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Is My Guinea Pig Dead or Hibernating?

Is my Guinea pig dead or hibernating? It is a common question pondered by pet parents. However, it is a highly complex situation if your guinea pig is hibernating as it is more prone to be attacked by predators. 

Are you a new pet owner and wondering how to identify whether the guinea pig is dead or hibernating? 

Let’s find out! 

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

Is My Guinea Pig Dead or Hibernating?

Is My Guinea Pig Dead or Hibernating?

Hibernation is defined as the period of inactivity where the animal suffers from low heart rate, low metabolism, low movement. They try to mask their movement, reserve energy, and retain heat. 

On the other hand, death is the stage where the animal is gone forever. It cannot breathe, move or perform any activity. 

There are certain signs to identify whether your guinea pig is dead or just hibernating for staying warm in cold areas. 

Let’s move further to find out more about dead or hibernating guinea pigs. 

Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate? 

Do Guinea Pigs Hibernate? 

No, guinea pigs don’t hibernate. However, they start doing the following measures when exposed to very cold temperatures. 

Guinea pigs slow down the activity and metabolism for staying warm during cold temperatures. It slows down their heart rate, conserves energy, and helps them stay warm.

However, if they are exposed to very cold temperatures, they might suffer from hypothermia leading to death. 

How Do You Know If Your Guinea Pig is Too Cold? 

How Do You Know If Your Guinea Pig is Too Cold? 

If you are feeling cold, your pet will also feel the same. So, there are certain signs to find out if the guinea pig is too cold or not.

Guinea pigs are cute warm-blooded animals who need a specific temperature to stay comfortable. This temperature range varies from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit will keep piggies comfortable. Below about 60°F is considered too cold for guinea pigs.

Your pet starts trembling, shivering, or cuddling. They start curling up on the bed, around the heater, fireplace, or lounge to seek warmth. Guinea pigs avoid staying on tiles and rest on warm carpets or flooring. 

Apart from it, the guinea pigs will face stiff, sore joints. In addition, they might face difficulty in rising once they take a nap. Guinea pigs might also suffer from dry skin

Certain options help you keep the guinea pigs warm, like adding bedding, supplies, or buddies. 

How To Keep Your Guinea Pigs Warm in Winter?

How To Keep Your Guinea Pigs Warm in Winter?

For keeping your guinea pig warm outside, you can take the following measures:

  • Place two or more two guinea pigs together.
  • Get your hands on the insulated hutch.
  • Make sure to keep the hutch lifted from the ground.
  • Ensure the cabinet stays dry for the guinea pigs.
  • Try keeping heating pads within the hutch. 
  • Keep your guinea pigs well-hydrated and complete, giving them enough food. 
  • Give your guinea pigs enough space to perform the activity.
  • Make sure to change the bedding to fleece during winters.  
  • Ensure to move your guinea pig hutch in a shed or a garage. 

For Keeping Your Guinea Pigs Warm Indoors, You Can Take the Following Measures:

  • Keep your guinea pig cage in a safer, warmer place. Avoid putting them near windows.
  • Try adding extra heat to make guinea pigs comfortable. 
  • Try layering the guinea pig cage as much as possible for insulating it.
  • Create some snuggling areas for guinea pigs inside their cage.

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Last update on 2022-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Can Guinea Pigs Play Dead? 

Yes, guinea pigs can play dead if they are frightened or feeling a severe cold. They become motionless with minor breathing. When frightened, a guinea pig will often act like it is dead. It will stop moving, roll onto its side and remain motionless. 

The behavior can be interpreted as either an act of defense or submission. When the danger has passed, the animal will get back on its feet and go about its business. In contrast, a dead guinea pig will lie still and stop breathing.

Signs of a Guinea Pig Dead 

There are certain signs to look for in a dead guinea pig:

You’ll notice a dead Guinea pig would be lying on its side or back with open eyes.

A dead guinea pig won’t respond to external stimuli.

Sometimes a body can move even after death. However, to confirm if your Guinea pig is dead, check the heartbeat. If it has stopped it means your pig is dead.

In addition, when you touch the body, it will feel stiff once your pet is dead. 

What Should Owners Do when Guinea Pigs Dead? 

A picture can be nice to remember them by. Have a private moment of reflection and remembrance with the deceased pig’s body, if you wish. 

You can bury them in your garden or in an animal cemetery. If you do not have access to a garden, a flower pot will work fine as well.

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Last update on 2022-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Are the Signs of a Guinea Pig Dying? 

If you notice these signs, you need to see a vet immediately so that nothing unfortunate happens to your guinea pigs. 

There are certain signs if your guinea pig is dying:

  • Stops eating
  • Feels lethargic
  • It doesn’t feel like grooming
  • Its body vitals change frequently
  • Is bloated or breathing fast
  • Is not passing much stool
  • Feels cold


How Long After a Guinea Pig Dies Does It Go Stiff?

Guinea pigs appear flat when they are dead. They lie down over their side at times of death. The muscles of the guinea pigs relax and become stiff once they undergo rigor mortis.

Rigor mortis is all about the stiffening of joints. This process starts within 10 minutes and continues for three hours lasting for around 72 hours.

Do Guinea Pigs Go Through Hibernation?

Guinea pigs don’t hibernate even if they suffer from severe cold or are frightened from other animals. When placed in cold temperatures, guinea pigs slow down their metabolism and breathing rate. 

Why Is My Guinea Pig Not Moving but Breathing?

If the guinea pig is breathing but not moving and changes some breathing patterns, then it’s suffering from health issues. 

Some common health issues include:

Heatstroke or overheat when temperatures go around 77°F
Respiratory illnesses like upper respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, and others.

Why Is My Guinea Pig Staying Still?

It’s not normal for the guinea pigs to stay still. If the guinea pigs suffer from health issues, they might stay still. Other factors causing the guinea pigs to stay still include paralysis, arthritis, severe pain, fear, and much more. 

The guinea pigs might stay still if they hear a frightening noise or they feel the presence of predators. 


Guinea pigs are cute furred pets. They need warmth and care from the beginning, just like other pets. Finding out whether the guinea pig is dying or hibernating will be easier for you with all the signs shared with you.

We have listed down the detailed guideline about when and why guinea pigs try hibernating and suffer from death.

If you face any of these signs in your guinea pig, make sure you take care of them immediately without wasting any time. Call the vets immediately if you face any signs in your guinea pigs. 

Apart from it, keep your guinea pigs safe and secure by giving them extra layering, bedding, and extra pair of guinea pigs for cuddling. 

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