It is not always possible to find vacation care for the guinea pig.
But do you have to give up your vacation or can you simply take your beloved pet with you?
In this article we tell you whether you can travel with a guinea pig and what you MUST pay attention to in any case, so as not to endanger the health of the animal significantly.
Why can a trip be problematic for guinea pigs?
A vacation trip, as beautiful and relaxing as it may be for you, means psychological and physical stress for the small mammals.
Their flight instinct is triggered by noise, bustle and vibrations typical of a car trip.
However, the guinea pigs cannot escape in the small transport box and therefore suffer from stress, which they can only relieve poorly.
Stress, in turn, is dangerous for guinea pigs as it increases their susceptibility to diseases as well as the risk of aggression in the group and behavioral problems.
Guinea pigs only feel truly comfortable and relaxed in familiar surroundings.
Another problem is that you usually can’t take an enclosure of a species-appropriate size with you because there is not enough space.
Even on vacation it can be difficult for you to meet the space requirements of your guinea pigs and to provide for exercise.
Another hurdle results from the fact that hotels usually do not allow pets in their rooms. Also many landlords of vacation apartments prefer tenants without pets for reasons of hygiene or limit the permission to bring animals to dogs or cats.
Legally, a landlord cannot prohibit you from keeping small animals such as guinea pigs, but you should definitely ask beforehand if you are allowed to bring your animals with you.
What do guinea pigs need when traveling?
If you want to travel with your guinea pigs, you should know that younger and healthy animals will tolerate the trip better than older or sick animals.
So if you have older animals among your guinea pigs, you won’t do them any favors with a vacation, as they will suffer especially.
In addition, you should only travel with a pack that has already settled the hierarchy, so that the guinea pigs are not additionally stressed by rank fights on the way.
You should never take a single guinea pig with you on vacation. As pack animals, guinea pigs need the company of their conspecifics, so at least one other, better two to three other guinea pigs should go on vacation with them.
This helps the animals cope with stress and ensures that stress hormones can be reduced more quickly.
This way you protect the health of your guinea pigs, because high levels of stress hormones can make them sick, similar to a human being.
How can you avoid stress when traveling?
Familiar smells have a calming effect.
You can take the barn smell with you by using some already used litter from home, so that the guinea pigs feel at home faster at the vacation destination.
On the road, the guinea pigs also need their usual hiding places, such as a cottage, where they can retreat in the unfamiliar situation.
If you put the cottage in the transport box, you will give the guinea pigs a good place to retreat to, which will make the trip easier for them.
To avoid additional stress, you should not take your guinea pigs on trips to other time zones at all, if possible.
It is important for them that you maintain familiar routines and feeding times, as guinea pigs do not understand the concept of time differences.
Your pets should also already know and trust you well as their caregiver. The sound of your voice will then cause them to relax and feel less of a stranger in the new environment.
Food and medical care
A guinea pig traveling will need its usual food, such as pellets or other dry food and fresh food.
This way you prevent digestive problems or the guinea pig getting sick on the road.
However, finding good quality fresh food at your vacation destination may require additional effort. Therefore, it is best to find out in advance exactly what shopping facilities are available.
Before booking, find out if there is a vet in town and if you can communicate with him, possibly in English.
In case of emergency, it may be important to quickly organize medical treatment for a guinea pig.
In general, you should pay more attention to signs of illness during the trip so that you do not miss any disease.
Which destinations are suitable?
In general, a vacation home or apartment is a good option because you have the space to set up a large enclosure.
It would be best if you take the home hutch including further equipment such as playing, climbing and sleeping facilities with you and set it up in the vacation home.
In addition, the guinea pigs need space for daily exercise, which must be secured so that none of the animals escapes or gets hurt. If there is a garden, you should get permission from the landlord before letting the guinea pigs run around there.
The ideal vacation spot for guinea pigs is within a temperate climate, that is, in central Europe or in the mountains.
However, you should avoid traveling to climates characterized by extremely high temperatures and high humidity, such as the tropics.
Guinea pigs cannot tolerate very high temperatures and run the risk of overheating.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of different means of transport?
When traveling by car, you can theoretically take everything with you that you can fit in the storage space, but because of your own luggage, you might quickly find that it gets cramped.
The biggest problems with a car trip for guinea pigs are the length of the trip, lack of exercise, and the risk of heat stroke in the trunk.
So if you want to travel with the guinea pigs in summer, you should not do it at the hottest time of the day. If it is unavoidable to travel in high outdoor temperatures, it is better to bring the animals into the air-conditioned interior.
If you are traveling by plane, transporting them in the noisy, unheated cargo hold can be an ordeal for the guinea pigs.
When traveling abroad, you must also consider that vaccinations may be necessary. Furthermore, you must observe any quarantine regulations when entering the vacation country and when returning.
Whenever possible, it is better to have your guinea pigs cared for at home by friends or relatives.
Alternatively, you can hire a pet sitter or place the guinea pigs in a boarding kennel where they will be well cared for. This way you can be sure that you can enjoy a nice and relaxed vacation and that your animals are well.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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