Whether it’s a short trip to the vet or a vacation across the world, there are things you should know before putting your hedgehog in the car and driving off. If you’re taking your hedgehog along on a trip, you should prepare beforehand to ensure your hedgehog’s comfort and safety.
Before Your Trip
Hedgehogs are climate sensitive, so you’ll have to make sure they never overheat or get too cold. This could be stressful to you and your pet.
If possible, it is best to leave your pet at home and getting a pet sitter. If you can’t find a pet sitter, try calling your vet and asking if they offer boarding services. They can watch your hedgehog until you are back.
For some reason, you might need to take your hedgehog with you. If this is the case, there are many things you should consider before taking your hedgehog and hitting the road.
- Are hedgehogs allowed where you are going? Even if you’re only passing through, you still may need a special permit. See if the places you are going to allow hedgehogs here or contact that countries/states authorities.
- Where will you be staying? Does hotel/apartment/family you will be staying with allow hedgehogs?
- What will your hedgehog stay in? Is your cage portable or will you be keeping it in a new cage?
- You should introduce your hedgehog to its new cage before traveling; this will help reduce the stress caused by traveling.
- Can you keep provide the correct temperature for you hedgehog throughout your trip? If your car will be cold, place a blanket over the cage. Be sure there is still ventilation though.
Things You’ll Need On Your Trip
A Hedgehog Carrier
You should get an animal carrier for both air and car flights.
If you plan on keeping your hedgehog in a box or on your lap during your car travel, you should think again. When traveling by car, sudden stops or an accident could send your hedgehog flying. Your hedgehog should be kept in an animal carrier.
NOTE: Do not place the carrier on the floor of the car. The car floor heats up very quickly and can overheat your hedgehog.
When choosing an animal carrier, it is best to buy a hard-sided carrier. One that can be strapped into the backseat of your car is better. This carrier has many benefits:
- Hard-sided carriers usually have ventilation from all four sides. This means that even if two sides of your carrier are covered, your hedgehog will still have enough ventilation.
- In case of an accident, emergency personnel will notice the carrier and save your hedgehog. They might not notice your hedgehog if it’s in a soft-sided carrier or an animal purse.
- Hard-sided carriers will protect your hedgehog from any objects flying through the air should the car stops suddenly.
You can also add padding to your carrier so your hedgehog doesn’t bump into hard walls if you stop suddenly.
You should put a label on your carrier with basic information about your hedgehog. Your hedgehog’s name, basic care information such as feeding instructions, the temperature your hedgehog is used to, emergency contact numbers, and other basic information.
This way if emergency personnel find your hedgehog, they will be able to provide it with proper care.
Things To Keep With You In The Car
- Food & Water: If you keep food and water in the cage while traveling it will definitely spill. A wet hedgehog could easily get the chills. Keep the food and water with you and give it to you hedgehog during stops.
*For short trips, like a trip to the vet, food may not be necessary since hedgehogs are nocturnal and usually eat at night.
- Extra Bedding: Hedgehogs can get car sick and pee or poop in their carrier. Bring extra bedding to avoid having your hedgehog getting dirty. You should also bring a bag to throw the dirty bedding in.
- A Few Heating Supplies: This isn’t necessary in the summer; however in the winter, you’ll want to have a hand warmer in the carrier and others with you.
Remember You Have A Hedgehog In The Car and:
- Try to avoid sudden stops or turns.
- Keep the radio volume down. Some hedgehogs are used to loud noises around the house, however, others prefer quietness.
- Estimate where the sun will be the most and avoid putting your hedgehog there. Also, avoid putting your hedgehog carrier on the floor of the car.
- NEVER leave your hedgehog alone in a closed car. If you have to stop for a bathroom break or the like, take your hedgehog in with you in a soft-sided carrier or purse.
- NEVER leave your hedgehog in front of an air vent. Drafts –cold or hot- can be problematic.
