Posted: February 13, 2009, 8 p.m. EST
Q: We are moving from Denver to Houston. We are driving 1,100 miles in 17 hours over a period of two days. We have a Winter White Dwarf hamster, and we are wondering if making the move would be too stressful for him. He has never travelled before, and we don't want to risk his health. At the same time, we don't want to have to say goodbye to him if there is a safe way to move him with us. Do you have any advice?
A: Hamsters usually handle travel very well, especially if you can keep the immediate environment as familiar as possible. For example, transport your hamster in his regular cage. Remove the water bottle so it doesn’t drip during the trip, but give your hamster a baby carrot to provide some moisture. Place his water bottle in the cage when you stop for the night. His cage should include a safe, solid-surface wheel, so if he gets nervous he has a way to expend some energy.
If you can’t fit his cage in the car, transport him in a plastic carrier designed for small animals. There are several options available at most pet supply stores. Put some of his regular bedding in the carrier, along with material from wherever he sleeps in his cage. Add some of his regular food and a baby carrot, and he should be fine for six to eight hours. A toilet paper roll can give him a place to hide, as well as something to chew. Put him in his cage when he’s not in the car.
Above all, make sure he’s protected from drafts, direct sunlight and quick changes in temperature. If you follow these guidelines, your hamster should be a welcome and happy travel companion.
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