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Old 10-09-2015, 12:35 PM   #1
wumbojumbo
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Question Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

Hello all, I'm new here so apologies if I haven't formatted correctly.

My husband and I got our first hamster Wumbo back in July, and she's been great! We've really enjoyed taking care of her, ensuring she has a properly large cage and well balanced diet, plenty of toys and chewables in the rotation, and anything else we have researched to make her life the best possible.

She's a Syrian, and she took to us very quickly. She was fairly tame when we bought her and loves being held and has no fear from either of us.

Now to my question: We're going on a road trip that's ~2 weeks long in December to see our families for the holidays. We were planning on bringing her along since we don't have anyone to check up on her while she's gone. However, the drive itself will be around 12 hours each way, we will be going to two different houses each with pets/older children. Wumbo is our only pet right now, and we don't have kids, so she's used to a fairly quiet environment but doesn't get spooked by loud noises here (i.e. vacuum cleaner, loud music, etc.)

Is it a bad idea to even bring her along on this trip? I worry so much for her being left alone for a solid two weeks, but I also fear that the stress of the trip may take a toll on her. What are the pros/cons of each situation? What would you do if it was your hamster? If we took her along, what are some tips to make her the most comfortable? (We would have a private bedroom in both places that we could leave her in with a closing door if we did bring her along). If we left her home, would she become untame when we got back since she would not interact with anyone for a solid two weeks?

Thank you for all your help!
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:03 PM   #2
ham888
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Default Re: Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

Two weeks is about 13 days too long to leave a hamster alone imo. Anything could happen - no matter how much water you leave she could spill it all, and even if not, she's got two week old water at the end.

I've not been in such a situation but I think if there really is no-one to look in on her regularly, you'll have to take her and make plenty of stops along the way. Others can advise better I'm sure.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:27 PM   #3
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

Leaving her at home alone for 13 days is an absolute no-no, like ham888 said, something could happen to her water bottle, she might fall or become unwell.
Are you registered with a vet? Sometimes the vet will look after pets.
But, if not, then taking her would need several stops, plenty extra substrate and bedding in her cage, and making sure there's things like cucumber, apple & strawberry in the cage so she's kept hydrated at all times. Also to make sure the cage is strapped in with a seatbelt for safety and security.

Where are you from? I was just wondering if any other members are near you who could offer to look after your ham. This would be a better solution.
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Old 10-10-2015, 03:43 AM   #4
Bertiebobbins
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Default Re: Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

As has been already said, leaving her alone for that long is an absolute NO for so many reasons. If you came back to a hamster that is still alive, I would guess she'd be really angry untame and not trust you and quite rightly so!

It would not be my first choice to travel her that far and back but if needs must, needs must.

I don't have anyone to look after Nibble while we are away so I'm going to pay a pet sitting service to come in twice a day and check he's alright, keep his routine and not deprive him of the human contAct he has become used to. I'm sure you would be able to find something similar where you are, or maybe the kind of pet sitter who you can take her to their house to stay for the duration. A few pet shops and pet sitters offer that round here.
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Old 10-10-2015, 05:02 AM   #5
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Default Re: Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

I'm with Thin Lizzy and Bertiebobbins, leaving Wumbo alone is not an option...everything says a huge no to that thought. Just thinking of her having to drink old, stale water is enough to know that it's not a thought that should be entertained.

I have also used a pet sitter for the girls previously on short weekend trips away but I know they aren't always available in an area.

It looks likely that Wumbo will be coming with you. In that case, some thought should be given to the cage/carrier that she will be in during the journey. You don't want anything thing inside that could fall or move and ideally, it would be better to be able to put the seat belt either around the carrier/cage directly or have it inside something around which the seatbelt can be fastened, or the cage/carrier needs to be wedged on the car floor behind the seat. You'll want the cage to move around as little as possible.

I am sure other people will offer advice. You've got lots of time to get everything ready for her, which is great.
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Old 10-10-2015, 05:50 AM   #6
Coco61
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Default Re: Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

There is no problem taking Wumbo with you with acre and preparation. It sounds as though you are in the US. In the UK experienced hamster breeders take their hamsters to hamster shows and they spend the day out of their main cage in a small carrier.
You need to buy a small pet carrier. Not expensive and a good investment for vet visits and trips away with you. Fill it with deep substrate and a small house or cardboard tube for sleeping. Cucumber or similar instead of water as Thin Lizzy said. Scatter a little food and favourite seeds inside which will encourage Wumbo to like her new place and she will take them to her chosen sleep spot. That means you know she has a little food if she wants a snack. A carrier can be with you in the car so you can keep an eye on her. If you travel in the day then Wumbo will sleep as usual most of the time. When you stop you can offer her anything extra you think she needs.
Leave the substrate in the carrier for the whole trip. This means it will smell familiar to her when she goes in it the next time.
At your destination you have a room where she will be safe and you can set up her cage there putting back her water bottle, food bowl and anything else taken out for the trip. It is better to do this so you do not risk her sliding about in the cage during the drive.
If we can help more, do ask questions.
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Old 10-11-2015, 01:52 AM   #7
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

Tricky one - I decided against taking Charlie with us on holiday this year because we had an overnight stop going each way. I think a long trip would be ok if she is in a suitable pet carrier, either on your knee, or wedged in the car so it can't fly and crash into something if you have to break hard. I had Charlie on my knee in a pet carrier with a blanket over the top when we drove somewhere. If it was just the 12 hour trip there and back I'd say take her with you and either get a travel cage or take her cage and set it up when you get there. But you say you are going to two different houses? Are they nearby each other or does it mean another travel to go from one to the other?

