Guinea Pigs make great pets. They live for several years and with regular handling, they can become quite affectionate and fun to be around. Like any pet, you must meet all of their welfare needs from ensuring they have adequate food and water to attending regular vet checkups and health checks.
Some owners also report that their Guinea Pigs miss them when they go away and, as such, it can be tempting to take a Guinea Pig away camping with you. After all, it gives them some fresh air and you can spend time together. While it is possible to do this, and you don’t really need any special equipment or items, it is important to consider the temperatures your Cavie will experience while camping. If it is going to be too hot or too cold, it is best to leave them at home because they do not do well in extreme temperatures and it can be very difficult to heat or cool a tent.
Furthermore, Guinea Pigs can get stressed by changes to their environment and routine, so camping with your Guinea Pig might not be the best idea even if you can provide ideal conditions. If you have determined that the weather will be acceptable and the vet has OK’ed your camping trip, read on for more information on what you need to take with you.
Check With Your Vet
Guinea Pigs can get very stressed when faced with a new environment or even a change in their routine. And this stress can lead to health problems and even dietary problems. Check with your vet before you take your Guinea Pig camping. Let them know the likely temperatures and other conditions that your Cavie will face. If they recommend against taking your pet with you, find somebody that will care for them while you’re away and leave them at home.
If you are taking your Guinea Pig camping, below are some of the most important provisions and items that you will need to take with you.
Even if you let your Guinea Pig have the run of a room at home, you must have a secure enclosure with you while camping. The enclosure will protect them from everything ranging from bad weather to potential predators. It should be big enough for your Guinea Pig to be able to live in but not so large that you end up having to leave it outside the tent.
2. Hutch Cover
A hutch cover can protect against some cold and some heat, although it won’t be enough to protect against real extremes of temperature.
You can bathe a Guinea Pig just the same when camping as you would at home. However, you will need to make sure that you dry them off as soon as they get out of the water. Take a towel, make sure it’s clean, and reserve it solely for the use of your pet.
Take enough food to last the whole trip, and ensure you have a bit spare just in case some food gets spilled or your Guinea is eating more than usual while in new surroundings. You may find it difficult to get out and find a pet food store, or even a greengrocer, so take some treats but bear in mind you are unlikely to have a fridge in which to keep perishables.
Even if there is going to be a tap near your tent, it can be a good idea to take fresh water with you for your Cavie. Fill a bottle with more than enough water for the trip and use the water that your Guinea Pig usually drinks.
If your Guinea Pig is on any medication, you need to take it with you. It’s easy to forget medication, but if you do, it may mean having to abandon your camping trip early to get home.
7. ID Tag
You should never let your Cavie out of its cage, outdoors, when camping. And you need to be very careful even when you’re in your tent. Do get an ID tag and put your cell number on there so if the worst does happen and your Guinea Pig escapes, you can be contacted if somebody finds it.
If your Guinea Pig gets stressed or struggles with water from a different area, it can make a mess of whatever bedding is in the cage. Take more than enough bedding to last the entire trip, especially if the external temperature is likely to be a few degrees colder than your pet is used to.
Tips For Camping With a Guinea Pig
1. Never Leave Them Unattended
Never leave your Guinea Pig unattended, even if you are only going for a short hike. If they get out of the cage, it won’t take too much effort for them to get out of the tent, and if there are predators in the area that hear or smell your Guinea Pig, a tent wall is unlikely to provide much protection. If other people on your campsite know there is a Guinea Pig in your tent, there is no guarantee of its safety.
2. Take An Umbrella
If you put the cage outside the tent while you’re sitting with it, direct sunlight can be a real concern for your friend. One way to offer protection from the sun is to use an umbrella. It provides enough shade to cover an entire cage, is easy to move around, and can be closed and brought inside the tent when not in use.
3. Predators Are a Threat
There are a lot of wild animals that might be considered natural predators to Guinea Pigs, even if they wouldn’t naturally come into contact with them. Anything from foxes to bears might be attracted to the sight, smell, or noise of a Guinea Pig and this could put your Guinea Pig and you in danger. If this is likely to be a threat, you should reconsider taking your pet camping with you.
4. If In Doubt, Leave Them At Home
If you are in any doubt, whether it’s because of temperature or the fact that your Cavie gets stressed out in new environments, leave them at home and have somebody look after them for you. It is best to err on the side of caution and look for other ways you can spend some quality time together.
Guinea Pigs are fascinating and friendly little pets and owners are encouraged to spend as much time as possible with their Cavies to help their social development and ensure that they don’t get bored or lonely. It is possible to take a Guinea Pig camping, although it isn’t always recommended because they can get stressed out by a change in their environment.
Featured Image Credit: Charleen Magne, Shutterstock