Ask a behaviourist
What to do when your guinea pigs mate dies?
I had two guinea pigs, Bill and Bobby, but recently Bill has passed away. Now that Bobby is by himself I have noticed he has stopped eating and isn’t as happy as he used to be. Does this mean I should get him another friend?
I am sorry to hear that Bill has passed away. Guinea pigs are very social animals and do pine when they are alone. Bobby has probably stopped eating because he is lonely and is craving the companionship of his own kind. Guinea pigs thrive when they live with one or more compatible companions, so I would definitely recommend getting a friend for Bobby to fill the void Bill left behind.
Please consider adopting one or more guinea pig from reputable animal welfare groups like the SPCA, as there are plenty of rescue guinea pigs across the country who are in need of good homes.
Many vets can routinely desex guinea pigs, so please make sure this takes place if you were to get a desexed female guinea pig friend for Bobby. Ensure that you know the sex and the desexing status of any guinea pig(s) that you will are getting and go ahead and get any desexed that are needed if it has not already happened. Please do not be tempted to allow your guinea pigs to breed or put together non desexed guinea pigs of different sexes, as there are already so many animals in need of homes and there are serious health risks associated with pregnancy and birth.
Bonding guinea pigs tends to be a lot easier than bonding rabbits – allow them to meet in a neutral area with plenty of environmental distractions. If, after a short time they don’t fight they are likely to get on. Please note it is never appropriate to house rabbits and guinea pigs together.
It is also important to make sure Bobby and his new friend(s) have enough space to interact and show natural behaviours. The key to Bobby’s happiness is catering to his social needs by having at least one more compatible friend, enough space to run, burrows in which to hide, and the right food and drink. In no time Bobby should be eating again, and back to his normal self!