Siblings and guinea pigs who have spent a lifetime together especially may feel the loss quite acutely.
You can identify grief by the following signs:
Loss of appetite
- Your guinea pig may pick at their food or even stop eating completely. This in particular must be dealt with quickly to prevent weight loss and the slippery slope of recovery.
Decline in activity
- Characterised by “staring into space”, no more popcorning or exploring and unusually quiet. They may spend their time huddled in a corner or hidey hole.
- Looking around for the lost companion and generally appearing confused and “at a loose end”.
What you can do
There are a few very important things you can do to make the loss of a companion easier for your guinea pig. The methods below work equally well for boars and sows, although for anti-social, grumpy or elderly guinea pigs of both genders you may not succeed in finding them a new companion. Boars can also sometimes be difficult to put into pairs and groups due to their territorial nature.
Bring your pet indoors
- The grieving guinea pig needs your company right now, so bringing him or her into the house for a few days is a good idea.
Give your guinea pig a bath
- As soon as you can, give your guinea pig a bath to remove the scent of a lost companion and spend a lot of time making a fuss of your pet while drying them off.
Clean out the hutch or cage
- Thoroughly clean out the hutch or cage they live in to remove all trace of the lost companion. Also wash all toys, bottles and bowls they used.
Spend time with your guinea pig
- Cuddle your guinea pig while watching television. Talk to him while you potter around the house. Visit him regularly while he is indoors with you. Offer him vegetable treats and make a fuss of him.
Find a new companion
- Some guinea pigs will accept a new companion after the loss of an old one. Sometimes it’s a necessity for the remaining animal to have another guinea pig for company, something which you will learn depending on how well your pet is grieving. The new companion must be another guinea pig – all other animal types, including rabbits, are inappropriate!