Guinea pigs are adorable and loveable pets, but they typically only live for 5-8 years. As they get older or if they get sick, their quality of life goes down, even if you take extremely good care of them. What are some simple and humane ways to euthanize a pet guinea pig?
To humanely euthanize a pet guinea pig, take them to the vet and determine if they are suffering and should be euthanized. Then, have the vet administer the euthanasia. When euthanizing a pet guinea pig at home, fill a sealed container with carbon dioxide with the guinea pig inside and wait.
It is always hard to euthanize a pet, but sometimes it is what is best for them. To find out exactly what you need to do to humanely euthanize your pet guinea pig, keep reading.
Ways to Humanely Euthanize a Pet Guinea Pig
To humanely euthanize your pet guinea pig, you can decapitate, shoot, electrocute, rapidly freeze, pith, break their neck or spine, or suffocate them. However, pithing and severing or breaking their spine will not guarantee that your guinea pig will die. Most people recommend euthanizing your guinea pig through suffocation, breaking their neck, decapitation, or by shooting them. (Source)
Although some of these methods may not seem like they are humane, they are quick and simple, which will ensure that your guinea pig will not feel any pain as they die. However, electrocution may not actually kill your guinea pig, just put them through a lot of pain and shock.
However, if you shoot or decapitate your guinea pig, you will have to clean up the mess, and it will get messy. You will also have to persuade yourself to go through with it, which will be extremely hard, even if you know that this is what is best for your pet.
Don’t euthanize your pet guinea pig by shooting them unless you have a small-caliber gun. Guinea pigs are extremely small.
The simplest and easiest way you can euthanize your guinea pig is through suffocation. Use carbon dioxide to do so, as it will cause them to die within 2-3 minutes. If you just put your guinea pig in a sealed container and wait for the oxygen to run out, it will take longer. As your guinea pig suffocates, to them it will feel like they are just falling asleep. Suffocation is the preferred euthanasia method for small animals like guinea pigs. (Source)
When you euthanize your guinea pig, do it while they are in their cage, unless they share that cage with another guinea pig that is not suffering. Don’t euthanize them in the room where they spent most of their time, especially if another animal is nearby.
If you choose to euthanize your guinea pig through suffocation, make sure you put them in a clear container that you will feed the carbon dioxide into. That way, you will be able to determine when they are dead. However, do not watch or interact with your guinea pig after the process starts. Check in on them after 3-4 minutes, then pay your respects and dispose of the body.
Vet Costs of Euthanizing a Guinea Pig
If you don’t want to euthanize your pet guinea pig yourself, you can absolutely have a veterinarian do it instead. They are trained on exactly what to do, and they are not as emotionally attached to your pet as you are. It will not hurt them very much emotionally, although they will be sad, both for you and the animal.
However, if you have a vet euthanize your guinea pig, you will have to pay for their services. For basic euthanasia of a small animal like a guinea pig, it typically costs between $50 to $100 or more. Many vet offices offer memorial and burial or cremation services, and the prices for those services will vary depending on the type of service and vet office rates. (Source)
However, you can have the SPCA, a humane society, or the Animal Humane Society euthanize your guinea pig for about $20, which is much cheaper than euthanasia at the vet. (Source)
Ultimately, it is up to you and what you decide you can handle whether or not you decide to euthanize your pet guinea pig at the veterinary office or at home. If you want to save a lot of money, you can euthanize your pet guinea pig at home.
How to Euthanize Your Pet Guinea Pig at Home
To euthanize your pet guinea pig at home, two of the best ways to kill them quickly and humanely are by shooting them, breaking their neck, or suffocating them. Pithing will also do the trick, as it severs their spinal cord, but you need to be trained to do it properly. If you don’t pith your guinea pig properly, they may still live and suffer, which is never good and will make you feel horrible.
If you choose to euthanize your pet guinea pig at home by shooting them, shoot them in the head with a small-caliber gun. Death will be instantaneous. That will cause minimal mess and won’t cause an extreme amount of damage to their head. The bullet hole will be noticeable, but their head will still mostly be intact, which will be less traumatizing for you.
If you choose to decapitate your guinea pig, use a sharp instrument like an axe or an extremely large knife, like a butcher knife.
The overall best way to euthanize your pet guinea pig is by suffocating. They will simply fall asleep and die afterward. However, don’t worry, you won’t have to choke them or hold something over their nose and mouth to suffocate them. All you will need to do is get concentrated carbon dioxide, a clear container, and a tube.
To euthanize a guinea pig through carbon dioxide, put them in a clear container. Don’t make it too big, or it will take them longer to die. Also, make sure the container can be sealed. Don’t poke holes in it so your pet can breathe, or this won’t work.
