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10 Signs Of A Dying Guinea Pig

The hardest part of life is death, and your guinea pigs will also experience this one day. Although the death of a pet can be painful, it is good if you know the signs that your guinea pig is dying.

Knowing this will help to brace you for what is about to happen and how you can make your pet’s last days less painful.

There are several signs that guinea pigs give when dying, and you can easily notice this if you keep an eye on your pet. Some of them are loss of appetite, change in body temperature, lethargy, behavioral changes, breathing issues, and so on.

In this article, we will highlight some of the signs that a dying guinea pig can give, ways to make the last days of your guinea pig less painful, and ways of grieving a dead guinea pig.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

10 Signs of a Dying Guinea Pig

The signs that a guinea pig gives when it is dying or sick are usually similar, no matter the type of disease or medical condition. A guinea pig suffering from a serious medical condition can die within 24-72 hours.

a dying guinea pig
A dying guinea pig | Credit: Ocskaymark /

This is why it is best to take every sign very seriously and consult your vet immediately. Some of the signs that your cavy can give when dying are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Slowness and fatigue
  • Less playful behavior
  • Incontinence
  • Labored breathing
  • Stopped grooming themselves


A common sign to determine that a guinea pig is dying is a drop in energy. You will notice as your active guinea pig will spend hours laying down in the same position in the cage.

Lethargy can also indicate other health problems like stress, lack of nutrients in their diet, etc. 

However, you should consult with your vet once you notice this in aged guinea pigs, as it can indicate that your pet is dying.

Fever And Labored Breathing

Naturally, guinea pigs run at a high temperature between 102-104F. However, if you notice that your guinea pig has a fever, then it could be a sign of disease or illness, especially pneumonia.

Pneumonia is usually fatal as your guinea pig can have difficulty breathing, sneezing, etc.

It is recommended that you consult with your vet immediately that you notice your guinea pig is running a fever for diagnosis and treatment.

Signs of a guinea pig dying
Signs of a guinea pig dying

Lack of Appetite and Weight Loss

A common sign that a guinea pig is very ill and dying is if it refuses to eat, resulting in weight loss if it persists over time. Furthermore, a dying guinea pig may avoid drinking water that can cause severe dehydration.

You should try to determine why your guinea pig is not eating as fast as possible and consult your vet immediately.

Diarrhea and Blood in Stool or Urine

A common sign that shows when a guinea pig is seriously ill and can die is diarrhea and bloody stool or urine.

A guinea pig can be suffering from urinary or intestinal obstruction kidney disease and needs medical care if it is straining to defecate or urinate.

Once you notice this, you should consult with your vet immediately for diagnosis.

Sunken Eye, Cloudy, and Produce A Discharge

Guinea pig has Sunken Eye, Cloudy.
Guinea pig has Sunken Eye, Cloudy | Credit: nuchanoy /

A sick guinea pig can develop crusty substances around its eyes and nose. You will also notice that a dying piggie will have cloudy and dull eyes and can also be sunken.

Another common sign that your guinea pig is sick is if their eyes are inflamed and produce a discharge.

Also read:

Poor Coat

A dying guinea pig usually has a poor coat that shows thinning, dullness, or looks rough. You can also notice that parts of their skin are inflamed or have patches of hair loss.

Another thing that you can be on the lookout for is whether there are parasites like lice, ringworm, and mites on their body.

Some of the common areas where you can look for skin infestations are the head and anus.

Trouble Moving

Your guinea pig may be very sick if it has trouble moving, lacks coordination, or shows signs of pain when walking. Another sign of pain and illness in guinea pigs is if their posture looks hunched over.

Behavior Changes

Signs of a guinea pig dying
Signs of a guinea pig dying

Your guinea pig may be sick and at risk of dying if you notice any change in their behavior.

Some of the common behavioral changes that you can notice are excessive hiding, depression, your guinea pig avoiding handling, not grooming itself, making unusual noises, or staring into corners.

Note: this may not be the case if your guinea pig is shy. However, you can look for any change in your pet’s behavior from the normal routine.

Drooling A Lot

It is common for guinea pigs to drool saliva uncontrollably some days before they die. You can be shocked by the amount of saliva they drop, and they don’t usually drink enough water.

Excessive drooling can also make your guinea pig’s face and mouth swollen.

You will also discover that their gums look white, yellow, blue, or pale.

Old Age

The average lifespan for a guinea pig is around 4-8 years. Once your guinea pig ages, you should be ready for its death. Some of the signs to help determine that your guinea pig is aging are

  • It has cloudy eyes
  • Your guinea pig has thickened and twisted toes on its paws.
  • The joint of your guinea pigs look stiffs, or they make hobbling movement
  • There are tumors or growths around their head or body.
  • It has a significant loss of energy.

