Pets, stress and travel
Having a pet chinchilla is a very rewarding experience. Only a true chinchilla lover will understand all the little quirks they do such as the noises that they make, the happiness in their bounces and the disapproving stare when their sleep is interrupted. While having any pet is rewarding on its own there are certain situations that can prove to be very challenging for your pet and it differs for each of them. For example, dogs are heartbroken whenever they are left alone for a few short minutes, cats are just devastated when their meal is not on their schedule and for chinchillas a stressful situation is traveling.
As much as any owner avoids disrupting their chinchilla’s daily routine and putting it in an unpleasant situation, sometimes it is just inevitable to do the things that make us feel uneasy but are necessary to ensure our pet’s health and well-being. Whether you are going to the vets office, traveling long distances and have no one to leave your pet to or you simply hate the feeling of parting away from your pet, you will want to ensure that your chinchilla is always safe, comfortable and calm during the trip. For this purpose, you would need a travel cage or a carrier that will fit all of those needs.
When it comes to carriers and travel cages, the first thing you would take into account is the material that they are made out of. Just like in any other aspect in a chinchilla’s life you would want to provide only the safest and best options. In general plastic materials should be avoided at every step. This might seem a bit contradictive taking into account that most of chinchilla cage equipment that you find in pet stores are actually made from plastic.
Please keep in mind that plastic is a cheap resource to make products that will not last long and that have nothing to do with your chinchilla’s needs or health benefits.Having a plastic item in your chinchilla’s cage can be hazardous. Just like any other rodent, chinchilla’s teeth continuously grow and they notoriously chew in order to grind them down.
Choose a plastic-free a Chinchilla carrier
For this purpose your chinchilla needs safe chew toys which are designed for them. While chewing on plastic, bits of this material can be swallowed by your chinchilla and you would not even be aware of it. These swallowed pieces can cause an obstruction in your chinchilla’s digestive system and could end in a very painful demise.
Plastic should be avoided with cages and carriers especially. You can imagine your pet being bored or stressed during a longer trip and it might try to keep itself entertained or even try to make an escape route by chewing bits and pieces of the plastic carrier.
Since it can be overwhelming searching through the internet in pursuit of that one prefect carrier or transport cage, worrying about whether a certain type would be a good choice or not, we will present you with 4 great choices and their best uses for you to choose from so that travelling with your chinchilla would be stress-free.
1) Chinchilla Travel Cage – Collapsible
|Dimension||24″L x 18″W x 18″H|
The brand that speaks quality
Always try to find a manufacturer who specializes in the design and production of products for small pets. One manufacturer who does just that is Quality Cage Crafters specializing in designing and providing you with the best cages, accessories and foods for small pets, especially chinchillas.
This brand’s sole focus is to provide you with the best quality, safest options, most practical designs that both you and your pet will enjoy. Quality Cage Crafters take customer feedback seriously and improve their designs with every new model of cage that they put out, strongly keeping in mind that the pet’s needs always come first. A great cage carrier that you can find on their website is the Chinchilla Travel Cage – Collapsible.
A travel cage for long trip
This cage is ideal for a longer trip or stay where you would have to take your chinchilla with you. Your chinchilla will be comfortable with enough room to stretch and jump, it will feel safe and protected. The cage has wire walls from all sides, which provide great ventilation and will prevent your chinchilla from overheating.
The cage has a deep bottom (3” high) which would prevent the soft bedding from being scattered outside of the cage. Its metal construction ensures a very sturdy cage that does not rattle or shake when your pet jumps around.
The cage also comes with accessories made from chinchilla-safe wood – a ledge, a ramp and a shelf. This cage is fully collapsible, including the wooden accessories, which means you can store it away easily when not in use. It can also be used as a holding cage while you are cleaning your chinchilla’s home.
2) Supreme Chinchilla Carrier
|Dimension||Single – 8″L x 12″W x 8″H|
|Double – 16″L x 12″W x 8″H|
|Triple – 24″L x 12″W x 8″H|
Being a very pet-friendly oriented company it does not come as a surprise that the Quality Cage Crafters feature a lot of amazing products that prove to be great solutions for keeping your pets safe while transporting or traveling with them to certain destinations.
Quality Cage Crafters have a lot to offer when it comes to cages for small pets so it would be a shame not to mention one more of their products, the Supreme Chinchilla Carrier.
Single, double or triple
This carrier is perfect even if you have more than one chinchilla so you can transport them safely to the vet or on a short trip. Depending on the number of chinchillas you have you can buy the carrier with a single, double or triple compartments to house all your chinchillas in.
