How to Travel With a Hamster
If you're going on vacation but you're not quite sure what to do with your pet hamster, you basically have two options:
- take them with you
- find a sitter
Finding a sitter to watch your hamster while you are gone is really the better choice as it will reduce the amount of stress on your hamster, but sometimes you may not have any options and may have to take your hamster with you.
What to Do If You Are Moving
If you're moving, you may want to find a sitter until you have moved everything; the last thing you need to do after you are settled is bring your hamster to the new home. You don't want to leave your hamster alone for more than a few days at a time, so you may want the last thing that moves to the new house to be you and your hamster.
Otherwise, below are a few options and tips to traveling with your pet hamster, whether it be a short or long car trip or a plane ride. Just make sure that you always consider finding a sitter if you can, as it is much safer for your hamster to stay home rather than ride around, especially if it's just going to be a fairly short vacation.
Tips for Transporting Hamsters During Short Car Trips
Short car trips aren't quite as bad, and they're the best type of trip for your hamster. Short trips to the vet or to a friend's house to babysit your hamster isn't that big of an adventure.
You will want to put your hamster in a small travel carrier with some of the bedding from the cage as it will help the hamster feel a little more at home and safe. You can also consider taking a tunnel off of the hamster's cage and plugging it with a tunnel endcap for traveling as well.
For a short trip, your hamster won't need food or water, but you can put a small carrot, cucumber, or melon in the travel carrier in case your hamster gets a little hungry or thirsty; a water-based fruit or vegetable will help keep your hamster hydrated. You will also want to include a chew stick just to keep your hamster busy.
If you don't have someone to hold the carrier during the ride, stick it between the back and front seats so that if you have to make a sudden stop, your hamster won't go flying.
Tips for Transporting Hamsters During Long Car Trips
If you're moving or you have to take your hamster on a long car ride, you want to do everything that you can to reduce stress on your hamster. Depending on how long the ride is, you may want to use the hamster's regular cage for travel instead of a travel carrier. Wire cages are better because they allow for ventilation, but you'll want to put a sheet of cardboard in-between the seat and the cage so that the hamster can nibble on your car seats. A plastic cage will prevent your seats from being eaten, but they can act as an oven when in direct sunlight.
You want to stock the cage with food, toys, chew sticks, and bedding. Don't leave the water bottle in the cage as it can leak while your hamster is drinking; you may hit a bump harming your hamster and you don't want that. Offer water at rest stops or while the car is fully stopped.
Never get your hamster out of its cage while traveling. They will be stressed and will definitely try to find a way to get away. Be considerate of loud music, screaming or fighting children, and any disturbances. Your hamster will probably be sleeping while you're trying to drive during the day.
If you have to stay at a hotel overnight while in transit, bring the hamster inside. Most hotels won't even notice if you bring in a hamster cage, so don't worry about finding a pet-friendly hotel. You may have to put the cage in a bathroom so that you can get a good night's sleep before getting up and driving the next day, but you never want to leave the hamster in the car overnight.
Tips for Flying With a Hamster
If you're really taking a trip and you have to fly on a plane, you want to do your best at minimizing the stress. You're probably not equipped for shipping your hamster and his supplies, so take him on the plane with you. Pet cargo isn't the most ideal for your hamster because it'll be noisy and way too nerve-racking with the other pets and normal plane sounds. Plus, you just can't guarantee the temperature on the runway, baggage train, or in the cargo area; the temperatures may be too hot or too cold.
You will want to travel with your hamster with you as a carry-on. When getting on a plane with your hamster, you'll need a pet-approved travel carrier and maybe a medical certificate saying that the hamster is healthy and doesn't carry any diseases. You'll need to call the airline beforehand so that you can get any specifics before you show up with your hamster.
Consider Getting a Pet Sitter
Sometimes, it's just much easier if you get a friend or family member to babysit your pet hamster. It'll be one less thing to stress you or your pet. By getting someone to watch your hamster, his schedule and routine won't be disturbed.
In most cases, if you're just going on a weekend trip, then your hamster can stay by himself, but if you're staying for more than a weekend for a week or longer, you'll want to consider just getting a friend to watch your hamster. By calling around and finding someone to watch your hamster, you are doing the best thing for your hamster rather than taking them on your trip. Stress can easily stir up illnesses such as wettail, which can be fatal.
If you're able to find a pet sitter, you have two options:
- have the person come to your house to care for your hamster
- take your hamster and his entire setup to the person's house
Try to avoid taking the hamster to a pet boarding facility because the barking, bright lights, phones, slamming doors, and other noises will definitely stress out your hamster. Make sure that you give your sitter a written routine so that the stress on your hamster is reduced as much as possible. Consider feeding schedules, exercise, and cage cleaning routines.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.