Five Guinea Pigs fly to California - a travel diary

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Supporter in '10

Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:45 pm

We're relocating across the country, so we spent a lot of time researching options that would let us bring our five rescued guinea pigs. With most of my friends also involved in animal rescue, the suggestion to leave them behind never even came up. :)

As you are probably aware, no major US airline will let you take a guinea pig into the cabin anymore, and since the limit is two animals per cabin anyway, this option was out of the question.

Initially we considered driving across the country to avoid air travel, but multiple pet relocation professionals suggested to use Continental Airline's PetSafe program instead, which would allow them to travel in a climate- and temperature-controlled special cargo section.

The guinea pigs will travel in three carriers (one is smaller and will only house one piggie). In addition to the hard plastic carriers, we ordered travel kits which include "live animals" stickers, plastic bowls that hook into the door, and an absorbent paper pad (we will probably use Wee Wee pads, taped to the bottom, though).

Regulations require us to cover all slots in the carrier with wire mesh (duct-taped to the outside of the carrier) - presumably due to their rodent classification. There is no way on earth they can gnaw their way out of a hard plastic carrier, but they were pretty firm about this rule. Before you choose your own flight, check with the Animal Desk ( ) to see if Pet Cargo is still available for that flight. Your animals will have to be booked separately on the phone. When you're ready to book, have a general idea of the dimensions and weight of the carrier, as well as the weight and ages of your pet.

Supposedly, unlike cats or dogs, guinea pigs do not need a health certificate, "unless you want to insure them".

The projected cost for three carriers and five guinea pigs is between 500 and 600 Dollars. Final amount is determined by actual weight.

I hope this information will be useful other members who want to fly with or ship their guinea pigs using the Continental PetSafe Program. I will update this thread with pictures and more information as the time comes. We will fly in early October. If you have any questions about the booking/preparation process in the meantime, I'll be more than happy to respond. Note that regulations change all the time, so it's always better to double-check.

Butter, Mocha and Caramel are ready to travel! (just kidding!)

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Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:02 pm

Cool. What part of CA?

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Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:08 pm

Thanks for sharing Caruba! Maybe I will make a traveling with your pets section on my website to encourage people to hold onto their pets when moving. Would you be ok if I used some of your text?

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Supporter in '10

Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:16 pm

Since this forum is public, I'd rather not say where exactly in a thread, hope you don't mind.

Feel free to use any of the information here, but it's probably best to wait until after they all arrived safely in their new home.

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Remembering Nemo

Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:21 pm

caruba, those three girls look like they are going to make you pay closer to $600 :) Just kidding, but their are adorably chubby!

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Supporter in '10

Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:28 pm

Haha! In my defense, I am just now letting their hair grow back after it was trimmed all summer. That makes them look puffier... at least that's what I keep telling myself ;)

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Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:33 pm

Everything I learned when researching how to take Lois internationally was the same. The vet told me about the Continental flights just for animals. Delta runs a similar service. It seems like a very good option.

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Poop Obsessed

Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:10 pm

They are gorgeous! I am looking forward to hearing how it goes. If it is climate-controlled, it should be great.

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Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:29 pm

caruba, sus4rabbitsnpigs is asking because she's heavily involved with rescue in Southern CA. It's always wise not to post your location, of course, but we have many members and resources around CA plus opportunities for volunteering and annual pignics. If you're interested, you could post the general area. If you'd like privacy, we all respect that.

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Supporter in '10

Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:49 pm

Oh, I totally understand. It's not anywhere near Cavy Haven and Wee Companions, unfortunately. "SF Bay Area" is probably still vague enough to preserve privacy while being helpful :)

I am always ready to assist rescues with donations, networking, volunteering, etc. If that sounds helpful to you, feel free to message me!

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Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:26 pm

Thanks for this post Caruba! I am so torn in trying to adopt a piggy soon or wait till we move back to Philippines in 5 years because of travel worries. But it is just sad not to have a piggy in one's life especially if you've gotten used to having one. So I will make sure to call Continental first before adopting to find out about their International Travel for pets. That conversation with them one day will either make or break the ideas of adopting.

I love Continental as a airline carrier coz I traveled with them when I came here from Phil so I am expecting they will be as great on Pet travel. Unfortunately, it will be at least 16hrs of travel with stops for my pets if we end up doing this route.

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Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:37 pm

I should send some HALT piggies with you so they can be adopted on the West Coast lol!

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Cavy Slave Since '08

Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:47 pm

Hope all goes fine! :)
Look at these gorgeous pigs on the bag! Please, ship them to me! ;)

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Supporter in '11

Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:13 pm

You'll be in our area then - we're in the SF Bay area.

Always nice to have more GLers around.

Your piggies are adorable.

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Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:17 pm

So very good to hear about this program! I've no need for it currently, but good to know it's out there.

an absorbent paper pad (we will probably use Wee Wee pads, taped to the bottom, though).

I've not tried in the carrier yet (I have a cat carrier) nor am I sure how practical it would be, but crib protector sheets wick moisture like nobodies business and they're reusable! They sell flat sheets as well, you have to look carefully though, as most of them are of the fitted variety for a crib mattress.

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Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:32 pm

I hope it goes well!!

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Supporter in '10

Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:44 pm

CavyPrincess - why not adopt a senior/adult piggie now? If you have five years of love to give, I am sure some local guinea pigs would benefit from it tremendously. Plus, what's life without guinea pigs?! ;)

CavyHouse - That's awesome. If you guys need any help, let me know! I'm good at social media/online marketing, too!

Interesting point about the paper pad. Looks like I underestimated it! Thanks for the tip!


Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:51 pm

CavyPrincess - I've also been pigless for a year because of an upcoming move. I decided to go the fostering route. I haven't had any for a few months now though, and I do really miss having them around. They make me so happy with their cuteness and squeaking :-)

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Post   » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:13 pm

I'm heading up to Salem in a month if you want some fosters Lou!


Post   » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:07 am

Safe travels to your family and adorable piggies! It's nice to have more California GL'ers!

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