Guinea pigs are adorable. They’re small, sweet, and not too hard to maintain, so they make excellent companions. But inevitably, you’ll have to take some trips, to the vet, or to do chores. You may even have to move. What happens to your little friend then? Can guinea pigs go on long car rides?
Guinea pigs can go on car rides, even extended trips that are several hours to days long, if they are provided with a safe, comfortable, and enriching environment to keep them busy and calm during the journey.
The best ways to transport a guinea pig depend on the weather you’ll be traveling in and how long the trip is going to be.
Guinea Pig Traveling Basics
Regardless of how long or short, the trip is, you’ll want a few basics with you for your furry friend to ride comfortably. These things help both you and your guinea pig by making the trip as smooth, safe, and relaxing as possible.
- A reliable car carrier. A guinea pig car carrier should be big enough to comfortably house your guinea so that they can walk around slightly without the risk of going flying if you need to turn or stop suddenly. The recommended size is roughly 12 in x 19 in x 12 in, though this may vary depending on the size of your animal.
- Lining for the carrier. Fleece pads or puppy pads work well for this, as o paper bedding, Aspen, or a small towel. Don’t use hay or stuffing, as that might cause suffocation.
- Food. Depending on the length of the trip, you may need just a few snacks or several meals worth of your guinea’s regular pet food. You should also bring along greens and other water-rich vegetables, such as cucumber, to provide them with a water source, since water bottles can slosh and spill.
- Water. Though it shouldn’t be placed directly in the carrier, you should still have some source of water with you for stops and emergencies.
- Small enrichment toys. This could be something as simple as hay in a toilet paper tube, or it could be a professional toy. Just be sure that it won’t present a suffocation hazard.
Be sure that the carrier is prepped and secured before you start driving, and check in on your guinea regularly.
Trips in Hot Weather with Guinea Pigs
Your guinea pig can’t sweat, so you’ll need to be careful when regulating their body temperature on hot trips. Keep their carrier out of direct sunlight and away from the direct line of the AC vents (this may make your guinea pig too cold and cause illness). Keep the car at a consistent, comfortable temperature, and be sure to give them plenty of water.
A good trick for cooling the carrier is to freeze a small water bottle and wrap it in a sock or towel. This way, the guinea pig has something cold to lean against that isn’t going to hurt them, even if they nibble into it.
Trips in Cold Weather with Guinea Pigs
Just as with hot trips, you’ll need to keep an eye on your guinea pig’s temperature in cold weather. Keep your vehicle’s heater on a comfortable setting, and be sure to cover your carrier when transporting your pet to and from the vehicle. You should also cover it with a blanket to retain heat.
Be sure that you have extra blankets and a plan in the event of a breakdown. Being stranded on the side of the road in the cold means you need another way to keep yourself and your guinea warm until help arrives.
Extended Car Rides with Guinea Pigs
If you’re going on a trip that’s more than three hours long, you’ll want to take extra precautions. Bring enough fresh greens and food with you (in a small cooler if you can) to feed and hydrate your guinea for the duration of the trip. A blanket over the carrier might be a good idea, as darker environments tend to reduce stress.
You’ll need somewhere for your guinea pig to exercise when you stop. A travel pen is great for this, as they’re designed to fold away when not in use. You may also consider bringing along a fold-away crate for them if you’re planning to stay somewhere overnight during your trip.
Guinea pigs make great companions, and that doesn’t have to stop just because you need to get in the car. It’s well worth the effort to make longer trips as stress-free as possible for your pet. It’ll save both of you a lot of hassle.
As long as they’re well prepared and comfortable, a guinea pig will be happy to go anywhere you want to take them.