Is My Guinea Pig Dead or in Shock? How To Tell For Sure

In the case of guinea pigs, mostly it happens that you wake up in the morning and find your piggie lying motionless. Guinea pigs and other rodents don’t express the symptoms of the disease.

Guinea Pigs usually suffer from disease without showing any signs and symptoms. Therefore, it becomes difficult to know about your guinea pig health status. Your piggie silently suffers from disease and one day dies of disease or shock.

Enduring the demise of your lovely piggie is not easy. However, there are certain precautions that you can follow to avoid such unfortunate events. For this, you need to check its vitals. In addition, whenever you encounter this situation, you need to make sure if your piggie is really dead or not.

Check Your Guinea Pigs Vitals

It is essential to be sure that whether your piggie is alive or dead. You may find your piggie senseless, motionless or sightly moving after a minute. In that case, you need to keep your piggie warm. You should cover your piggie in a warm blanket, put her in front of a heater if the outside temperature is cold.

However, you should feel if your piggie is respiring or not. You need to put your finger in front of your nostrils to feel respiration. In addition, you should observe the abdominal expansion and contraction for respiration. Furthermore, you should also feel the pulse. For that, you can put your finger inside the armpit where you can find a pulse. 

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These vitals are essential to make sure about your piggie’s life status. If respiration and pulse are positive, your piggie is alive. You should hurry to bring your piggie to the veterinarian. Otherwise, you need to accept that your piggie is no more with you.

Warning Signs To Look For

It is a common observation among guinea pigs and other rodents that they experience sudden death. Their death is sudden only for the owner because there is an underlying cause of death that the owner does not know. Small animals are not expressive in showing disease symptoms, and they carry the disease till their death. Most of the time, Guinea pigs conceal the signs and symptoms of the disease, which result in their sudden death.

However, some warning signs require immediate action. You should observe your piggie’s weight once a week to make sure that everything is going OK. Furthermore, if you observe any of the following signs, you should immediately contact the veterinarian expert in rodents.

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Blood in urine
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Change in dropping consistency (softer/harder than usual)
  • Anorexia
  • Disturbance in the sleep cycle
  • Discharge from nose or eyes

These warning signs will tell you that there is something abnormal going on with your guinea pig. Your immediate action can prevent you from any severe consequences. 

Causes of Death For Guinea Pigs

If your piggie has suffered from death, there may be more than one underlying cause. Guinea pigs are small animals, and they are week to cope with the stress. Most of the time, they encounter sudden death only because of stress. The side effects of a disease, sometimes, are more dangerous than the disease itself. 

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Stress is a general condition that has many causes and can be mild to severe. It is a condition that every living being in this universe experiences. Different species have different abilities to cope with stress. Guinea pigs may suffer from chronic stress, and it is one of the causes of sudden death.

Stress is associated with pain, and your piggie suffering from stress stops eating. It can upset the balance of the GI tract, which in turn leads to severe consequences. Stress is directly responsible for decreasing the motility of the GI tract.

There are many causes of stress in guinea pigs. The most common among them is social stress (living alone, having incompatible partner, overcrowding), stressful event (change of house/cage), diet changes and veterinary care. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of stress; however, you can try to minimize all the causes as much as possible.


Diarrhoea is common among humans and animals. However, it does not result in death in humans most of the time. But if not treated immediately, diarrhoea can result in death in guinea pigs. There are many causes of diarrhoea, including bacterial and viral infection, improper diet and stress. If it continues for a longer period, it results in dehydration, and continued dehydration may lead to the death of your guinea pig.


If your guinea pig stops eating, the condition is called anorexia. Anorexia is a severe condition in the case of guinea pigs. Guinea pigs eat fibrous food like hay to keep their digestive system running. If somehow they suffer from anorexia, they will face profound implications. Anorexia is among the most common problems guinea pigs face, and most of the time, its reason is unknown.

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How To Keep Your Guinea Pig From Sudden Shock

Guinea pigs are susceptible and become terrified or go into shock because of sudden noises. They can’t cope with sudden stress. Therefore, you need to be careful around them. You should suddenly open the door with a thrust, or suddenly grab your guinea pig, shout at her, or drop something that produces a sudden sound. They go into shock immediately.

What you need to do is to have a separate room for guinea pigs where terrific sounds such as traffic, speakers, people shouting, or outside sirens don’t disturb the guinea pig. Their cage should be away from other pets, and children must ensure not to produce any terrific sound near piggies.

You may encounter this situation if you have long kept guinea pigs at your home. Guinea pigs, among all other small animals, are sensitive to terrific sounds. They are unable to cope with stress. You should be careful and not let them bear any stress. Keeping them in a separate room with no sound of heavy traffic, speakers, children, or other stressful sounds will prevent them from sudden shock and death.