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Thread: Traveling Guinea Pig Mom

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    Cavy Slave
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    Traveling Guinea Pig Mom

    I need some advice from you fellow guinea pig owners.

    When I first got my pigs back in February, one reason I went for them was because at the time I had never done much traveling (a day or overnight trip once a month was about it). However, ever since then, it feels like I'm traveling a lot more than I was. I have family that moved close to seven hours away, a distance that means I'm likely to be gone for a few days at a time.

    I just got back from a five-day trip and left the boys in the care of my brother, whom they like. The boys at first acted like they didn't know me and were unusually skittish, but a few hours later they're acting more like normal. I'm worried because I have at least two more trips of similar length this year (with the potential for more), and I don't want my boys to suffer because I'm gone and because they're so used to me being around for several hours at a time.

    I'm wondering if I need to reconsider owning them or if there's another way to keep giving them attention even while I travel. Any tips would be appreciated!

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling Guinea Pig Mom

    As long as your brother is feeding and watering them, keeping the cage clean, and monitoring for medical issues, they'll be fine. I hate to be the one to tell you, but they vastly prefer food to your company!

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling Guinea Pig Mom

    No, no no! Don't even think of rehoming them for this reason. Would you give away children for these reasons? Their reaction to your return was perfectly normal.

    One of my previous cavies was extraordinarily bonded to me and became more so after his brother died and he was an only child. I used to work with a clinic in Mexico and about every six weeks I spent around 10 days in Mexico at the clinic and worked from home here in CT the rest of the time. One time when I was away, my husband said, "Chester is depressed". And, of course I asked him, "how do you know.....did he tell you this?" He said that Chester didn't seem to want to come out of the cage for laptime, was staying in his cozy more, and his appetite seemed off.

    When I came home, sure enough he was skittish at first, but within 24 hours, all was right in Chester's world once again. Some seem to have a longer memory than others. Sparky had a medical emergency last week and was in the hospital for two days. When I picked him up, it was like, "oh, hi Mom........did you bring any food?" It wasn't quite the warm welcome I expected.

    Like most animals, cavies live in the present........which I sometimes think is a gift. So long as your boys like your brother and are well taken care of, I see no problem with your travels. Just don't expect them to greet you as enthusiastically as a dog would. It doesn't matter if you go away for a week or a few hours, a dog will be just as excited to see you on your return each time. Occasionally, my cavies have exhibited joy on my return with, "oh, Mom, you came back......you're really back!", but of course this is my ascribing human traits to a guinea pig.

    Insofar as giving them attention while you travel, I have no idea about this. Talking to them on the phone doesn't work. They know who you are by smell, touch, and perhaps the sound of your voice. You could monitor them with a nanny cam, but that only benefits you and not them. So long as your brother gives them a lot of attention, I think they will be just fine........and so will you.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Traveling Guinea Pig Mom

    Part of my concern is that my brother won't always be there to take care of them. Like, for example, on my next two trips, he'll be coming with me, so he can't serve as their caretaker during those times. Which means I'll have to get someone that the pigs don't know to stop by twice a day. Which I fear won't be enough because the boys like it when people are around and get depressed when they pretty much spend the entire day and night with no one in the room.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling Guinea Pig Mom

    As I said earlier, if they're fed, watered, and monitored for illness, they'll be fine. I'd want someone to check on them a couple of times a day.

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    Cavy Slave spy9doc's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling Guinea Pig Mom

    Quote Originally Posted by thistlewriter View Post
    I'll have to get someone that the pigs don't know to stop by twice a day.
    Do be realistic and don't set up barriers for yourself.

    I have created a cavy care sheet for anyone who may take care of my cavies. Create specific instructions for their care and do include their Vet's information and an emergency facility should they need one.

    I portion all their salads in individual baggies so that the caretaker has to just reach into the fridge and empty it on a plate....no menu decisions necessary. Have both hay and pellets available to the boys 24/7. They will survive even if they don't have any veggies. Put everything within easy reach of the cage......pellets, hay, extra liners, vacuum, etc. Most important - have the caretaker come over and actually go through the care and feeding routines with you in advance of your leaving. If you normally use fleece liners, you may want to consider switching to litter in the cage while you're away. The caretaker can just scoop out the wet spots and poops and add fresh litter.

    My cavies count on one generous meal per day, usually around 5-6pm. They may have a snack at other times, but if no one is around, they will do just fine on hay and pellets. Also be sure to have two water bottles available to them. Should one malfunction, at least they aren't without water. Yes, I too would want to have someone come in twice a day, but if that's not possible, they will survive with one thorough cage tidying per day and one generous veggie meal.

    Don't expect a caretaker to sit around until the boys have finished eating and then have laptime with them for an hour unless the individual is a cavy lover and has the time. As @bpatters said, "if they're fed, watered, and monitored for illness, they'll be fine".
    Last edited by spy9doc; 06-25-19 at 06:57 pm.

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    Cavy Slave Rywen's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling Guinea Pig Mom

    So I go away for about a week at a time several times a year. I hire a pet sitter who comes in twice a day. Often itís a different person than the previous time.

    It would be far more traumatic to my piggies for them to be rehomed rather than have a pet sitter for a week or so occasionally.

    They donít seem to care, as long as they are being fed on the usual schedule.

    They do act a bit off when I get back, which is really just a readjustment to having a person in the house all the time rather than for just a few minutes twice a day. Things get back to normal pretty quickly, within a day.

    Oh, and depending on where you live and funds availability, pet sitters offer house sitting if you want someone to stay with them most of the time. Or they have longer length visits with your pet (1 hour vs. 15 minutes). Mine get lap time with the pet sitter at night (30-45 minute visit).

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    Cavy Slave Candalalala's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling Guinea Pig Mom

    You could take them with you. As a college student, I would travel home once a month for a weekend, sometimes a week. I would take c&c grids, fleece liners, and their coroplast kitchen and set up a temporary 2x3 cage. My guinea pigs weren’t too skittish with this setup as we traveled a lot, and started since they were 1-2 months old, though.
    My traveling was 3 hours to me destination.

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