How To Help a Dying Guinea Pig

The doctor is examining the guinea pig
The doctor is examining the guinea pig | Credit: shironosov /

We are offering our condolences to you if you have confirmed that your guinea pig is dying. You can do nothing to save your guinea pig once it is dying from old age or suffering from a terminal disease.

However, we know losing a pet is not easy as our pet has a huge impact on our lives.

The best thing you can do for your dying guinea pig is to ensure they spend their last day comfortably and feel extra love. Some of the ways to help out a dying guinea pig are stated below.

See A Vet 

The first thing you need to do is consult with your vet once you notice any of the symptoms above. Your vet will help to diagnose your pet and treat it if suffering from an ailment.

However, if suffering from a terminal disease or old age, your vet can give advice on the best way to go about it.

If your pet is suffering from a great deal of pain, he may even advise that you euthanize your pet.

Help With Their Basic Needs

A dying guinea pig is usually weak and may not feed, drink, or groom itself. You can then help make their passing comfortable by offering it water with a spoon, water bottle, etc.

Another thing is to help blend a guinea pig smoothie made with hay, ground-up pellets, and water to feed them.

However, you should not try to force-feed your guinea pig if it is not accepting it. All you can do is to help make the food accessible to your guinea pig.

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Making Your Guinea Pig Comfortable

Guinea pigs are social creatures, and you can make their last days worthwhile by keeping a dying pig with its companion. This is because separating guinea pigs can make them anxious or sad.

However, you may need to separate the guinea pig if it is in pain or other guinea pigs are rough handling it.

You can then place it in a new cage and use a lightweight blanket to cover them from becoming cold and to help them relax. Another thing is to gently cuddle or stroke a dying guinea pig to help make it relax.

What To Do If A Guinea Pig Dies?

a guinea pig died in the cage
A guinea pig died in the cage | Credit: CheepyAndBip /

Your beloved guinea pig is dead if it lies on its back or side with eyes open and does not respond to external stimuli. Watching a dead guinea pig can be a sad sight for everybody, especially young children.

People handle the death of their pets differently. You can best cope with the loss of your pet by seeking support from your family, friends, or people that went through the same situation.

Pets are living things and leave memories which means you can be sad if they die.

As a parent, you can assure your kids that their pets have lived a happy life and nothing they can do about it.

You should also show the dead body of the guinea pig to its companion if it has a companion. Animals have the ability to recognize that an animal is dead, and this helps them to cope with the situation.

This also helps to ensure the companion does not become anxious or feel abandoned if you just remove the guinea pig.

You can then do a pet memorial for your guinea pig to acknowledge their death. Some of the things that you can do are:

  • Share funny stories about your pet
  • Do a pet burial
  • Plant a flower or tree in tribute to your pet.

Note: it is prohibited to bury the dead body of pets in parks and squares territory to help avoid contaminating the soil and groundwater.

You can bury your guinea pig outside of the city, and some vet clinics also help to cremate the bodies of a dead guinea pig.

Also read: What to Do When Your Guinea Pig Dies?


Is my guinea pig dead or in shock?

Guinea pigs can become terrified or shocked if they hear sudden noises. You can confirm whether your guinea pig is in shock by checking their vitals to check if they are alive. Your guinea pig is alive if they still have a pulse and breathing.

However, you will need to rush them to the vet or die from shock.

What can make my guinea pig die suddenly?

Guinea pigs are masters of hiding their illnesses and can die suddenly if they have an underlying health problem. This is why it is important to regularly take your guinea pig for a check-up and be on the lookout for signs that they are sick.

Some of the health problems that can make your guinea pig to die suddenly are:

Ruptured tumors
Dehydration, etc. 

Why is my guinea pig lying on her side?

Generally, a guinea pig can lay on its side when happy and relaxed. However, your guinea pig is ill if it is lying on its side and twitching, having difficulty breathing, or showing other signs of illness. It is best to consult with a vet when you notice this.

Your guinea pig can also lay on its side if it is in shock or scared.

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Some Thought

Accepting the death of a pet can be so difficult for most owners. However, guinea pigs are fragile creatures and can get ill.

Knowing the signs that a guinea pig gives when dying can help to brace you up for what is to happen and make your pet’s last days comfortable and less painful.

We hope this article provides everything you need to know about the guinea pig’s signs when dying.

We would like to hear from you if you have experienced the death of your pet and ways that struggle and deal with the loss in the comment section below.

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