If given the choice, guinea pigs would rather stay on their home turf with a pet sitter than go on a long trip. However, sometimes traveling with guinea pigs is inevitable, like when you're moving. Some advanced planning can help make the voyage a pleasant and comfortable one for both you and your pigs.
Traveling with your guinea pigs’ regular cage is probably not practical, as open cage bars will scatter bedding and poop all over the vehicle, and your pigs are likely to slide around as the vehicle moves. Opt instead for a soft-sided animal carrier that's well ventilated, or a plastic travel taxi with a metal wire front. One case and one hiding place for each pig is optimal. This way your guinea pigs will be safely contained, able to breathe, and will be able to see and hear you and each other during the course of the trip.
Line your travel carriers with soft towels. This will make for comfy bedding, and it also gives your guinea pigs something to grip onto if the car moves precariously in one direction or another. Put some shredded paper towels in one corner for your pigs to use as bathrooms, and be sure to change this out at every pit stop -- both for your guinea pigs’ comfort and so you and your passengers don't have to smell a guinea pig restroom.
Food and Water
Try to maintain a normal feeding schedule for your pigs, and if possible, time them with your own breaks. Stop about every two hours and offer your guinea pigs fresh greens, water, timothy hay or pellet food. Don’t leave the water bottle or dish in your pigs’ travel cages, as they are likely to spill and make your pigs wet and cold. Don't worry if your pigs don’t eat or drink much -- they’re probably just stressed from the travel.
When you stop, either for food and bathroom breaks or to spend the night in a hotel, make sure you take your guinea pig out of the travel carrier and offer lots of love and attention. Your pigs need an opportunity to stretch and get some air. Use extreme caution when you're in unfamiliar surroundings to make sure your guinea pigs don’t get loose and run away from you. A harness leash is a good option.
Be mindful of your guinea pigs’ safety during travels. Never allow your pigs to stay in a car alone, as temperatures can soar or decline quickly. Make sure your cage or carrying case is securely strapped into the seat to ensure it doesn't go sliding around if the vehicle turns or hits bumps.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.