Here are some tips to keep in mind if you are considering traveling with a chinchilla.
Whether you are headed out for vacation, moving, or on a work trip, it stands to reason that there will come a time when anyone who owns a little furicane will be faced with traveling with a chinchilla. With the right planning and preparation, you can alleviate the stress of the situation for you and your little travel companion.
What to remember when you are traveling with a chinchilla
- Chinchillas are incredibly sensitive to temperature. If you are traveling with a chinchilla in warmer months, you will want to take ample precautions to make sure they stay cool. If you’re traveling in the car, make sure to cool it down before putting them in and to keep the air on the entire time. Be aware of the potential for temperature differences between your front and back seats. And NEVER leave your chinchilla in the car! Flying with a chinchilla in extreme hot or cold is not advisable as it is so difficult to control the temperature.
- When traveling with a chinchilla, remember that it is probably scary for them. Some suggest that giving them chamomile or lavender as a treat during the trip can be therapeutic. Another idea to keep their stress to a minimum is to let them spend some time in their travel cage in the days before leaving so that they can get comfortable with it. Not only are smaller carriers practical in terms of your ease in carrying and loading it, but they are also important to the safety of your chinchilla. While traveling with a chinchilla, you want to make sure he has ample room to move and stretch, but you also do not want him to be in a very large cage—it increases the possibility that the chinchilla will be injured while traveling. You will likely need two cages; a travel home - something small that your chinchilla will spend most of their time in while on vacation, and a carrier - a very small cage to use why traveling in the car/plane. You will want to remember to add a small amount of hay to the cage. Make sure that the carrier is well-ventilated and that all of the latches on it are secure. Your chinchilla is sure to be terrified if he has to navigate the inside of a moving car or airplane! When traveling with a chinchilla, he will also probably appreciate the addition of something in his travel cage that he can hide inside or under when he becomes scared.
- Remember the water, but do not hang up a water bottle. The thing about the ball-bearing water bottle you probably use most of the time at home is that when it is inside a car or plane, it will likely drip. This will lead to your chinchilla getting wet, which will make the chinchilla angry. Traveling with a chinchilla might be stressful; traveling with an angry chinchilla is definitely stressful. Offer your chinchilla water every few hours to ensure he stays hydrated.
- If you can, schedule your trip so that the bulk of your travel time will be during the day. The hope is that by doing this, your nocturnal chinchilla will sleep for most of the trip (kind of like reverse of parents who drive places at night or during their kids’ nap times). If you have taken all of the steps necessary to make sure that the chinchilla is safe and comfortable, he will likely settle down after a few minutes and nod off.
- If you are lucky enough to get your chinchilla to sleep, do not wake him up! The amount of noise your chinchilla will tolerate is obviously variable and you will be the best judge. If he is normally kept in a quiet room, than it might be a good idea to keep the radio down and talking to a minimum when traveling with a chinchilla. Obviously if you are on an airplane, you are limited in how much control you have over this. If possible, you may want to try to get a seat near the front of the plane so that there is less noise from the engine.
- Food, etc. … While pellets and the like will most likely scatter if put into a carrier while inside a moving car, do not make the mistake of getting so caught up in planning for your trip that you forget something really obvious like food. You will want to make sure that you have enough food to more than last the duration of your trip. The last thing your chinchilla needs is the added stress of having to adjust to unfamiliar food because you forgot the stuff he normally eats at home.
- Have fun! While traveling with a chinchilla is certainly not easy, you will be rewarded in knowing that you have taken all of the steps necessary to ensure your chinchilla’s safety and comfort.
P.S. If you are a new chinchilla owner don't forget to check out our Ultimate New Owner Checklist