With hurricane season upon us, we are getting many phone calls about how to travel with exotic pets in case of evacuation. We have compiled this helpful guide to assist you.
Your pet should travel in a secure, hard-sided carrier appropriate for his size. For many birds and exotic pets, a cat or dog carrier of the right size is ideal. Your pet should be able to stand up, stretch, and turn around comfortably inside the carrier. Birds do not need perches in the travel cage, but should have a towel or paper towels lining the bottom so they have a surface to grip and don’t slide around. Bring extra towels or paper towels in case your pet soils the carrier in transit.
Most pets can travel several hours without food or water. In the case of rabbits, guinea pigs, and chinchillas, put hay in the carrier to keep them eating and pooping. You can also give them a small handful of greens moistened with water to help them stay hydrated if you do not want to risk a water bottle or bowl spilling in transit. For other pets, offer food and water when you stop for rest breaks. Some pets get carsick, so it is best to wait until you reach your destination before offering food to those pets. Keeping the carrier in the floorboard rather than the seat and covering the back half of the carrier with a towel or blanket can help prevent or reduce motion sickness in pets. Make sure your pet is not in a draft.
Before you head out, make sure you have enough food, water, and treats for your pet, as well as any prescription medications, supplements, special lamps, bedding or litter your pet needs. A plastic container with a lid makes a great travel litterbox for those who need one.
Make sure you can identify your pet should you become separated. Microchipping your pet is the most reliable way to ensure you will be reunited. Trim your bird’s wings to prevent accidental flight, or keep a secure harness on a flighted bird at all times. Carry a recent photo of your pet with you. Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle.
Most importantly, travel safely and try not to stress. If you stress, your pet will as well.