A cage for bonding new chinchillas
If you are planning to introduce a new chinchilla to your old chinchilla, this carrier can be used as a bonding cage because it has a metal sheet that serves as a divider, so that your pets would be safe while getting used to the smells and sounds of their new roommate. The carrier conveniently opens from the top, which gives you easy access to your chinchillas.
Many customers have reported that this carrier is a great way to keep your chinchillas in check while cleaning their regular cages. Another feature is the deep bottom pan, which you will be able to fill with soft bedding without having any mess around the carrier. Attached to the deep bottom pan is the sturdy metal body of the carrier, fastened with hooks and springs. The carrier should last you a lifetime.
3) Tfwadmx Carrier Bag
|Dimension||7″L x 7″W x 6″H|
Taking your pet to the vet can be a very stressful time for both you and your chinchilla. There are a few things that you can do in order to reduce the stress for your pet. Finding a good quality carrier, made with chinchilla-safe materials that is easily portable is something you can find with the brand Tfwadmx.
This brand offers a wide range of products not just for chinchillas and other rodents but also for aquatic pets, birds and reptiles. Whether you have a young chinchilla that is not used to being handled or you have a chinchilla that is easily stressed, you could come into a situation where you would need to transport it safely to the vet or on a short trip and the Tfwadmx Carrier Bag would be a great choice for you:
Less stressful travels
The size of this carrier will restrict movements of your pet so that it will not be able to jump or frantically run around due to stress, potentially harming itself, at the same time your pet will be comfortable and not cramped in the carrier itself. The mesh window on the doorway will allow you an easy look into the carrier so that you can make sure your pet is safe, while the rest of the carrier will protect your chinchilla from prying eyes and ensure it the privacy it needs. The interior is soft, covered with short plush providing extra warmth when traveling on colder days.
The great feature of this carrier is that you can open it from both sides that are equipped with zippers allowing you easy access to your pet and effortless cleaning. This soft material bag has a thick aluminum film construction that retains the shape of the carrier while not making it heavy. You can choose to carry the bag on your shoulder with a special adjustable strap or by the handle on the top of the bag.
4) KinTor Small Pet Carrier
|Dimension||9.8″L x 7.9″W x 5.9″H|
When searching for that perfect carrier you will come across products that were initially made for hamsters or bunnies but can perfectly fit the criteria for your pet chinchilla, so always check out products made for small sensitive pets. One of the brands that offer these kinds of products is KinTor. Owners of parrots and sugar gliders are familiar with this brand since it has a wide variety of products adjusted to the needs of these pets and in return can be suitable for chinchillas as well.
Their product the KinTor Hamster Carrier is a great example of how a product can be used for more than one type of pet, while still maintaining its initial core design and benefits. Designed for small pets and hamsters the carrier features a revolutionary design that allows you to have an eye on your pet while your chinchilla feels sheltered and safe. This is possible thanks to the one full clear side of the carrier which also allows your pet to enjoy the view while being safe:
Besides being able to see your pet at all times the carrier has zippers that run all around its sides and front, so that you can easily put in or take out your chinchilla from the carrier. The carrier is available in three adorable designs that you can choose from and it comes with two blankets to match which will provide comfort and warmth to your pet. The blankets are washable and combined with the zippers they help in maintaining the cleanliness of the carrier. Designed mostly out of fabric the carrier is still sturdy so that it will not give into the weight of your pet and it comes with a bottom zipper in which you can slide in a hard bottom sheet, giving more ground support for your pet.
What you need to know when choosing a chinchilla carrier?
We live in an age where every one of our needs can be met with a little research and with the help of online shopping. The same goes to the needs of our pets. Thankfully we have a lot of options out there which are all available to us with just a click of a button. We just have to choose wisely and consider the various options before dedicating ourselves to the one.
When adopting a pet, you might not consider that you will probably need to travel or take a trip with your pet. This becomes obvious when owning a pet with a long life span such as a dog, cat or a chinchilla, where you have a greater chance coming into a situation having to choose whether you will leave your pet with someone or take it with you. By having a suitable carrier when you head out to adopt your chinchilla you will be prepared even from the first day of owning a pet.
When it comes to choosing the ultimate product for your chinchilla it is always best to check out manufacturers who specialize in products for chinchillas and other small animals. In this way you will be sure that the manufacturer is informed enough and specialized in such a way that they can provide the best and safest options for your pet.
