With fresh food a daily requirement, guinea pigs can’t be left home alone. Whenever my family planned an overnight trip, our guinea pigs went along for the ride. In many ways, traveling with guinea pigs is a lot like traveling with small children. You’ll want to make sure they’re buckled up, bring along some familiar things, pack snacks for the ride and plan ahead.
Accidents can happen to even the most cautious drivers. Protect your guinea pigs by buckling them up. For the car ride, put your pigs in a small, hard-sided carrier and then buckle the carrier in with a seat belt. The carrier functions as both a cage and a hide-away. It allows adequate ventilation and helps protect your pets from crush injuries.
Bring along familiar things
As Pet Press points out, Guinea pigs tend to be nervous critters that aren’t crazy about the unexpected. To keep the calm and comfortable, turn the carrier into a home away from home. Line it with a shallow layer of their normal litter. If necessary, fold a piece of cardboard or tag board across the bottom front of the carrier and tape it in place to keep the litter from falling out. Just make sure your pet still has sufficient air flow and can’t chew on any adhesives.
Tuck some of their favorite hay, a small bowl of pellets and a few extra snacks into the carrier, but skip the water bottle. Water bottles inevitably leak when you’re on the road. To avoid ending up with wet, unhappy pigs, provide food that has high moisture content instead. Melon, cucumber or celery with the strings removed all work well. If your trip is really long, bring along a water bottle and let the pigs get a drink when you stop for a break.
To minimize the intrusion of unfamiliar noises, talk or play the radio. My kids love to take turns reading to the pigs when we travel. It keeps both kids and critters occupied and entertained.
Pack snacks for the ride
Guinea pigs are generally happiest when they’re eating. Pack a small cooler with favorite snacks and keep it where you can reach it. Periodically offer fresh snacks to help keep your pets calm and content.
Make sure your guinea pig will be safe and welcome whenever you stop. Never leave them alone in a car, as they could very easily overheat in the summer or get chilled in the winter.
If you’re planning to stay at a hotel, call ahead to make sure they allow pets. If you’re heading toward a friend or family member’s home, check that your pig will be welcome and that there’s a safe, comfortable place for their carrier that is out of reach of other pets or small children.
Pack enough food and hay for the duration of their trip. Pack a water bottle for drinks during rest breaks or for use once you reach your destination. Don’t forget to bring enough litter to keep your pet’s home away from home clean and dry.
As an added precaution, bring along your vet’s phone number. Exotic vets aren’t always easy to find, which means there may not be one where you’re staying. You may want to consider bookmarking the Guinea Lynx website, which offers a lot of advice and information that would be handy in an emergency.
Traveling with guinea pigs is similar to traveling with kids. Both count on you to keep them safe and happy. With a little preparation, you can all enjoy the car trip.
To read more about traveling with pets, click here.