Traveling with animals may be quite stressful. They have no idea what’s happening, why their daily routine has been disturbed, or when they’ll see their normal home again.
Traveling with your hedgehog is not like traveling with your dog. Hedgehogs are very sensitive animals, and they can be frightened easily. So, you need to consider your destination, vet information, what you’d use to carry your hedgehog, heating set up among other things as you prepare to travel with your pet.
In this article, I will discuss what to think about while planning a journey with a hedgehog, whether it’s for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation.
Factors to Consider Before You Decide to Travel with Your Hedgehog
Whether your hedgehog will accompany you on trips or sit them out depends on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Obviously, if you’re going zip-lining, parasailing, cliff-jumping, or performing any other adrenaline-pumping activities, your adventure hog should stay at the hotel or wherever you’re staying.
The same goes for going to a very loud concert, nightclub hopping, or somewhere else with bright flashing lights.
Also, if you’re going to be outside in the cold for a lengthy period, please keep your pet warm. In fact, if your trip plans include non-hog-friendly activities both day and night, you may wish to get a sitter for your hedgehog and leave them in familiar surroundings.
If your activities are slow or laid-back enough to include your hedgehog on trips, you should be comfortable transporting them.
What Will My Hedgehog Ride In?
Never put your hedgehog in a plastic tub, a box, your lap, or carrier, or a soft handbag. A hard-sided animal carrier is the only safe way to carry a hedgehog in a vehicle.
Car accidents may happen at any time, and if a protective carrier doesn’t cover a hedgehog, it can easily be flung around the vehicle. Emergency staff is also trained to seek hard-sided pet carriers and remove them out of the car if possible if you are unconscious.
If your hedgehog is in a soft purse-like case, the emergency personnel might not realize it’s there. If the carrier can be secured with a seat belt, it will be less likely to be flung around the car or fall to the floor in the case of a quick stop or another emergency.
Heating Set Up
Keep in mind that you won’t likely have control over the temperature where you’ll be staying, and not everyone will be attentive to your hedgehog’s requirements. If possible, find out how chilly your guests keep their residence, as this may influence your travel cage selection (plastic totes are easier to heat than wire cages).
If you usually heat your hedgehog with a space heater, be sure it won’t bother your host or yourself if you’re sharing a room with your hedgehog. If you’re using a plastic tote for your travel cage, make sure the top is adjusted to allow a CHE light to safely heat it (or use wire shelving, etc., as a lid for the cage).
If you won’t be close enough to see your regular vet, do some research ahead of time to identify a vet that treats exotics in the location you’ll be visiting (and one that has hedgehog experience).
Sometimes animals choose to be damaged or ill at inconvenient times, so it’s better to have the information on hand than to be worried at the last minute about locating a vet. If your journey will take more than one day, it’s a good idea to look for a veterinarian in the places where you’ll be stopping overnight, just in case.
Traveling With Your Hedgehog
Now that you are set to travel, what about the trip itself? You need to consider the following to ensure that your hedgehog is comfortable during the trip.
Food and Water
If you’re traveling a long distance, make sure you bring your hedgehog’s regular food and water with you. Sudden water changes, like food, can cause upset tummies in certain hedgehogs. Bring more food than you think you’ll need.
I recommend bringing an additional day or two’s worth in case anything unplanned happens to cause you to miss your trip home. Also, don’t forget to bring some treats!
Make sure you’ve used the bedding you packed for the vacation at least a couple of days before you leave. This gives it a hedgehog-like smell, which might help them feel more at ease in their travel cage.
Hedgehogs can experience car sickness, and they may defecate or pee in their carriers (particularly if the trip is stressful). It’s a good idea to have some additional blankets available so you can swap out the dirty bedding and avoid the hedgehog having poop all over himself (and so you don’t have to smell it the entire trip!)
Water From Home
If you leave water in the carrier while driving, it may spill and soak your hedgehog (and lead to chills). However, having some water upfront to give to the hedgehog when you stop on the way is very helpful.
Food isn’t an issue; most hedgehogs don’t eat throughout the day, and having food in their stomachs might cause car sickness.
Plastic Bag and Wipes or Paper Towels
As a complement to the bedding, you’ll want something that you can use to store the dirty bedding in so that you don’t have to smell it for hours. If there is any poop smeared on the carrier, paper towels or wipes will be useful in cleaning it up.
While they may not be needed in the summer, having some disposable or reusable hand warmers on hand for the journey is a smart idea if you’re traveling at any other time of year. Weather may be unpredictable, and your vehicle could break down, leaving you stranded without heat.
It’s always best to be prepared when you have an animal with specific needs! It’s always a good idea to have some hand warmers in the carrier with the hedgehog when driving in the winter, but make sure you have some extras on hand.
This isn’t needed for everyone, but it’s something to think about. Because certain hedgehogs are temperature sensitive, you may need to keep an eye on the temperature of their carrier during long travels that last the majority of the day or longer.
Because our capacity to judge temperature by touch is limited, even if you’re comfortable in the automobile, it may be too cold for your hedgehog.
Other Car Considerations
To begin with, if you want to listen to the radio while driving, be mindful of how loud it is. Some hedgehogs become used to a loud environment and become bombproof. Others are accustomed to silence when sleeping during the day, and a loud radio might make an already difficult trip much more so.
If it’s just you and the hedgehog on the journey, it could be worth configuring your car’s music system so that it only plays through the front speakers and not the rear, where your pet is.
Secondly, never leave your hedgehog alone in a closed car in the summer. While it’s not normally a good idea to bring hedgehogs into places where animals aren’t permitted, if you need to use the restroom at a rest stop, and it is really hot outside, it’d be in your hedgehog’s best interests to bring him along in a soft carrier or handbag.
Closed vehicles heat up quite fast and can rapidly become dangerous.
When planning your journey, keep in mind the states and other areas where hedgehogs are prohibited. As long as you’re not staying the night, most locations don’t mind if you drive by with hedgehogs.
However, even if you don’t intend to stop, a state like Pennsylvania should be avoided at all costs. Hedgehogs are subject to severe regulations, and you don’t want to risk your hedgehog being found and taken away to be killed.
Consider where the sun will be (most of the time) in relation to your car, which is especially important in the summer. Ideally, you should position your hedgehog such that the carrier will not be exposed to direct sunlight for most of the journey.
It might be beneficial to throw a light-colored blanket over the carrier in order to help filter off some of the sunshine.
When traveling, hedgehogs are prone to becoming stressed. On the other hand, a road trip with a hedgehog may be a stress-free experience for both of you if you plan and prepare ahead of time.
Make sure your hog has a suitable travel cage weeks before your intended road trip. You’ll have more time to make sure your hedgehog is safe and secure on its journey home.
Take note of the guidelines I have given out in this article as you prepare to travel and when you are traveling with your pet.