If you are planning to travel with your hamster, whether it is a short car trip to your veterinarian or you are moving houses, it is important to make the travel experience comfortable and as stress-free as possible for your hamster.
Hamsters can easily get stressed, which can harm their health, and long travels can cause your hamster to become restless and stressed out. We’ve created this list of tips and tricks that you can use to make traveling an easier experience for your hamster.
Top 6 Tips for Traveling With a Hamster
1. Place Them in a Travel Cage or Carrier
Moving vehicles can also cause your hamster’s cage accessories to fall onto them and injure them, such as wheels, platforms, and large toys. If you are planning to travel with your hamster for a short time, perhaps for a quick visit to a veterinarian or another close destination, you can place them in a secure small pet carrier.
These carriers will have fitted lids with ventilation that your hamster cannot escape, and the small space will be ideal for 1–3 hours until you can place them back into their main cage. If you are traveling for a longer period with your hamster, you can put them in a smaller cage that can be found in pet stores that can provide your hamster with more space during long travels.
2. Add a Thick Layer Of Familiar Substrate
Hamsters love to burrow and feel safer when they have a deep layer of substrate to burrow into. If your hamster’s travel carrier or cage allows it, you can create a substrate depth of 6 to 8 inches so your hamster can form a shallow burrow. You can add your hamster’s substrate from the main cage into the travel cage or carrier so that they have their familiar scent with them.
Adding a layer of thick substrate for a hamster to burrow is better than using a hideout that may get tossed around or fall over during traveling.
3. Keep Them Hydrated
It is difficult to place a hamster drinking bottle or water bowl in the travel carrier or cage because it can leak and make the bedding wet. If you are only traveling with your hamster for a short time, you can keep small pieces of cucumber with you to give to your hamster to keep them hydrated. If you plan to keep your hamster’s water bottle with them during the traveling, you should place a shallow lightweight dish underneath the bottle’s spout to catch any of the water that drips from it to prevent the water from making the substrate wet.
4. Keep Your Hamster Entertained
Most hamsters should sleep during the traveling because they are nocturnal, however, some hamsters will become interested in exploring during long trips and need a source of entertainment to keep them busy. Hamsters enjoy chewing so you can add in a variety of different chew toys that they can chew when they are feeling bored. Adding chew toys and other play items that they can explore will also stop them from trying to escape the travel cage and keep them occupied.
5. Keep The Temperature Regulated
The ideal temperature for a hamster ranges from 62 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit which may fluctuate in small travel carriers or vehicles during traveling. It is important to keep your hamster away from an open window or direct sunlight during traveling and your hamster should never be left unsupervised in a car. Make sure that the travel carrier or cage has sufficient ventilation for your hamster so that they do not overheat—hamsters are very sensitive to temperature changes.
6. Secure The Cage
A hamster’s travel cage or carrier may move around during traveling, so make sure if you are placing it in a car that it is in a secure place where it cannot move around. A sudden brake or movement in a car can also cause the travel cage to fall over, so you can try and secure the cage in-between other items or secure a rope or seat belt around the cage to prevent it from moving around and stressing your hamster. A passenger can also hold a travel container during short trips to keep it secured.
Can You Travel Often with a Hamster?
Hamsters can tolerate traveling when necessary if it does not happen too often. Traveling can often be very stressful for hamsters, and they do not want to be removed from their familiar environment too often.
Only travel with your hamster when necessary, as they are not the ideal pet for traveling because they do not like to be out of their familiar burrows and cages and hamsters will not understand the purpose of traveling. Even though traveling can be stressful for hamsters, it is still possible if the journey is as stress-free as possible, and your hamster has access to food and water.
How Long Can You Travel With a Hamster?
Hamsters can travel for up to a day if they have access to food and water. If you plan to take your hamster on a long trip, make sure you bring extra water with or hydration foods and stock up on hamster bedding and food. If a hamster has lots of substrate and enrichment during long travels, they will eventually settle down and sleep for most of the traveling.
When traveling with a hamster, make sure that you regularly check on them when you make short stops, but avoid taking the hamster out of the traveling container as they may escape or bite you out of stress. Keep your hamster in a secure place during travels and make sure that they have no items in the cage that could fall over and injure them.
Once the traveling is over, you should place your hamster back into their main enclosure with the old substrate and accessories so that they are placed back into a familiar environment after traveling.
Featured Image Credit: Henry Lai, Unsplash