Unfortunately, guinea pigs do not have a long life expectancy, so you should also deal with the topic “dying”.
It would be very nice if you could make your pet’s last journey as comfortable as possible and prevent pain.
In this article we will tell you the typical signs that your guinea pig is about to die and give you proven tips on what to do in this situation.
First signs of the imminent death of your guinea pig
Unfortunately, even your guinea pig’s life will eventually come to an end.
Some of the cute rodents give no warning at all, while in some others the signs of approaching death are easy to spot.
Of course, just like us humans, there are signs of old age.
These are for example:
thicker, twisted toes
tumors and outgrowths on body and head
However, if your guinea pig stops eating, has trouble breathing, seems listless and apathetic, and stops cleaning itself, these are signs that it is sick and dying.
1: Loss of appetite
It’s a big red flag when your guinea pig won’t eat.
Because of their stuffed stomachs, they need to eat food constantly.
If they don’t, the stomach contents can’t be pushed into the intestines. So if they don’t eat, it can quickly become dangerous.
If even their favorite food remains untouched, you should inform the vet.
2: Tiredness and sluggishness
Guinea pigs are very active and alert.
Keep a close eye on your guinea pig. You know it best of all. Naturally, as your guinea pig ages, it will be less agile and move more slowly.
However, if it becomes more and more withdrawn from one day to the next and lies apathetic in the pen, it is a clear sign that it is in pain and dying.
3: Flies in the enclosure
Particularly weak and sick guinea pigs can contract the deadly skin infection myiasis.
You can recognize this by small maggots on wounds or in the anus area.
Immediate action and informing the veterinarian is necessary, as the maggots will eat through the tissue and destroy internal organs in the process.
4: Lack of grooming
Guinea pigs are very clean animals.
In order not to attract predators, the animal cleans its paws especially after eating and cleans the fur from food remains.
A dirty and soiled coat indicates that your guinea pig is no longer cleaning itself. This may indicate illness or dying soon.
Breathing is another indicator to tell if your guinea pig is unwell and dying.
Loud noises when breathing are a clear warning sign.
Other clues include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, panting or flaring of the nose. Keep a close eye on your breathing. If you notice that it becomes increasingly shallow and sometimes even stops, death is imminent.
6: Other characteristics
Changes in your guinea pig’s secretions often indicate illness or imminent demise.
Peculiarities in the stools such as diarrhea or failure to defecate are warning signs that you should take seriously.
Uncontrolled salivation is also a sign.
Keep a close eye on your guinea pig’s gums. If they turn white or yellow or become increasingly pale, this indicates a disease or that your guinea pig is dying.
Mastering the last stage – tips and assistance
To make it easier for your guinea pig in this difficult time for him and you, take good care of the animal.
The following tips will help your guinea pig cope with the last stage of its life.
Tip 1: Keep warm
Make sure that your guinea pig does not freeze.
To do this, wrap it in a small, soft blanket or a soft piece of cloth.
This will allow it to relax and not freeze.
Towards the end, animals often become incontinent as the body shuts down its functions. Just always check for a clean blanket to keep your guinea pig comfortable.
Keep the temperature of the cage environment consistently a little warmer. You can also use fabric as insulation.
Tip 2: Assist with feeding
In the end, your guinea pig will become very weak and will not be able to eat or drink on its own.
Just help him with this.
Offer him water with a spoon, syringe or water bottle. A smoothie of hay, water and crushed pellets may also help.
You alone know your pet best of all. Just try out how you can make your guinea pig’s last time most comfortable.
In everything, never force your guinea pig to eat or drink. Offer him his favorite food and water and make it accessible to him.
It is important to chop the food well so that your guinea pig does not have to spend energy chewing it. It is also possible that it will not be able to do this at all.
Tip 3: Give time to the animals
Just be there for your guinea pig!
Stroke it lightly and give it body warmth and closeness. This way you give him a good feeling and he knows that he is not alone. In this way you take away your guinea pig’s fear and sorrow.
Just hold it in your arms.
Just make sure you hold it in a way that doesn’t cause it pain or discomfort.
Tip 4: Keep it with the herd
Don’t separate your guinea pig from its usual mates.
This can cause distress and sadness. However, if your pet is in pain or it is being attacked by its conspecifics, separation is necessary.
Decide depending on the situation.
Tip 5: Do not frighten the animal
Be sure to make slow and steady movements.
If you move jerkily or suddenly, it will lead to an increased stress level in your guinea pig.
A calm and peaceful atmosphere is very important in your guinea pig’s last hours.
Don’t let it be too bright, but also not too dark. Maybe have soft music or nature sounds playing in the background.
You alone can feel what is good for your animal in this situation.
Dealing with grief in the right way
By supporting your guinea pig until the end, accompanying it on the last path of its life, you are already starting to cope with grief.
Allow your feelings and mourn the loss of your beloved animal.
Take your time in saying goodbye.
If possible, you can bury your guinea pig in the garden. But there are also special pet funerals available to you. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
I take great pride in being the best possible author and giving you the knowledge that i have on all different types of animals!
I have spent a lifetime learning about pets and animals, and have worked in the pet and vet industry for over 20 years now!
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