thinking they have been “abandoned”.

It’s not necessary to leave the carcass of a deceased guinea pig with other animals in the cage; just show the body to its companions and let them smell it for a while.

Hold a party in honor of the guinea pig

This can be done in several ways.

The purpose of the ceremony is to recognize the death of the animal while celebrating its life.

These rituals can be isolated events or an occasional activity to honor a pig.

You have to choose something that gives you peace of mind.

Some options include:

Do a funeral service

Share funny stories about your pet with your friends and family.

Look at old photos of your guinea pig.

Plant a flower or tree in honor of the animal

Realize that it’s okay to be sad

It’s quite healthy to feel sad about the loss of your beloved pet.

Accept the feelings associated with the loss of your guinea pig, this will help you cope with the pain more easily.

This process is similar to grieving the loss of a relative or friend.

Seek support from friends, relatives, or groups of people in a similar situation.

Avoid people who don’t understand your difficulties or who don’t have your feelings seriously.

Accept your grief and don’t think your feelings are “insignificant” or “groundless”.

How to Mourn Your Pet?

After many years spent in his company, the loss of a guinea pig is a real test of life.

For grief to be overcome, we must first accept it and then keep only the good memories of this precious animal companion.

Loyal, affectionate, and independent, guinea pigs are kind and warm-hearted pets.

When they disappear, grieving their presence and their affection is a complex and painful stage.

For sorrow to give way to a happy memory, certain steps should not be neglected.

Find emotional compensation

Daily, the discreet presence of a guinea pig quickly becomes habitual.

When he disappears, the owner suddenly realizes how much his pet calms him down.

An owner’s attachment to his guinea pig is mutual and beneficial.

After the loss of a guinea pig, it’s important to look around for a comforting, but different, affection to alleviate this painful lack.

Resume the Course of His Life

In the weeks and months following the loss of a guinea pig, everyday life often unwillingly brings us back to grief that overwhelms us.

His basket, his bowl, and even a few hairs lying around can prevent us from making this essential mourning.

Tidying up his things does not mean wiping him out of our lives.

Getting back on track with his life and moving forward is the best way to keep memories happy and less difficult.

Accept the Stages of Mourning

While some see their guinea pig as a real member of the family, its loss is an emotional upheaval.

To live it naturally, you have to accept your grief and let go of various essential stages.

This includes denial, anger, sadness, and, finally, acceptance which is the last sine qua non-step in rebalancing your emotions.

The duration of these stages depends, of course, on the individuals, their emotionality, and the importance of their relationship with the extinct animal.

Confront the Incomprehension of Those Close to Them

When faced with the loss of a guinea pig, some people show little understanding, especially if they have never owned pets.

Sharing 5, 10, or 15 years of your daily life with an animal is something that’s considered normal.

There is no shame in suffering the loss of a guinea pig.

This sensitivity is spontaneous and natural, no offense to some individuals.

Should I Adopt Another Animal after the Loss of My Guinea Pig?

Before taking back a domestic animal, it’s advisable to let the grieving pass naturally.

Immediately adopting one animal would only serve to make up for the loss of its guinea pig.

All animals are different, their character and personality make them true companions.

The new guinea pig should be treated as a new member of the family and not as the reincarnation of the previous one.

This is the dilemma we face.

Obviously, we never truly replace a companion who has lived by our side for so many years.

This relationship was unique.

For some, the pain is so bad that they do not see themselves taking an animal back and reliving the pain of its loss one day or another.

Others cannot imagine living without an animal to brighten up their daily life.

Anyway, it’s important to ask the right questions and to weigh your motivation.

It’s essential to understand that the new bond will necessarily be different from that of the previous one.

You have to be careful not to ask your new companion to be like the one you have lost: he needs to exist on his own, and not in constant reference to the other who has disappeared.

Although this suffering still seems overwhelming to you, the arrival of a new animal who needs all of your love can ease your pain.

There are so many dogs, guinea pigs, unhappy cats in shelters so why deprive them of your affection?

Final Thoughts

To be deeply sad after the death of your guinea pig is a very human feeling.

Trying to block your grief and not fully express yourself is the worst thing you can do in this kind of ordeal.

On the contrary, you have to express your pain and cry when you feel the need.

By doing this, it’s easier to go through the first stage of the grieving process, which is marked by the denial of the death of your companion, than that of anger or guilt.

This can be induced by the feeling of not having done enough to try to save your guinea pig.

It can also result from the decision to euthanize after all attempts to relieve it have been unsuccessful.

Dealing with the aftermaths of a dead guinea pig isn’t easy but everyone must give themselves the time necessary to achieve this, without trying to bury their feelings, or rush things.

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