Planning a trip with a chinchilla
Finding the appropriate transport means for your pet can be overwhelming considering how many aspects you would have to consider in regards to the size of the carrier/travel cage, the material it is made of, the purpose it will serve, whether it will be useful enough, would your chinchilla feel comfortable in it and how practical it can be.
Many chinchilla owners have learned the hard way that traveling with a chinchilla is demanding and stressful if you are not prepared. The best tip that you will get from a chinchilla owner is that you should expect the unexpected while you travel and always have a plan B.
If you catch yourself thinking that you want to go for a trip, you will have to consider that you cannot leave your chinchilla alone for that time, but there is a solution opposite to you canceling your trip. There is a wide range of travel cages and carriers specialized for the transport of small animals, it can be overwhelming to find the appropriate product, but you can narrow down and pick the perfect one just while sitting at home and choosing options that fit your pet’s needs and discarding traits that are undesirable.
Choosing the right transport cage or carrier
Imagine that you want to take a longer break and travel to another place and you have to take your pet with you. Your main concern will be – how do you transport your pet? Obviously, you would have to use a carrier that is designed for animal transportation, homemade transport options (cardboard boxes, plastic boxes, grocery bags and similar DIY carriers) are not at all safe or allowed to be used for the transportation of any animal. You can find different types of carriers made for animals: big, small, plastic, metal or made of fabric. You would choose the one that is the safest with regards to the material from which it is made of, favoring a metal or fabric carrier over a plastic one.
When choosing a metal travel cage and carrier, always check that the welding is done perfectly, with no sharp edges or wires sticking out and that there is no presence of rust. Your best option is powder-coated metal. When choosing a fabric carrier, it should not be made out of string fabric (similar to towels) but rather short plush, with tightly seamed flaps with no threads hanging loose.
So now you have to think what you will be traveling in? Is it by car, airplane, train or bus. Always check the regulations of the transport company to see if traveling with a pet is allowed and what are the requirements for animal transportation, since many companies will have restrictions regarding the type of animal you can transport, the dimensions of the carrier and material of the carrier.
If you are traveling by an airplane, you would need a carrier that is accepted by the regulations of the airline company, so it can safely be stored in the cargo area, usually that would mean a metal carrier and in some cases the carrier would have to be securely fit into a big dog transporter.
You could try to find an airline where you can have your chinchilla in the cabin with you, under the passenger seat in front of you, in this case you would need a more practical, smaller carrier. There are owners that have tried to take their pets on a plane into the cabin as an emotional support animal and ended up having to stack them in the cargo area since it was against airline policies. By not informing yourself with the airline policies this could also happen to you. Having your pet stacked in the cargo area is stressful to them because they would be exposed to a noisy environment and temperature swings and it should be avoided in every case possible.
Bus or Train travel
If your means of transport is a train or a bus, you would need a carrier that is light and easy to maneuver. You can fit the carrier on your lap or in some cases you can purchase another ticket for the seat next to you, so that you can keep the carrier on that seat, in which way both you and your pet would be comfortable while traveling. Always have a plan B when traveling in these kind of public transportations because the temperature can oscillate from very hot to very cold compared to the outside temperature. The plan B would be to have a marble slab for the hot temperatures and a thick short plush blanket ready with a soft cotton sheet that you can use to cover the carrier and shield your pet from the AC.
If you choose to go by car, you can leave the backseat empty so that you can fit your chinchilla in a larger, more comfortable carrier or even a smaller cage. If possible always use the seat belts to fasten the cage securely in its place, so that your chinchilla would not end up sliding from side to side when you turn, avoid potholes or brake hard. Also choose a carrier that has a flat bottom so that it can have the most of its weight resting securely on the seat of the car.
When traveling in a car on hot summer months you will have to cool the car down before putting your pet in and also keep the AC running while you travel. A great idea for keeping your pet cool is putting a marble slab in the carrier/cage for it to cool down. If you choose a bigger travel cage, you can always find a shelf or a corner house that you can secure to the cage, where your chinchilla can hide out and feel safe during the trip.
The right carrier for the right destination
Now you have an idea what kind of carrier you would use in certain means of transportation, but what is your destination? Is it a warmer climate or a colder one, is it very humid or dry? Here is where the material of the carrier itself is very important, again keeping in mind the pros and cons of certain materials. You probably opted for the metal or fabric carriers, maybe even a high quality non-chewable plastic one, but how does this come into correlation with the weather?