Then, connect the carbon dioxide to the container through a tube. You can cut a hole in the container large enough to feed the tube through it. If the tube is slightly loose or you want to make sure it is sealed, put duct tape around the tube and secure it to the clear container.
After everything is connected, turn on the carbon dioxide. Make sure the carbon dioxide has at least 60% concentration and is filling the container at 3 to 7 liters per minute. (Source)
After you turn on the carbon dioxide, leave the room if you don’t want to watch your pet slowly die, as it will be extremely hard for you to watch, especially if you had your pet guinea pig for many years. Wait 3-4 minutes, then check on them. Although it will only take 2-3 minutes for your pet guinea pig to die through suffocation with this method, it is best to wait slightly longer.
If your pet guinea pig is still alive, wait a few more minutes. Once they are dead, turn off the carbon dioxide and carefully remove the tube. Let the carbon dioxide dissipate into the air for 2 to 5 minutes. You may want to open a window if the room is small so you aren’t deprived of oxygen. Then, carefully take your guinea pig out of the clear container. Don’t stick your head into it, as you may breathe in concentrated carbon dioxide and pass out.
Then, bury them or dispose of the body in the way that you prefer.
Before you euthanize your pet guinea pig, let them do their favorite activities and feed them all of their favorite foods. If you choose to use chemicals from the vet’s office or have your pet guinea pig euthanized at the vet’s office, they may ask you to avoid feeding them during a certain time period. However, if you euthanize them at home, you won’t have to avoid feeding them.
How to Determine When a Pet Guinea Pig Needs to Be Euthanized
To determine whether or not your pet guinea pig needs to be euthanized, determine if they are in pain or extremely sick. If they are suffering and will not likely get better, even in a few years, it is best to euthanize them so they are no longer in pain. It is part of the job of a pet owner, and most pet owners eventually have to make this decision, even though it is extremely hard.
If your pet guinea pig shows the following symptoms, it is likely time to euthanize it.
- One or more tumor(s) on their skin
- Fur is falling out
- Can’t walk
- Eye conditions
- Can’t easily move
- Refuse to eat
- Refuse to drink
- Losing weight quickly
- Has a terminal illness
- Abnormal urine
- Abnormal feces
- Won’t go to the bathroom
- Won’t take care of its coat
- Stopped playing
- Slowly moves
- Trouble breathing
- Sores that won’t heal
- In obvious pain or discomfort
- Loss of life quality
If you are not sure whether or not your pet guinea pig needs to be euthanized, talk to your vet. They will be able to determine if your guinea pig’s health conditions, abnormal behaviors, or discomfort can be treated or if they need to be euthanized before they are put through more pain and misery.
How to Determine if Your Guinea Pig is Dead
After you euthanize your guinea pig, you need to determine whether or not it is dead. To determine if your guinea pig is dead, look at their eyes, determine if they have a heartbeat, make sure they aren’t breathing, and determine if their muscles are stiff.
When a guinea pig dies, its muscles will become stiff because of rigor mortis. This will appear a few minutes after they die, although their muscles will loosen about 72 hours after they die. (Source)
If your guinea pig has dilated and fixed pupils, they are likely dead. Their eye color will also be slightly faded. The more faded the eye color is, the longer the guinea pig has been dead. Also, if you can’t see their chest moving, showing that they are breathing, they are dead. Check for a heartbeat to be sure.
However, if your guinea pig’s eyes are shiny and their muscles are loose, they are likely not dead. Instead, they are in shock. Check for breathing and a heartbeat if you think your guinea pig is in shock rather than dead. You will have to go through the euthanasia process again if your guinea pig is in shock rather than dead. If you used chemicals to euthanize your pet guinea pig, you will just have to wait for the chemicals to work their way through their system.
What to do After Euthanizing Your Pet Guinea Pig
After you euthanize your guinea pig, you will have to dispose of their body. Most people bury them in a garden, backyard, or park. However, you can have them cremated or stuffed.
If you bury them in your backyard or garden, you can mark the burial site with a stone, piece of wood, or cardboard headstone. You can then visit the site regularly, even if you bury them in a nearby park.
If you have your pet guinea pig cremated, you will likely have to pay the vet’s office to do so. It will cost between $35 to $110, depending on the type of service and what the vet office charges for the cremation of a small pet.
Overall, it is up to you how and when you euthanize your pet guinea pig. It is a hard decision to make, but it is important that your beloved pet isn’t suffering because of sickness or old age. They will likely show signs that they want to die soon. One of the most obvious signs is a lack of appetite so keep an eye on how much they eat.