What to Do When Your Guinea Pig Dies?

When your guinea pig dies, it is but natural to feel the loss strongly. You will feel overwhelmed by the emotions that you experience.

If you are feeling sad, confused, and hurt, we understand completely. Please know that it is okay to feel what you’re feeling and that grief is the price of loving.

In this guide, we are going to cover an important topic: What to do when your pet guinea pig passes.

We will also cover:

  • How to tell if your guinea pig is dead?
  • What to do when your guinea pig dies?
  • Ways you can memorialize your buddy.
Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

How to Know If a Guinea Pig Is Dead?

How to Know If a Guinea Pig Is Dead?

The first thing to do when you suspect your guinea pig is dead is to ensure that that is really the case.

There have been instances where a guinea pig was sleeping deeply and not dead – which is why it is important that you know the signs of a dead guinea pig:

Signs a Guinea Pig is Dead

The most common signs of a dead guinea pig are lack of movement and breathing, open glazed eyes, and stiffening of the body.

Lack of Movement

A dead guinea pig will be immobilized or stationary. Still, it is best to wait for a quarter of an hour before taking the next steps.

If possible, check with a vet – sometimes, animals remain absolutely still while they are deep in sleep. Gently prod your pet a few times, if needed.

Lack of Breathing

This is another indicator that a guinea pig is no more. Again, it is best to wait for a while or check with the vet. Sometimes, guinea pigs develop shallow or labored breathing right before they pass on.

Stay by your piggy’s side and once its breathing has stopped, wait for at least an hour before burying or cremating it.

Rigor Mortis

Rigor mortis sets in fairly quickly in the case of guinea pigs. Sometimes, their eyes appear glazed over and the body becomes rather stiff. If you see these signs, you can call your vet regarding the next steps to take.

Also read: Is My Guinea Pig Dead or Hibernating?

Can Guinea Pigs Die and Come Back To Life?

Can Guinea Pigs Die and Come Back To Life?

No. You cannot revive a dead guinea pig and no matter how much you loved your pet, you mustn’t resuscitate it.

It is best not to berate the fact that your pet is dead. You have surely done all you could and you gave it the best life. There is no point in trying to look for the cause of death or getting angry with your vet for not saving your pet.

Guinea pigs live between 5 to 8 years and if your pet has reached this age, then you have done a very good job in taking care of it.

Check out: How Long Do Guinea Pigs Live?

Do Guinea Pigs Suffer when They Die?

The answer to this depends on how your pet died.

If your guinea pig slowed down considerably for a few days before it died, had not been eating or drinking, and had reached the ripe old age of over 6 years, then chances are that it might ‘go’ peacefully.

Sometimes, piggies hide or simply go away to sleep. Other times, they appreciate being cuddled. If there is a companion animal with them, then they may seek their company before dying.

The answer to the question: did my pet suffer when it died depends on the cause of death. If sickness or injury caused the death, then chances are that your pet experienced pain.

However, if old age or natural cause was the reason, then your piggy might go peacefully.

What To Do When Your Guinea Pig Dies?

What To Do When Your Guinea Pig Dies?

It is the worst feeling when a pet dies; it is akin to having a piece of your soul ripped off

We understand the overwhelming sorrow you experience but it is vital that you stay strong. 

There are some things you need to do which include the following:

Accept the Feelings Associated With the Loss of Your Guinea Pig

Grief is an intense process. Do not ignore the pain. Allow yourself to mourn. You will feel sad, lonely, and angry – all these feelings are normal.

Accept them. There is work to be done that will also help keep you busy.

You can go ahead and hold your pet and stroke it. Feel its tiny body in your hands. It is okay to kiss your furry friend one last time. It is okay to cry. 

Show Companion Pets That Your Guinea Pig Has Died

If your pet was housed with another guinea pig or if you have other pets in different parts of your home, it is important that you show them your dead guinea pig.

