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General How can I take my pigs with me on vacation?

RoxyandLilo

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My parents want to go on vacation for 5-6 days to our house in SC. I live in Florida. My problem is, the guinea pigs are high maintenance and I know this sounds bad, but I don't trust anyone to fully take care of them the way they should be taken care of. I'm the only one that knows all about them in my family. Plus, asking them to do all that work really isn't fair and I know they won't give them fresh veggies every day, make sure their hay is full, make sure the food is full, vacuum all the poop, etc. Taking their huge 2 story 2x5 isn't an option. Would it be bad to put them in pet store cages and let them out to play? I'm really desperate for ideas here. I have two pairs of piggies, and they have to stay separate, because one of them just refuses to get along with any pig other than her friend.

I hope lots of people answer because we're going up twice this month and I really cannot leave them down here.
 

Inle_Rabbit

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Are you driving or flying? Could you hire a pet sitter and just precut and portion out some of your veggies? Instead of using fleece while you are gone what about switching to wood chips or pellets so that it is less work on whomever you are getting to care for them? I would think it would be a lot less stressful on the piggies to stay home rather than drive however many house in a car to get to South Carolina from Florida and then spend a week in a tiny pet store cage only to drive all the way back. It would be a ton less stressful if you are planning to fly!
 

RoxyandLilo

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We're driving. It's about 7 hours. I can't afford to hire a pet sitter for practically half of December.
 

RoxyandLilo

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I suppose I could afford it because it's not like I dont spend a lot on them anyways, but my parents won't let me because they'll think it's ridiculous.
 

petgal49

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Do you have a friend or neighbour that could drop by daily and make sure they are okay? You could write out a detailed list of what is all to be done regarding the pigs. That is what I usually do.
 

bpatters

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Some people do travel fairly often with their piggies. Some pigs do ok, others get pretty stressed out. If you've never traveled with them before, you won't know which category yours fall into.

Assuming you have no other pets that are going, you could get a couple of boxes of grids and zip-tie them together accordion fashion, leaving the ends open. You can then set them in any configuration you want to make a large safe play area. You and make two of them, and zip-tie the ends to each pet store cage, let the cage be the kitchen area while you're there and the fenced in area be a place to run around. A shower curtain from the dollar store and an old blanket will be fine for them to run around on. When you take the grids down, you just fold them back and forth until you have a neat stack.

If you do travel with them, you'll need plenty of hay, and their veggies should be extra wet. Don't hang water bottles while they're riding -- they'll just leak. You'll have to offer water to them every hour or so.
 

RoxyandLilo

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I know I cant speak from experience, but I think my pigs would do alright. I'm definitely going to try and do what you said, bpatters. Hopefully my dad will let me. What would I have them in while in the car? The pet store cage I would later use as a kitchen?
 

bpatters

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The pet store cages would work. If you have room, a large plastic storage bin may be larger than the cage, and you could rotate the two sets of pigs through it for a change of scenery and a little more room. Mine travel in a fairly large dog crate, and can do fine for a long trip in that.
 

RoxyandLilo

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I have room for two large storage bins. I think I'll do that. That'll be more room and it'll be considerable cheaper. Thanks for all of your help
 

Inle_Rabbit

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These type of water bottles do not leak in the car. I've used them many times when transporting rabbits over distances. It does take them some time to figure out how to use them though since the spout is not the typical ball spout.

waterbottle.jpg
 

Kieri

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i know what you mean by not trusting anyone to take care of them. i only trust my boyfriend to properly take care of my piggies because he sees what i do with them every single day. (and he knows the wrath he'll have to face if he doesn't treat them like princesses)

a while ago i had a neighbor of mine watch one of my piggies. unfortunately, she didn't know much about guinea pigs, so i bought a small 3-ring binder and filled it with several pages of information; food, dos and don'ts, illnesses/symptoms, noises, hygiene, floor time, number to my pig's vet, etc. i know i may have came off as a high strung, worry-wart, but i felt at ease knowing the pigsitter had loads of information to rely on if she couldn't get a hold of me.

if you end up taking your piggies with you, you can keep them in a dog kennel during the car ride and stick them in a cage once you arrive to your destination.

before you go on your trip, make sure to stick them in the kennel or carrier of your choice often so they can get used to it.

some pigs can handle travel, other piggies don't. a few months ago i drove all the way from pennyslvania down to texas. my guinea pig was in her carrier for 20 hours or so; she survived and she showed no signs of stress throughout the entire trip.

i got my second pig a few weeks after moving. she wasn't the best with traveling, but she has grown used to it. the first time i kennel-traveled her, my experienced pig acted like it was no big deal, while my newer pig stayed perfectly still and looked terrified.

after a few more trips in my car, my newer pig has grown used to it and shows no signs of stress or fear.

what i do is i keep the kennel opened and out on the floor, so when my piggies are having floor time, they can freely roam in and out of the kennel as they please. this helps animals get used to the carrier; instead of associating it with 'scary car rides,' they'll think nothing of it since they have been exposed to it so much.

as for the kennel itself: i lay a couple of layers of fleece and towels down and i attach a water bottle to the opening of the kennel. i don't put food bowls in the carrier anymore, because my pigs repeatedly knock it over. instead, give them some veggies here and there while they're in it. you may notice your pigs burrowing under layers of fleece, this is fine, it makes them feel safer and more comfortable.

if you do take them, make sure the temperature in the car is not too hot or cold. rule of thumb, if it's too hot or cold for you, then it is for your pigs. keep in mind they are in an enclosed kennel, so if it's hot in the car, then it's doubly hot in the kennel.

i think once you have introduced the kennel to them, you should practice driving them around or carrying them around the house with them inside the kennel. if they are stressed, take it slow. if they show absolutely NO signs of growing comfortable with traveling, then look into getting a pigsitter.

if you can tell they are getting better and better with each practice travel you take, then chances are it'll be safe to bring them with you! :)
 
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