With most airlines, hedgehogs aren’t allowed in the cabin and have to fly in cargo. This makes it impossible for you to care for it during your trip. However, sometimes flight is necessary.
You should avoid traveling by air in the winter. After all, how long does cargo stay outside in the cold before being loaded on the plane?
Ask your airline what the requirements are when traveling with pets; some airlines have you bring your pet an hour earlier and have extra food attached on the top of the carrier.
It is important that you keep a hand warmer (wrapped in a sock or fabric to avoid direct contact) in your hedgehog’s cage.
Although many hedgehogs travel well, some can get travel sickness. Try going on a few short drives to get your hedgehog used to being in a car. Adding layers of padding to the bottom of the carrier can also help. If your hedgehog gets travel sick and makes a mess in his carrier, change his bedding.
If s/he has diarrhea or vomiting give is some extra water, since this can cause dehydration.
Traveling During Winter
- Add layers of cage liner or fleece to your cage; your hedgehog will be able to hide under it and stay warm.
- Place a cloth bag for your hedgehog to stay into the carrier.
- Keep your car heaters on.
- Bring digital thermometer to keep track of your hedgehog’s carrier’s temperature. Keep it at the temperature your hedgehog is used to.
- Wrap the carrier in a blanket or towel. There should be enough ventilation for your hedgehog to breathe.
- Have an external heating system. If your car breaks down, your hedgehog could freeze. A non-electrical heating pad that can stay hot for many hours is a good choice.
- Snuggle Safe Heat Disc is a microwaveable disc that will stay hot for up to 12 hours.
- Disposable hand warmers. These stay hot for 2-12 hours depending on the type you buy.
- Hot water bottles
- Do not put your hedgehog carrier directly in front of the air vent. Hot or cold drafts are not good for your hedgehog.
Depending on the length of your stay you might want to bring your hedgehog’s cage along with your or keep him/her in a plastic container with good ventilation. Watch this video for a DIY cage you could use for your hedgehog while traveling.
You should bring along your cage’s furniture. You don’t have to bring all of it, but your hedgie’s wheel, food and water bowls, and what they usually sleep in will make them feel more at home. A few toys are also a good idea.
To make your trip less stressful for your hedgehog, you should keep the same routine you had at home if possible. The same feeding time, play time, light schedule …etc.
You will have to clean your hedgehog’s cage at some point of your trip, so bring cleaning bedding with you. If you host isn’t OK with you cleaning a poopy wheel in their bathtub or sink, you can spray it with a mixture of water and vinegar (1:1 ratio), leave it sit for 5-10 minutes, then wipe it with paper towels.
Staying With Friends or Family
Your hedgehog’s safety is a big concern when staying with friends or family. If your family/friend has pets, you should keep them out of the room where your hedgehog is staying. Dogs or cats can hurt your hedgehog or knock done their cage. They can also stress out your hedgehog.
Children and hedgehog should not be left together. The heating equipment of your hedgehog can hurt the child and the child can hurt your hedgehog. Keep your hedgehog out of the reach of children or lock your room whenever you leave.
Adults can also harm your hedgehog. They might try giving it something they shouldn’t be eating as a treat or open its cage. You should inform your family/friend not to do anything with your hedgehog or feed it without your permission. You can also lock your hedgehog’s cage if the people you are with are not very understanding.
Staying at Hotels
Most hotels do not allow pets; you should always call ahead to check whether or not the hotel you’re staying at allows hedgehogs.
Many pet-friendly pets ask for extra deposits for each additional pet; expect that in the addition to the cost of your room.
You should add a sign on your hedgehog’s cage informing your housekeeping staff not to turn off any of the heating equipment or lights. Explain the equipment is very important for your hedgehog’s life. You could also ask that no housekeeping service enters your room.
Do not try to sneak your hedgehog into your room. You may be asked to leave the hotel. Consider what would happen if they discovered your hedgehog while you were out.
Remember if possible, it is best that your hedgehog stays at home. Traveling is stressful and it is hard to give your hedgehog the warmth it needs.
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