Sunday, August 16, 2015

Guinea Pig Grieving

Even though it is often said that time heals all wounds, the loss of Lola still makes us sad. Immediately after losing her, Buffy and I had been sleeping close to each other in the little cage, when we usually slept separately in our own pigloos. As social animals, many of us will take the loss of our cavy companions pretty hard, although this can vary from pig to pig.

Here's some advice on how you can support your piggies while we grieve:
  • Regularly monitor your guinea pig's weight while they grieve; once per day for at least a week after the loss is recommended. Some pigs may stop eating.
  • Consider adopting another guinea pig from a rescue or shelter, especially if you are down to just one guinea pig. A happy, healthy guinea pig may help cheer up a depressed guinea pig. Some guinea pigs may not accept another cage mate if left alone too long on their own.
  • Try to spend extra time with your grieving piggies.
  • Thoroughly clean the cage and everything in the cage to remove the smell of the lost companion. (This is especially a good idea if the deceased had something communicable.) 
  • Changing up your cage configuration and feeding routine can be helpful according to some.
  • Some guinea pigs may enjoy having a plush animal companion. (However, you'll want to make sure we don't chew up our plush toys. The stuffing can be harmful.)
Finally, keep in mind that we can support you as you support us. When you feel sad about losing your piggy, we'll be happy to sit in your lap and commiserate with you. (Buffy is still likely to nip your fingers if you try to commiserate for too long, though. Some things never change!)


  1. We lost our guinea pig Johnny in Feb , he is one of three that we had. We still miss him. I figure we should get a new guinea pig, but it is a difficult decision.

    1. We're sorry to hear about Johnny. It's heartbreaking to lose a cagemate, and we agree that getting a new guinea pig is a difficult decision. Only you can say if and when you're emotionally ready to welcome a new furry friend into your life.

  2. This is very timely, since our beloved Jasper passed away on the 10th. We miss him terribly, and Oliver was really grieving -- he spent most of his time sitting in Jasper's favorite napping spot, just staring into space. He also wanted to snuggle a lot more than usual.

    We have since adopted a new piggy, Sebastian -- not a replacement for Jasper, for sure, but still, a very nice addition to the family! He and Oliver have become the best of friends in no time at all.

    1. We're so sorry to hear about Jasper! You said he passed away on the 10th, and you commented on the 9th that he was just about to turn 7 the following week. So sad that he didn't make it to his birthday.

      We're glad that at least things have been working out with Sebastian. Did getting Sebastian help cheer up Oliver?

  3. Yeah, he passed away the day after I commented! But since we don't know his actual birthdate, we decided he made it to seven. (We knew he was seven months old when he adopted him, so we just counted back seven months from the date we got him, and called that his birthday.)

    Sebastian and Oliver are the best of friends already! Honestly, I have never had a new-pig introduction go so smoothly, and we've had pigs for about ten years. There was about 20 minutes of dominance stuff, and now? It's like they've been together all their lives. They adore each other. They play, and nuzzle noses, it's so sweet! Sebastian didn't get along with his former cagemate, which made me worry, but it's been great. (He and his former cagemate were the same age, but Oliver is 2 1/2 years older than him -- I suspect that makes a difference. He knows Oliver is the alpha-pig, I guess, so they aren't fighting over it.)

    1. We're glad to hear about how smoothly the introduction went. Things didn't go quite that smoothly when Broccoli was introduced to Lola. They became friends, of course, but it took a bit longer than 20 minutes. :-)