Because they’re used to living in cages, many small animals travel well. If you can transport your pet’s living habitat, then you’re ready to travel. If, however, your pet has special needs (heat lamps, ponds, heated rocks, exercise wheels), then travel isn’t such a good idea. People who travel in an RV, however, might be able to set up an ideal living habitat for their small pet and take it one the road with them. In this case, it’s all about planning and dedication!
Tips for Safely Traveling with Small Animals
Pet Proofing Your Vehicle
Odds are that, if you’re taking your small animal on a trip with you, you’ll want to let it out of its cage at some point (preferably when the car or RV isn’t moving.) If you’ll be doing that, it’s crucial that you pet-proof your vehicle first. You’d be surprised by the number of tiny cracks and hollows a small pet can find in a car.
Under the Dash
Shine a flashlight under the dash and look for pet-sized exits. Remember that your pet can escape through any opening that’s the size of its head or larger! If your pet were to get up under the dash while you were driving, it could get stuck in the engine block or fall out on the road—both disasters. Even if the car were stopped, an animal that’s loose in the engine block is a big problem.
Block off the Trunk
If you’re in a car, be sure to block any exits into the trunk. Many cars have gaps and cracks under or behind the back seat. If a pet got through, it could get into the trunk and possibly asphyxiate or scratch its way out and fall into the road. At the very least, it could get lost.
If your pet is large enough, have it wear a collar or harness with an ID tag whenever you travel. Put your cell phone number on the tag, so rescuers can get a hold of you right away.
A Comfy Carrier
If the ride is going to be longer than a couple of hours, think about ways to make your pet more comfortable in its cage. A ferret might want a tray of kitty litter and small shelf-boxes for food and water. Your pet might appreciate some toys or fruit snacks. Be sure to line the cage with plenty of newspaper or with a soft towel or comfy mat.
If the weather is cold, bring along extra towels or blankets for your pet. If it’s hot, bring a cold pack or plastic jug full of ice inside the carrier or near the cage, to keep your pet from getting overheated. And never leave a pet alone in a car, especially if the weather is warm.