Saying goodbye to a pet is never an easy thing to do.
We grow to love our guinea pigs, and when they pass, it is often a difficult time as a pet owner.
Death is a natural part of life, including our beloved guinea pigs.
When your guinea pig dies, you may wonder what to do with the body.
Cremation and burial are the most common options for caring for a guinea pig who has died. It is nice to bury our guinea pigs in a place we love to go to remember them fondly. Cremation is done by a professional and allows you to keep the ashes if you wish or dispose of them safely.
While we hope it is a long time before you have to deal with your guinea pig passing, it helps to know what to do when the time comes.
We’ll go over what to do when a guinea pig dies and what to do with the body.
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What Do I Do When My Guinea Pig Dies?
It is always an unfortunate thing to discover your cute and furry guinea pig has passed away.
Most guinea pig owners grow very attached to their pets and find it difficult to imagine life without them.
Unfortunately, the time will come when they die, and it is essential to know what to do when this happens.
Dealing with the body of our guinea pigs is not a very pleasant experience, but there are ways to make it as painless as possible.
The first way to do this is by having a plan and preparing.
You’ll need somewhere to keep the body before you bury or cremate it.
It’s best to use a small towel and Tupperware.
The towel will cover your poor guinea pig, and the Tupperware will keep out any pests and slow down decomposition.
Once you decide how to say goodbye to your guinea pig, your pet is ready to be put into a container.
If you decide to bury them, it is easy to transfer them into a little box.
If you decide to go with cremation, bringing the container to the veterinary or cremation location is also easy.
Having a plan and the materials ready when your guinea pig starts to get older or gets very sick will help make the transition a bit easier when the time comes.
How To Be Sure My Guinea Pig Is Dead
It may seem morbid, but the first thing you need to do when you think your guinea pig is dead is make sure they are no longer alive.
There are many instances of people thinking their adorable guinea pigs were dead only to discover them up and about a little while later.
This may seem outrageous, but there are a few common circumstances where people mistake their guinea pigs for being dead.
If you feel like your guinea pig has passed, it’s good to wait a few hours or even overnight to see if anything changes.
There are instances where guinea pigs take a few hours to zap back and start moving around.
Pet owners mistake their guinea pigs for dead when they fall into a deep sleep or experience a massive shock.
Guinea pigs sometimes fall into a very deep sleep.
Usually, guinea pigs are very skittish and jump up at the drop of a pin. However, this is not always the case.
Sometimes our cute and cuddly friends fall into a very deep sleep and aren’t as easily woken up as they normally are.
This is alarming to any guinea pig owner who hasn’t experienced it before.
Usually, their minds immediately jump to thinking their guinea pig has passed away.
This is especially true if the guinea pig is older or sick.
Before you jump to the worst possible outcome, take some time to make sure they are dead.
The best way to determine whether or not your guinea pig is in a deep sleep or has passed away is to gently prod them for a few minutes.
Sometimes they need an extra poke to wake them up if they fall into a deep sleep.
It may help to pick them up and move them around if you think they may just be sleeping.
If this doesn’t work, give them a few hours to see if they wake up independently.
If your guinea pig still hasn’t woken up after some gentle prodding or an extended period, your guinea pig likely has passed away.
Another instance where guinea pig parents mistake their beloved pet for the dead is after a major shock.
As you may have noticed from watching your cute pet, guinea pigs are incredibly skittish.
In the wild, guinea pigs are prey animals.
Their instincts dictate they should run and flee from any threat. Sometimes instead of running or hiding, they go into shock.
This happens when your guinea pig comes into contact with a larger animal like a cat or dog most of the time.
Your poor guinea pig will see the larger animal as a predator and freeze up and go into shock.
When this happens, their bodies stiffen, and they don’t seem aware of their surroundings or respond to your voice or touch.
This is an instinctual response for a prey animal like a guinea pig.
While no one wants their guinea pig to go into shock, it is better than them dying.
If you feel your guinea pig may have gone into shock, give them some extra time.
It helps to move them to a quiet and peaceful place like their guinea pig cage to help them feel safe and secure from whatever threat caused them to go into shock.
It sometimes takes quite a bit of time for guinea pigs to come back around, so be patient.
Make sure to give them lots of extra cuddles and quality time to help them feel better.
Related: Will a cat or dog kill a guinea pig?
Burying A Guinea Pig
Many people opt to bury their guinea pigs.
It is a great option for those with a nice yard or garden they frequent.
This way, you and your family have the means of visiting the burial spot whenever they wish.
If you have small children, burying your guinea pig often helps them with the grieving process and saying goodbye.
It helps them have a place to visit their beloved pet after they are gone.
Before you bury your guinea pig, it is essential to make sure you have permission from the property owner to dig up a hole and bury an animal.
Not everyone will be okay with this, so it is vital to ask before starting any burial form.
Once you have permission to bury your deceased guinea pig, there are a few ways to make it a bit more special and give your beloved pet the send-off they deserve.
- Make a nice box for them for a proper burial. Use either cardboard or wood. If you would like to decorate or write their name on the box, this is a great way to get some closure after the guinea pig’s death.
