Do I need to get another guinea pig?

haleya

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Hi all,
A little over 3 years ago, I worked at a pet store and brought home 2 guinea pigs, about 2 months apart. Aside from the few weeks or so it took to introduce them, they have shared a cage ever since. I've never had guinea pigs before that.
The pigs, both male, shared their cage, beds, hides, food bowl, water bottle, hay box, etc. No fights, but they maybe annoyed each other from time to time (one pig, Chewy, was more dominant than the other, and the more submissive pig, Rocket, had neurological issues that may be caused some annoyance lol). They never cuddled or groomed each other, but definitely communicated with each other through their little noises and mannerisms, ate together and co-existed in sync. I'm not sure if this would be considered completely 'bonded'.
Now to the sad part.
Rocket passed away about 2 weeks ago (I'm absolutely devastated).
I wasn't sure if Chewy would be too affected by it to the point of me needing to run out and get another pig like some online articles said to do. To be honest, I personally don't want another pig, so I was hoping he'd be okay and I got some advice to just give it a bit of time and see how he does by himself. I knew that I shouldn't rush into anything because it's hard to tell if he's actually sad when I'm just so sad myself and maybe projecting my sadness onto him.
So now, here we are, two weeks later and I still am not sure if he's okay or not.
He eats all of his veggies, he eats hay and pellets and treats and drinks water just fine. But after doing these essential things, he just goes back into his hide and lays down. To me, he looks pitiful and sad, but I may just be paranoid. He gets excited for veggie time but then goes back into his hide.
When Rocket was here, he would usually sleep in his comfy bed most of the time, but now he only sleeps in the hides.
It also makes me really sad that I don't hear him talk anymore. He and Rocket used to chit chat all the time and mosey around the cage.
I don't know if this is normal behavior for a guinea pig who lives alone and is content, or is it lonely behavior?
Chewy was very dominant over Rocket so maybe he'd even prefer to live alone and I'm just being paranoid or projecting my sadness onto him.
Please let me know what you think of this. I know the natural instinct is to say to just get another guinea pig, but if it's not completely necessary, please be honest. Like I said, I don't really want to get another pig, and only will do so if it's absolutely necessary for Chewy's happiness and health.

TIA for your thoughts. Picture of Chewy included :)
 

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Piggies&buns

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First, I’m sorry for your loss.

In terms of boar behaviour, it is perfectly normal for boars to not sleep together, not cuddle, not groom but the fact they weren’t fighting means they were bonded. My two boars are well bonded but won’t share anything.

He may appear to be fine because piggies will just get on with life, its survival, but it doesn’t mean he is happy. They do much better with a partner. He will be ok for a while, you need to be ready for a new piggy as well, but he will need a new friend. When a piggy passes, a bereaved piggy will be ready for a new friend after a few weeks.

When you do get him a new friend, you must go about it the right way. As character compatibility and mutual liking is key, if you were to get a new piggy on spec from a pet shop you don’t know if you will have compatibility therefore the bonding may fail and they will then need to live in separate but side by side cages for interaction through the bars. To ensure you have compatibility the best way to find a new companion is via boar dating at a rescue centre. They can help match your piggy with a companion to ensure they bond Before you bring them both back home.

if you don’t have the option of dating and do get a piggy on spec, then you must prepare for failure but hope for the best. You need to carry out the introductions in the correct way (neutral territory). I will add in some guides below which explain everything in more detail.

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Looking After A Bereaved Guinea Pig
 

haleya

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First, I’m sorry for your loss.

In terms of boar behaviour, it is perfectly normal for boars to not sleep together, not cuddle, not groom but the fact they weren’t fighting means they were bonded. My two boars are well bonded but won’t share anything.

He may appear to be fine because piggies will just get on with life, its survival, but it doesn’t mean he is happy. They do much better with a partner. He will be ok for a while, you need to be ready for a new piggy as well, but he will need a new friend. When a piggy passes, a bereaved piggy will be ready for a new friend after a few weeks.

When you do get him a new friend, you must go about it the right way. As character compatibility and mutual liking is key, if you were to get a new piggy on spec from a pet shop you don’t know if you will have compatibility therefore the bonding may fail and they will then need to live in separate but side by side cages for interaction through the bars. To ensure you have compatibility the best way to find a new companion is via boar dating at a rescue centre. They can help match your piggy with a companion to ensure they bond Before you bring them both back home.

if you don’t have the option of dating and do get a piggy on spec, then you must prepare for failure but hope for the best. You need to carry out the introductions in the correct way (neutral territory). I will add in some guides below which explain everything in more detail.

Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Looking After A Bereaved Guinea Pig
Thank you so much for your response. What you're saying definitely makes sense. Unfortunately, there are no rescues for guinea pigs anywhere near me so boar dating isn't an option. However, I was able to introduce Rocket and Chewy without any issue so I think if necessary, I'll be able to introduce him to a pig from a pet store.
Thank you so much for the links as well!
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you so much for your response. What you're saying definitely makes sense. Unfortunately, there are no rescues for guinea pigs anywhere near me so boar dating isn't an option. However, I was able to introduce Rocket and Chewy without any issue so I think if necessary, I'll be able to introduce him to a pig from a pet store.
Thank you so much for the links as well!
it’s a shame you don’t have a rescue nearby as it is by far the safest option but of course that isn’t available to everybody.
.The only reason rocket and chewy worked is because they were compatible. There is a 50% chance of failure when buying a pet shop piggy to bond with one you already have as you have absolutely no way of knowing if they are in fact going to like each other - even if follow all the correct bonding procedures. Of course getting a new friend for him is absolutely best but you do need to prepare for failure and the potential for needing two side by side cages when buying a piggy on spec as there are no guarantees. Having two piggies live side by side enables interaction through the bars to prevent loneliness if the bonding does fail
 

Siikibam

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I’m sorry for your loss. You’ve been given great advice above. One thing I want to emphasise is that you make sure to double check the sex of the piggy you get.
 

haleya

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it’s a shame you don’t have a rescue nearby as it is by far the safest option but of course that isn’t available to everybody.
.The only reason rocket and chewy worked is because they were compatible. There is a 50% chance of failure when buying a pet shop piggy to bond with one you already have as you have absolutely no way of knowing if they are in fact going to like each other - even if follow all the correct bonding procedures. Of course getting a new friend for him is absolutely best but you do need to prepare for failure and the potential for needing two side by side cages when buying a piggy on spec as there are no guarantees. Having two piggies live side by side enables interaction through the bars to prevent loneliness if the bonding does fail
Thank you! Yes, I know I'll have to prepare for the case in which they need to stay separated, I've been through this before with Rocket and Chewy as well and was lucky that they ended up getting along with each other and I could take down the second C&C. So if I do try another pig, I'll set up another C&C right by Chewy's, and if they eventually like each other enough to share a cage, that would be great.
Thank you so much again for your guidance!
 

haleya

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I’m sorry for your loss. You’ve been given great advice above. One thing I want to emphasise is that you make sure to double check the sex of the piggy you get.
Definitely will do, but I'll admit I've never determined the sex of a pig before. I'm sure this site has some resources for me regarding that when the time comes! :) Thank you!
 

Siikibam

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Have a read of the guide linked below. I would start with your boar now. Look at him and see what he's like. Penis ridge and slit goes straight down, no fleshy seal. Be aware they may never like each other enough to share space. You were lucky because sometimes once they've decided that's it.
Sexing Guide
 
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