I think it depends. If for example you are driving 12 hours, staying somewhere for a week, driving four hours, staying somewhere else for a week, then driving home - it is doable, but not as ideal as just having her in one place for the duration. If there are one night stops somewhere I'd say it is a bad idea.

When we went we took Charlie to another hamster owner for a holiday and picked him up when we came back. This didn't work too well either as he had just got used to the change in environment and was very stressed and a bit all over the place for a week or two when we brought him home again and yes it did take a bit of taming again.

I was advised the best option (and I agree with this) is to have someone come to your home to change food and water and let her out in a playpen for a bit. But not just anyone and that's the tricky bit. We didn't know anyone we could trust to do this, but later a friend told us about a pet-sitting service they used every year for their rabbit and the lady would either have the pet at her house, or would come to your house every day to feed and water them and would follow an instruction sheet you left, and get them out for a bit as well. They trusted her and she was used to all kinds of animals.

If you can find a service like that, it would be best probably, although you might have to pay and it can take time to get a recommendation from someone, so you know she is in experienced safe hands.

I kind of wish we had taken Charlie with us as I worried the whole time lol.

So if you want to take her with you, it'll take a bit of logistical working out in advance. ie arranging with the people you are staying with, where the cage can be set up (in your room presumably would be the best place - somewhere quiet away from children and other pets - and keep the door closed!). Also if your cage is too big to fit in the car, then purchase something big enough but either one that knocks down, or something like a zoozone II where the top can sit in the bottom kind of stacked for travel. Plus all her current cage contents for familiarity (bag the current bedding and nesting material). If you did take her current cage, you'd need to take everything out and pack it and put it all back in again when you get there or you'll end up with substrate everywhere in the car (and I forgot to take the water bottle and food dish out once on a short journey and everything got soaked! And food flying everywhere.)

I would get a good sized pet carrier - we have a guinea pig sized one which seems just right for a syrian. I'll post a photo below. As long as it has a house in and is well full of substrate etc, so the house provides some stability in the pet carrier (eg wedged to the sides of it) - cardboard is probably best for a house. We have one of the hay covered cardboard houses in the pet carrier, so he has fun shredding it and chewing the hay off the inside when he's in there. Hide food amongst the substrate.

Travel can be stressful for hamsters, so she would probably be safer left at home with a trusted person to come in and look after her once a day - if that is possible. Sorry that isn't much help. I think if you were just going to the one house, that wouldn't be so bad as it would be stability after the long journey and before the journey back.

Charlie's Ferplast Aladino Guinea pig sized pet carrier - sitting inside play area. The cardboard hay house just wedges in nicely. I couldn't find it on US Amazon but the one below is similar and the same size as ours (the large one - the small one is tiny).

http://www.amazon.com/Living-World-C...ds=pet+carrier

This is the carrot/hay house we have in it

http://www.amazon.com/Rosewood-Natur...s=carrot+house

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Old 10-11-2015, 12:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

It will likely be quite stressful for your ham and will depend a lot on her character if she settles or just keeps freaking out about all the changes. I'd think about being sure she has familiar things with her at all times. So don't put her in the brand new travel cage first day out. Get it now and give her time in it with treats and happy things. Be sure you have enough familiar bedding and don't do any big cleans. She will need her smell around her. Ditto her usual food, and I would try to take water from home. Water can taste very different in different places-- or use filtered water where ever you go if you don't already. Figure out a safe cage cover that she can't get at to chew and that doesn't compromise ventilation as that will help dampen noise and strange smells. And lastly but not least, take her on some test drives. You can help her get used to driving and see how she responds, and you will undoubtedly learn about some pitfalls you missed and how to make improvements. Oh I lied one more thing, try to keep her routine as much as possible on the road. Same feeding time, same play time, same sleepy time. If the routine will need to be altered, start altering it now so it's familiar by the time you go.
Good luck, Hopefully she will settle and might even enjoy herself. xx
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Old 10-11-2015, 01:48 PM   #9
fluffymunchkins
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Default Re: Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

If you have no one to look after her and a pet sitter or small animal boarding place isn't an option, then definitely take her with you!
Its not ideal, I've never travelled with a hamster for more than 4 hours in a day. But if its an 12 hour trip and then 2 weeks for her to settle before the next 12 hour trip, then that's not so bad.

Hopefully, if shes good with noises, she will sleep the majority of the trip. You need to be prepared for the possibility of her water bottle leaking and maybe provide an alternative like cucumber for moisture. Though do make sure she has access to water at some point within that 12 hours. You also need to try and keep the temperature fairly regular.

Hope you can work it out and you can both enjoy the trip x
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Old 10-12-2015, 10:52 AM   #10
peasypea
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Default Re: Taking a Syrian on a long road trip?

I guess it depends on her character - I think I'd be too worried about stressing a hamster out on that long a drive! It must be terrifying for them. My old hamster used to travel back and forth from uni with me and that was about a 3 hour drive - she never seemed to mind and usually went to her house and slept once she had had a little investigate. She came on the train once with me too!
My current hamster was freaking out just from a five minute drive down the road when I took her to the vet, she looked so stressed! She was obviously upset by it too because I found her asleep in her litter tray later on once we had returned, which isn't normal for her!
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