When traveling to colder climates you would choose a carrier that will not completely expose your chinchilla like the ones made out of metal, which would not provide enough warmth, a carrier that is made out of soft padded fabric and closed from at least 3 sided would be a great choice here. Then again, when you are traveling to a warmer destination, a fabric carrier would only get your chinchilla to overheat and become ill, that is why you would go for open sided carriers made out of metal, that are breathable and large enough to allow your chinchilla to stretch and cool itself.
Preparing your chinchilla for the trip
A great idea to ensure a hassle-free trip is to plan ahead. This means that you and your chinchilla will be ready for the trip and also that you will have an ease of mind seeing that your pet is not frantically running or struggling in its carrier, but rather sleeping and forgetting about the trip itself. One thing that will help your chinchilla with the trip is to get your pet familiar with its temporary cage and travel carrier. When letting your chinchilla out of its cage, leave the carrier and/or travel cage outside, in the middle of the room, so that your pet can explore it and get used to getting in and out of the open doors of the carrier/cage.
While food and water seem to be perfectly reasonable things to have in the carrier while traveling, keep in mind that this may do your pet more harm than good. While the food will probably end up scattered everywhere, the water bottle would drip a lot (the most common ball-bearing types) and your chinchilla will end up being wet and miserable. Putting small amounts of hay into the carrier can be a safe option, you would need to put just enough for your chinchilla to have something to nibble on in case it gets hungry.
Chinchilla owners have noted that for longer trips they always choose a metal cage rather than a cage made from any other material, since some chinchillas get bored during the trip or they get anxious and start to chew away parts of the carrier. The dangers are with low quality carriers made out of thin fabric or plastic, which can be chewed through and you might end up chasing your pet in the plane/bus/car. Although this can happen is some cases many chinchilla owners have reported that their pets tend to fall asleep during the trips sometimes waking up, checking their surroundings and going back to sleep.
Keeping your chinchilla comfortable
Here are a couple of tips from pet owners, which will come in handy while traveling: since chinchillas are noise-sensitive your best shot is to stick to the front of the plane or bus, where the noise from the other passengers is minimum and while traveling in your car your radio should be set to a low volume.
When traveling with a carrier that has exposed sides your chinchilla’s usual bedding would not be the right choice as it can be scattered everywhere and make a mess. That is why you go for a soft fleece blanket so that your chinchilla can rest on a comfortable warm surface. Another trick stated by chinchilla owners is to use a blanket that your chinchilla uses in its cage and keep it in the carrier with your pet while traveling – it is very comforting to them and makes the trip less stressful.
Arriving to your destination
Finally, you and your pet have arrived at your vacation destination so the rest and relaxation can begin. How will you ensure that your pet will be comfortable in the room you are staying in, that your chinchilla will not feel homesick or stressed out? You will take your chinchilla out of its carrier and put it into a cage that is roomy and ready for your pet to enjoy.
Getting your chinchilla out of the carrier will help it feel more relaxed, but this is something that you would want to put off for at least 30 min after you have arrived. Your pet would need some time to adjust to the new environment, the room temperature, noises and smells, so it is best to let your chinchilla relax a bit in its carrier and then let it into its temporary home. You should place soft bedding and a few toys in the cage to give it a more homely feel. Make sure you immediately set up a water bottle and some food so that your pet can get its energy up.
Monitor your chinchilla’s behavior
As soon as your pet gets into its temporary home, you will notice by its behavior how the trip went. If your pet is snuggled up in the corner being very quiet and calm, this will be a sign for you to keep an eye on him/her. This behavior is perfectly normal to chinchillas that are not used to travel. Once they have recovered from the journey, which would take a few hours or up to a day they will start to behave like their usual self, but in this period it is important to keep an eye on them for any red flags.
If your chinchilla starts barking or making any other sounds, this would mean that it is investigating its new environment and it is curious of what is out there, this is a perfectly normal behavior.
Lastly, if your chinchilla is behaving as usual interacting with you and being calm, this is an indicator that the trip was not so stressful and that you probably did everything right to make your chinchilla comfortable during the travel.
Once you return home with your healthy and happy chinchilla you will realize that all of the efforts you have put in into finding the suitable carrier/transport cage was well worth the time you spent searching for the appropriate products for your pet in order to keep it safe and comfortable. After your first successful trip with your pet you are prepared for your second and third and traveling with your chinchilla will no longer be a laborious task of getting ready but an enjoyable experience for the both of you to look forward to.