Guineas Going Places…

Planet Gorgeous Newsletter: Travelling In Style

When you need to take your guineas out and about or to the Vets, do you give any consideration to how they travel? Points to ponder include their comfort and safety, ease of use for you as their Human and how much mess any bedding etc will make on your Vet’s consultation table! Here are some options for you to think about…

Thanks to our piggy friend Jasia for writing about Wonderful Wicker.

Wonderful Wicker

(Jasia) This carrier came without a cushion, so I made one for the bottom as I was worried about guinea bones being uncomfrotable during transit. I don’t think it’s useable without one.The basket is practical becasuse it is breathable and it has enough room for 2 pigs to walk around and avoid each other if needs be. I was worried that they would chew it to death but they are not at all interested in eating it for some reason. Maybe wicker is not very tasty??

Things I’d say about transporting guinea pigs:

1) Take a bag of veggie snacks with you, the juicier the better as it not only passes the time for the pigs but it also is a test of how scared they are in transit – if they are still eager to munch then I reckon they are ok!

This basket was purchased from eBay

2) In London I don’t take them on the Tube as it’s really noisey and squeaky. Be aware of their ears and how much noise they can take. Buses are a bit bumpier but less noisey. I try and sit on the top deck away from the doors which are loud when they open and close. Having said that, I think they are less scared than I imagine usally – they don’t seem to really care unless it’s a horrendously loud noise, so don’t be overly worried about them.

3) I used to carry them around with their water bottle attatched to the front of the basket (hence the additional wires) but they never ever used it and it just made their bedding wet. If I’m taking them somewhere in the summer then I syringe them some water before the journey and carry a (Human) water bottle and syringe with me to give them some en route.

4) I always cover the basker with a sheet when I travel with them. This is to avoid everyone coo-ing over them and asking me lots of questions! It also means the pigs get a chance to snooze without constantly being poked by kind strangers.

5) As soon as I get home I put them back in the hutch. I give them some time to relax as usually after a long journey they are a bit cheesed off at the inconvenience and just want to get used to being back at home again. After an hour or so I give them a run to stretch their legs.


(Karen) Showboxes are, as their name suggests, made specifically for taking a larger number of guinea pigs to shows. Because of this, they have removable partitions and come in varying sizes. They are usually handcrafted from wood which allows for specific dimensions and features to be added. Traditionally the box was a simple one, varnished safely for protection but today different colours and designs are being made (for the benefit of the humans!). The feature of having a stud name engraved is a useful one when it comes to showing, it has to be beneficial to be able to locate your box quicker.

A standard box (often big enough for 3 guinea pigs, or 2 large, eg long haired) will have two partitions that give the multiple options  for transporting. I find this useful if I have to take a lone boar and some sows to the Vet, they can all go in the same carrier.

The boxes tend to be shallow, probably making the guinea pig feel secure, a deep layer of bedding, therefore, cannot be added. I use VetBed to line mine with, though this does mean cutting smaller pieces if you are going to use the partitions but 3 pieces can be used as easily as one large when the carrier doesn’t have the partitions. This is also favourable with the Vets who would probably rather not have their surgery littered with bedding! A kitchen roll inner (cut in half) is ideal for putting hay in for guinea to munch on when travelling. These boxes are secure and a good size and shape for travelling on the buses here, the guinea pigs have their own space and it is difficult for curious fingers to intrude on their personal space.

Mrs Fox showing how long the box is…

…and how cozy:)

My only “problem” with the showboxes is their awkwardness when carrying them, though in their defence they were never built to be carried long distances, just from the car to the show hall! In addition to the safe varnish used I have lined my boxes with Fablon for extra protection. Available from various members of the Cavy Fancy or can be made by a anyone with some carpentry know how, but safety, security and the guinea pig’s welfare must, of course, be paramount!

Plastic “Cat Baskets”

(Karen) The plastic cat carriers were my first mode of transport for guinea pigs. They are the most common variety of carrier to be brought in with rescue guinea pigs too at Reading Guinea Pig Rescue. Over the years I have collected many variants of the same design. These include top opening ones (probably the best for getting the guinea pigs out), front opening ones that need to have the door taken off completely in order to be able to get a whole guinea pig through and some that do have doors which allow the guinea pig through.

Being plastic they are a hygienic mode of transport and easy to clean. I use newspaper and VetBed to line them though if a timid pair of guinea pigs are aboard then I have the option of putting in a pile of hay for them- for the most part the hay stays at the back of the box though inevitably some is dragged out onto the consult table. These carriers are available from Argos or your local Vets.

Collapsible Plastic Boxes

(Chrissie) My personal favourite as they are cheap, easy to store, easy to clean, easy to get guineas in and out of, give my piggies a good view of what is going on and fit perfectly into the front foot well of my car. Lined with newspaper and VetBed for comfort. Obviously not safe if you have a guinea that you think may jump out, but perfect for more sedate guineas!

You definitely don’t want an escaped guinea under the pedals as you drive your car! Even if one of my guineas did make a bid for freedom, they cannot physically get over to the driver’s side of the car as the two sides of the car are divided by a console, but many aren’t.

I also use these boxes in the summer to take the guineas in their pairs from the shed to their runs and back again – it saves time carrying individual guineas and can be safer than carrying a wriggly guinea in your arms.

Box amply filled by Digger & Lola:)

Key points to consider when travelling with your guineas:

1) Comfort: are your guineas comfortable in their carrier and is it large enough for them to move around?

2) Bedding: a layer of newspaper with VetBed on top keeps guineas warm and dry during their journey. Practical too so you don’t dump a pile of unwanted bedding on your Vet’s consultation table / waiting room room floor!

3) Keeping warm: if it is very cold, a Sungglesafe Heatpad can be put in the carrier.

4) Keeping cool: if it is very hot, do you have air conditioning in your car? Guineas can get heatstroke very quickly if it is too hot.

5) Company: wherever possible, always take a friend (or 2) to keep your guinea company when travelling. Some guineas get very nervous with new situations so having a friend with them can help to ease their stress.

6) Carrier security: if your carrier has clips / catches / locks, ALWAYS make sure these are properly secured before picking it up with the guineas inside.

7) Car Security: if travelling with guineas in the car, please make sure that the carrier / box is secure and can’t move. It can be put on one of the seats and secured using a seat belt, or placed in front of, or behind the front seat with the seat moved to hold the box securely in its place to stop it moving in case of an emergency. If travelling on public transport, always make sure that your guineas are secure in their box / basket and that lids and doors are properly closed and secured.

If you have any other particularly stylish or practical ways of transporting your guineas, do let us know!