While dogs and cats are relatively comfortable during flights, air travel with other small pets can be a challenge. If you're just going away for a vacation, it makes more sense to leave your guinea pig with a friend. If you're moving and have to take your guinea pig with you, try to book a non-stop flight, so you can reach your destination as soon as possible.
Making Arrangements With Airline
The key to safe and successful travel with a guinea pig is to plan things in advance. Because of their size and fragile nature, small animals are very susceptible to changes in temperature and noise levels and should not fly in the cargo hold or with luggage. Although many airlines allow dogs and cats in the cabin, very few allow guinea pigs on board, so it’s important that you confirm pet travel policies at the time of booking your ticket. United Airlines and Frontier Airlines allow guinea pigs in the cabin. Airlines charge an extra fee for allowing an animal in the cabin, which can be as low as $50 and as high as several hundred dollars. The fee must be paid at the time you book your flight, as flights usually allow only a limited number of animals inside the cabin.
Making Pet Comfortable
You will need an airline-approved pet carrier to transport your guinea pig. Line up the travel carrier with a soft towel or blanket to increase comfort. In winter, choose fleece liners or another warm material. Pet Press also recommends adding a small cloth or fleece sack they can slip into when they want to hide away or feel safer. Choose a carrier big enough for your pet to move around, lie down and turn around comfortably. Don’t choose a carrier that’s too big, though. Larger spaces can be scary and are more risky. If the guinea pig’s carrier stumbles or falls, the risk of injury is larger because there’s more space for the animal to roll around in.
Food and Drink
Don’t overfeed your guinea pig before the flight. Instead, bring along a small bag of snacks, such as carrot slices, a few handfuls of dried pellets and a few lettuce leaves. If the flight is just a couple of hours long, add a couple of snacks inside the carrier. For longer flights, just feed your guinea pig a small snack every couple of hours. If you’re bringing vegetables, they can provide enough hydration during the flight, especially if you sprinkle them with water. This will make a water bottle unnecessary.
Guinea pigs don’t need any special vaccinations, but some airlines might ask for a health certificate from a recent checkup with a USDA accredited vet before allowing your furry friend in the cabin. This is up to the airline, however, so you should ask in advance what the requirements are so you don’t face any problems at check-in or the tsa security checkpoint. Make sure you take your pet’s temperament into account when planning a trip. Some guinea pigs are more prone to stress than others and might have trouble during long trips, while others can easily adjust and might even sleep the whole way.
Some airlines, such as Delta and American Airlines, permit guinea pigs to travel as checked baggage on domestic flights. This is a service offered only to active U.S. military and U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel, and it is not offered for international flights.