Traveing with Guinea Pigs

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The day finally came: it was time to embark on a cross-country drive from Los Angeles, California to New York, New York. At first, travelling with our seven guinea pigs seemed like a major roadblock. In the end, though, driving through 11 states with a bunch of little pigs was not as hard as we thought it would be.

All seven guinea pigs were absolutely unfazed by the entire 8-day journey. Despite the long hours of driving and the heat of summer, the pigs seemed to enjoy the trip, especially when we made it to the various hotels each night when they were rewarded with fresh veggies.

Preparation:

Our guinea pigs live in a large C&C cage. They aren’t used to enclosed spaces, so we needed to figure out the best way to transport them where they wouldn’t feel unsafe or too enclosed.

We went to Target to buy the things we needed to construct makeshift homes for the pigs. We bought:

  • two large containers with lids (one for 4 pigs, one for 3 pigs)
  • a large, dark bathroom towel
  • duct tape

From the pet store we got some important supplies as well:

  • natural paper bedding
  • two water bottles
  • extra food pellets
  • extra hay

We already had these items, but you also need:

  • huts for the guinea pigs to hide
  • a toy or two
  • bowl for food
  • empty cardboard box (or similar) for hay
 Guinea pigs shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight for any extended period of time. We prepared the containers to ensure that our pigs had shade while they relaxed in their home.
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Here are the steps:
  1. Cut the lid of the container in half
  2. Cut a piece of dark towel to fit the entire halved piece of lid, with a few extra inches on each side so it can wrap around the lid
  3. Use duct tape to secure the towel to the lid
  4. Wrap the edges of the towel around the edges of the lid so the edges are covered (especially the jagged edge from cutting it in half)
Next:
  1. Cut a hole in the side of the container for the water bottle spout to go through
  2. Use duct tape to secure the water bottle to the side of the container (extra duct tape is needed throughout the journey to re-adhere the bottle to the container every time you take it off to fill it up
  3. Fill the container with paper bedding
  4. Put in house, toys, box with hay and food bowl

This is what the ensemble looked like:

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Linus and Bea enjoying the journey (GLAD box is an empty box with hay)

The Drive:

The containers we bought fit perfectly across 2/3 of the backseats (more like a back-bench). We put some sturdy objects on the other 1/3 of the backseat to make sure the container wouldn’t slide around while driving. The container should be securely in place.

While driving, we’d quickly look back at the pigs to see them simply resting, completely relaxed by the hum of the engine and gentle movement of the car. When we stopped for gas or food during a day of driving, we left the windows down and kept the rest stops brief in order to start the cars and get the AC going again.

When we booked hotels for the night, we’d first make sure they had a pet-friendly policy. Surprisingly, most hotels and motels did. When we carried in the two containers, people were always excited and interested in the guinea pigs.

When we were in the middle of nowhere in states like Arizona and Nebraska, with very little around, it was hard to find places that had fresh vegetables. Once or twice we had to ask a restaurant for a plain salad with nothing on it, just the straight up lettuce (no iceberg lettuce).

At night, we would create small playpen on the floor (using our bags and such) so the pigs could walk around and get some exercise after laying all day. They were always very happy and wheeked like crazy as they popcorned around the hotel room floors.

It was an easier journey than expected. We were so glad the pigs were happy and content throughout the whole trip. They even got to see some amazing sights along the way!

 

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