If your guinea pig needs a trip to the vet, should you use a cardboard box or a carrier? A cardboard box can work in a fix, but your best option is a carrier. This is because, among other things, carriers are more secure, better-ventilated, easier to carry, and chew-proof.
Stock the carrier for your guinea pig’s comfort, with bedding, snacks, familiar scents, and drinking water.
Cardboard Box or Carrier?
You may take your guinea pig to the vet in a cardboard box. It is much more complicated than simply using a carrier, however.
First off, you will need to use a very tall box. Guinea pigs are excellent little climbers, and they can hop, too! This can make using a cardboard box a bit difficult, as it is rather tricky to carry (and generally transport) an over-tall box.
Along with this, you will need to protect the bottom of the box with towels, as cardboard is not water-proof. This will help prevent it from becoming soggy, in case your guinea pig urinates or spills water.
Cardboard is also an easy material for guinea pigs to chew. A cardboard box is not advisable if your guinea pig, like many, is an enthusiastic chewer. Otherwise, they could potentially escape the box.
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Compared to a cardboard box, a carrier is much safer. These are made from materials, like hard plastic or metal, that are chew-proof. We like the midwest spree from Amazon ( Link )
As long as the bars are spaced very closely, and there is a sturdy lock, an escaped guinea pig will not be a risk.
Good carriers are also designed with proper ventilation, for your guinea pig’s safety and comfort. You won’t have to worry about a carrier popping open, or dropping it, either (as they latch shut and come with convenient handles).
Just make sure to properly stock the carrier. Learn how below.
Public Transport vs Car
When it comes to how to take your guinea pig to the vet, public transportation is the best option. Why? Because you have – by far – the most environmental control. As you may know, guinea pigs are highly sensitive to changing temperatures. They can easily overheat and are prone to heatstroke in hot weather. In cold weather, they can also catch a chill.
You will be able to ensure that your guinea pig is kept at a safe and comfortable temperature by adjusting the air conditioner in your car.
Cars are also the quickest and most direct route to the vet, in case of an emergency. Finally, compared to public transportation, cars are much quieter. This will help your guinea pig feel safer.
If you need to take your guinea pig to the vet, public transportation should be a last resort. This is because the temperature cannot be depended on, above all. Buses also tend to heat up or become chilly in hot or cold weather. For your guinea pig, this can prove a real health risk.
If you are riding a bus, there will likely be lots of stops along the way, and the going will be slow. People talking, doors closing, the engine, and other loud noises will also give your guinea pig a spook.
For these little critters, public transportation is extremely stressful. Use it only if you must, and rather than a bus, try to get a Taxi.
How to Make Your Guinea Pig Comfortable in their Carrier
No animal likes going to the vet… for the super-sensitive guinea pig, it can be even more stressful. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help your guinea pig feel more comfortable, safer, and happier.
Next to security (which a good carrier should take care of), the temperature is perhaps the second most important thing to consider. The ideal temperature for guinea pigs is 65-75 F. Anything much cooler or hotter than this can prove a risk.
In order to create the best carrier environment for them, consider the weather. You may need to take steps to increase ventilation/provide a cool pack. Or, your guinea pig may require extra bedding and some blankets in which to warmly burrow. A Guinea Pig fleece is perfect.
Set the temperature precisely once you’re in your car.
Hay and Snacks
Having hay and a few snacks inside the carrier can make it seem a bit friendlier. It can’t be all bad if there’s something yummy to munch on, right? This logic can be useful when it comes to helping your guinea pig relax.
Just make sure to give your guinea pig something that they won’t make a mess of. Instead of juicy berries, offer your guinea pig some pellet, nut, and seed mix. A couple of store-bought treats can also be OK.
Bedding for Comfort in the Carrier
You will need to put plenty of bedding in your guinea pig carrier. This will form a cushion, as well as absorb the mess if your guinea pig soils the carrier.
Make sure that there is a steel-ball-and-spout water bottle inside of your guinea pig carrier. This will help them stay hydrated, and help them stay cool in hot weather.
A Familiar Scent
Guinea pigs have a strong sense of smell. They will know whether or not a space smells familiar.
You can help them feel more at home by placing a blanket or some toys with their cage scent in the carrier. They may appreciate something with your scent, as well.
In the wild, guinea pigs are pack animals. This means that they are the most comfortable around their own kind. If your guinea pig does not have anything contagious, a companion on the way to the vet can make them feel safer and happier.
Visiting the vet is never fun, for you or your buddy, but it doesn’t always have to be a hassle! You can simplify the process a lot with a simple, decent-quality carrier. Your guinea pig will feel more at home in the secure environment, and the carrier will be easy for you to transport, as well. It’s a win-win.