Animals recognize death and dying. If your piggy had a mate, show the surviving partner the dead pet’s body. Let it sniff or lick the dead pet.

Guinea pigs mourn their loved one’s death. So it is very important they know about it. You can give the partner a piece of fleece or blanket with the dead pig’s smell on it.

Let it remain with the blanket for a few days. (Later though, you may want to clean out the cage to eliminate the smells of the dead pet.)

Hold a Pet Burial

An important decision that you need to make is whether you should bury or cremate your dead guinea pig. Whichever option you select, take the following factors into consideration:

Make Sure It Is Sanitary and Hygienic

You have to ensure that the remains of your pet are out of the reach of other pets and especially of stray predators.

If you select to bury your pet, dig a hole that is at least 3 feet deep. This will keep wild predators away from it. It is a good idea to place a large stone over the burial site as that can further deter wild animals from digging it up.

Stay Within Laws and Regulations

Avoid digging a grave on someone else’s property. Make sure any fires you light are safe and within your state’s laws and regulations.

Use a Cremation Box

You could consider buying a cremation box. These are suitable for natural burial or cremation and give your pet the dignity and respect it deserves.

You can use the box to store the ashes of your beloved pet and place it in a special nook created just for your buddy’s memories.

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Pet Cremation Services

Your vet can guide you to a local pet cremation service. These professionals handle the cremation and give you a box or container containing the pet’s ashes.

Hold a Memorial for Your Guinea Pig

Holding a memorial for your guinea pig is a great way to remember it. Discuss with your family members how best to memorialize your pet. Here are some ideas:

  • Plant a tree in your buddy’s name.
  • Create a photo wall with your guinea pig’s pics
  • Hold a candle-lit ceremony for it.
  • Invite your friends over and share memories about your little pet.
  • Create a dedicated corner for your piggy – place its photos, favorite food, and toys in it. If you have the cremation urn with the ashes, place it here too.
  • Some people choose to sprinkle the ashes in their garden or in a river – symbolically letting their dead pig ‘go back to Mother Nature’.
  • If you have buried your buddy, mark a decorated tombstone on the grave.

Mourn Your Pet and Accept the Stages of It

Give yourself time to heal – your pet was a treasured wonderful animal. 

Try not to be too sad. Think of all the happy memories you had with your pet. Go through photographs of your buddy and relive the memories. 

It is a privilege to love and be loved and your guinea pig surely loved you.

Can You Leave the Partner Guinea Pig Alone?

It is best to get a companion for your remaining guinea pig, as long as you are sure you can take care of both.

Guinea pigs are social animals – so they always need companions. So, it is best to get a guinea pig of the same gender. 

Allow some quarantine period to ensure there are no diseases your guinea pig can catch from the new pig. 

You can place their cages next to each other for the first few days so both piggies can interact and sniff each other.

Afterward, you can house them in the same cage. Just make sure to clean the cage thoroughly first to remove any scents. This will help prevent them from being too territorial.

Also read: Do Guinea Pigs Need Cage Mates? 4 Steps to Introduce New Guinea Pigs


How do you dispose of a dead guinea pig?

You can bury your dead piggy in a hole at least 3-ft deep. Alternatively, you could cremate it using professional pet cremation services.

Why did my guinea pig suddenly die?

Many factors can cause sudden death in guinea pigs: shock, disease, injury, etc. Loud noise levels and improper housing can also stress these tiny animals and result in sudden death.

Do guinea pigs get sad when others die?

Yes, guinea pigs can get very sad when their cagemate or partner dies. That is why it is important to get another piggy since guinea pigs are social animals.

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Final Thoughts

It is entirely healthy to grieve your dead guinea pig. Allow yourself to experience these natural feelings of loss and grief.

If needed, seek the support of friends and family. Do not go to individuals who won’t be able to understand what you may be going through. 

We hope this guide helps you bear with the loss of your dear friend.

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