- Mark the burial spot with a small headstone or paver. Some people paint a stone paver and place it over the burial spot where their guinea pig is buried. This is a nice decorative addition to a garden and provides a keepsake to remember your pet. It also helps keep any wildlife from disturbing the gravesite to get to the body.
- Dig at least 3′ feet deep into the dirt where you plan to bury your pet. This will prohibit wildlife from digging up the grave and unearthing the body. This is never pleasant to encounter, so make sure you dig deep enough to keep wild animals out.
Cremation For Guinea Pigs
Some pet owners opt for guinea pig cremation.
It is a very sanitary and safe way to dispose of a body.
Pet owners also can keep the ashes in a decorative box to remember their pets.
Cremation is one of the more expensive options than burying your pet, but it shouldn’t be too expensive.
Most cremation services are priced by the size of the animal.
Since guinea pigs are so small, the cost of an individual cremation should be fairly low.
Cremation is a good option and worth the extra cost for those who aren’t allowed to bury their pet at their house or property.
Some people simply throw out the dead guinea pig after they pass, but we don’t recommend this.
If you decide to do this, make sure you are legally allowed to dispose of dead animals in your household trash.
If you decide to create your beloved guinea pig, contact your veterinarian.
While many veterinarians do not have cremation services on-site, they will have recommendations for cremation services in your area.
You may even be able to bring the body into the vet’s office and have them take care of the rest.
Vets tend to have regular pickups from cremators, so they will be able to handle the process for you.
You won’t have to call around while grieving your pet this way.
How Long Will My Guinea Pig Live?
If you are a new guinea pig owner, the last thing you want to do is think about your guinea pig passing.
Unfortunately, small mammals like pet guinea pigs don’t have a very long life.
It is beneficial to gain as much knowledge as possible when getting a new pet.
This is especially true if it is your first time owning a particular type of pet.
The more you know about caring for your pet, the better owner you’ll be.
On average, guinea pigs live about 5-7 years in captivity.
They live a bit longer than other small mammal pets like:
If you take good care of your guinea pig, they will live on the higher end of the average to about 7 years.
This includes providing proper care and veterinary care throughout their lifetime.
There are quite a few ways to give the best possible comforts to your pet to help healthy guinea pigs live as long as possible.
Healthy Food And Treats
Providing healthy food to your guinea pig will help them live much longer by maintaining better physical health.
It is important to monitor their weight as many health issues, and guinea pig diseases are associated with obesity.
To give them the best chance at a long and healthy life is by providing high-quality guinea pig food, clean water sources, and watching their weight accordingly.
Clean And Sanitary Enclosure
Making sure your guinea pig enclosure is clean and sanitary will help to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Guinea pigs have very sensitive skin and get rashes when in unsanitary conditions.
They are also more susceptible to bacterial infection and other illnesses when the guinea pig cage and water bottles are not regularly cleaned.
Keeping the cage clean will help prevent respiratory infections and bacterial skin infections.
Exercise And Mental Stimulation
Guinea pigs need exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.
Regular exercise helps to keep them healthy and at a proper weight.
It also provides excellent mental stimulation and a fun time for them.
This helps reduce overall stress, which will also help your beloved pet live a long and happy life.
Bonding with your pet through floor time is a great way to foster your relationship and provide exercise and mental stimulation all at the same time.
We’re sure you’ll both have wonderful times while playing together.
Peace And Quiet
You may have noticed how easily startled your guinea pig is.
They are naturally prey animals and tend to be extremely skittish.
Stress is not good for health, so maintaining a peaceful and quiet environment for your guinea pigs will help their overall well-being immensely.
How to Help a Surviving Guinea Pig Cope With Loss
Losing a guinea pig can be a heartbreaking experience, not just for you but also for its surviving cagemates.
Guinea pigs can sense when their fellow piggy is unwell and about to die. After it dies, the surviving one might still look for it, squeak in distress, and feel upset. In some cases, a guinea pig might even get depressed and lose its appetite.
So, what can you do to make things better for your living and grieving guinea pig?
Let’s go through some tips:
Give It Some Time to Process the Loss
It’s natural for you to want to remove your dead guinea pig’s body from the cage right away, but don’t. Give your other guinea pig a while to touch, smell, and lick its dead friend until they realize it’s too late. It’ll give the little guy closure.
Comfort It with Familiar Scents
Take a soft towel or fleece that has the scent of your deceased guinea pig and place it in the cage. It will give your piggy a sense of familiarity and help it cope with the loss.
Give It Extra Attention
After the loss of its cagemate, your remaining guinea pig may feel lonely and sad. Spend some extra time with it to provide comfort and reassurance.
Keep your guinea pig’s mind occupied with new toys, tunnels, or treats. It will help to take its mind off the loss and also provide it with mental stimulation.
Consider Getting a New Companion
If you feel ready, getting a new guinea pig as a companion for your surviving one may help ease its loneliness and grief. Make sure to properly introduce them and give them time to bond before housing them together.
Monitor Its Health
The loss of a pal can cause stress and affect the immune system of your surviving guinea pig. Keep an eye on its health and consult a veterinarian if you notice any changes in its behavior or appetite.