How To Comfort A Dying Guinea Pig?

Whether your guinea pig was a beloved classroom pet or a house pet that brought you years of endless joy, there always comes a time when your pet’s life tends towards the end. If your guinea pig is dying, what are some of the ways you can easily comfort them? 

To comfort a dying guinea pig, be sure to separate the sick guinea pig from other guinea pigs within its cage, give them a clean and quiet environment to spend it’s last moments in, keep it warm, and give your guinea pig as much affection as it will allow.  

Guinea pigs come in a fantastic variety of different breeds, colors, and hair patterns, but they all have one thing in common: how much their owners adore them. These curious little creatures with their tiny cute faces are able to steal the hearts of just about anyone, but when it comes to their final hours, what is it that owners can do for them? If you have a dying guinea pig, take a look below to find out the best ways to make them as comfortable as possible. 

Separate the Dying Guinea Pig From Other Guinea Pigs

This may seem like a rather perplexing piece of advice, as when it comes to dying, many owners would assume that their guinea pig would like the comfort of their brothers, sisters, or cage mates. As lovely as this sentiment may be, if your guinea pig is dying, it may actually be rather dangerous to be surrounded by other animals in their cage. If you have a dying guinea pig that shares a space with others, what should you do? 

© liangjinjian / Flickr

If your guinea pig is dying and shares a space with other guinea pigs, one of the biggest comforts you can give it is to separate it from the other animals. Guinea pigs, when healthy, are happy to have other creatures around them, but when sick, this can lead to problems. 

Guinea pigs, although social animals who thrive with partners around them, can tend toward being very aggressive when a sick or dying guinea pig is nearby. This is simply part of their nature and is not something that can be trained out of any guinea pig. Due to this, healthy guinea pigs may gang up on the dying guinea pig which may result in biting, nipping, and chasing which all result in the polar opposite of comfort for the dying pet. 

If your feel that the dying guinea pig is more comfortable in a familiar setting, leave the ill guinea pig in its cage and take the healthy one (or ones) from their cage until the guinea pig has passed. Although the healthy ones may be a bit perturbed, the intention behind this move is to keep your dying guinea pig as comfortable as possible. Therefore, allow the healthy ones to sacrifice a bit to give the dying pet a tad more peace. 

Give Your Guinea Pig A Clean and Quiet Environment

Considering the importance of placement, let’s move forward to not only keeping what other animals are around your dying guinea pig in mind, but also what their environment should look like during this process. For healthy guinea pigs, they should always be provided with an environment that is clean, filled with plenty of food and water, and comfortable enough for them to play and rest within it. This should be no different when they are passing. 

If your guinea pig is dying, it is very important to make sure that their cage is clean, and in an area that allows them quiet. Be sure there are no droppings around them, that their bedding is changed and clean as well, and they are in a space that is not rampant with excess noise. 

© ciao-chow/ Flickr

A deep clean is not necessary when your guinea pig is in the stages of dying, as aggressive cleaning can disturb them and cause them more discomfort. Therefore, you want to simply ensure that all used litter has been disposed of and all bedding in the habitat has been taken out and refreshed. If there are any fabrics within their cage, remove them and either wash them, or replace them with new fabric that is fresh and free of any contaminants. 

As far as keeping their space quiet, you may not be able to control the traffic that comes in out of some specific rooms, but if there is a place you can take your guinea pig that is mostly unused, transfer them to that space. When guinea pigs are dying, they can be easily startled by loud noises or simply peeved by constant noise. Therefore, find a place that your guinea pig can rest and pass on without the constant variation of sound. 

Keep Your Guinea Pig Warm 

If you have separated your guinea pig from other guinea’s and have placed them in a clean and quiet environment, you may be thinking that you have done just about everything to keep them comfortable and safe as they pass on. Although these are great steps, it is important to remember that many guinea pigs rely on the warmth of other guinea’s to keep their own body temperatures at a nice warm level, therefore, you may need to step in to warm them up. 

If your guinea pig is dying, another way to comfort them is to keep them nice and warm. Since they rely on the body heat of other guinea pigs to maintain a comfortable temperature, if they are separated, you should provide your guinea pig with plenty of material to stay cozy. 

To start, always be sure to keep their cage inside in a space that has a controlled temperature. After this, you can place small towels and blankets within their cage so that they have a soft and warm place that offers a bit more insulation than the average pine needles or cage bedding. This will allow your guinea pig to have warmth, but be mindful that this may not be enough for those that are a bit colder than others. 

If you notice that your guinea is still uncomfortably cool, you can add a pet-safe electric heating pad to their cage while allowing them to have a toasty, regulated temperature right beneath their bellies. Always be sure that the temperature is not set too high, as this can cause your guinea pig to become too warm which will result in further discomfort, or even a heat stroke. 

Give Your Guinea Pig Affection 

Guinea pigs are very curious creatures who tend to prefer to be exploring rather than in the grasps of their favorite human. However, as time passes, many guinea pigs then become more apt to allow their owners to hold them and give them more physical affection, making this process something that they grow to enjoy. If your guinea pig liked to be given affection before it began fading, giving it physical attention may be the perfect comfort. 

Giving your guinea pig affection may be the perfect comfort method for a dying guinea pig who doesn’t mind gentle petting, or even holding, by its owner. Be sure to stroke your guinea pig with a soft touch that is slow and rhythmic, which will allow them to relax and be at peace. 

When petting your guinea pig as it passes, be sure to be as gentle as possible, which can be achieved by stroking with only a few fingers and a light touch. If you notice that your guinea pig winces when you stroke them, take your hand away and allow them space. This may be an indication that they are not keen on this method of comfort and if that is the case, you may want to try other ways to make them feel safe and at ease. 

© jonolist / Flickr

However, if your guinea pig is fond of being pet during this time, they may also be comforted by being held against your chest. To do this, pick up your guinea pig as gently as possible (as long as it is not injured) and place them on your chest with some type of blanket draped over their body. This will not only leave them feeling nurtured, but will also keep them warm while bonding with their owner in their last moments. 

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