Traveling Full-Time with a Small Pet
Pets are so incredibly special! They are always there no matter what to make us smile, lift our spirits, and be our best friends. We LOVE our little guinea pig Mose so much and couldn’t imagine our lives without him. 🐹
When we decided that we wanted to live on the road full-time, Mose was a big part of that decision. We always want to make sure we take good care of our pet and give him the best life possible, so that meant we had to carefully consider how RV life would affect him. There are definitely some added hardships to living on the road, but there are also some benefits to Mose as well. Neither of us wanted to bail on Mose, and after weighing all the options we came to the decision that all of the benefits of living life on the road with us outweighed all of the hardships.
Most of Mose’s life is fun and games. His days are filled with playtime, cuddling, and getting treats on the regular. 🥰 Not to mention, we think he is the most well-traveled guinea in the world. He has eaten grass in 14 different states! However, taking care of a small animal on the road does take a little bit more attention and work than in a stationary home. Small animals are notorious for being easily stressed, so we have learned how to minimize the stress of Mose’s life on the road in order to maximize his fun! The two main things we have learned to watch out for on the road are road trips and cold weather.
If you are thinking about traveling with a small pet too, these tips might help you out!
Chances are a small animal won’t love a car ride. Even dogs can get sick of the car with the frequency and length of the drives full-time RVers make! That said, we have learned how to minimize Mose’s stress to keep him healthy during our long drives.
Snacks & treats with high water content
To keep Mose from getting dehydrated on the drive, we like to feed him fruits and vegetables with high water content every couple of hours so he is still getting lots of liquid. Mose’s favorites are cucumber slices, lettuce, and fresh fruit! These are also a great way to break up the drive and give him something exciting to look forward to every few hours.
The most dangerous thing about a long drive is the stress it can cause to a small animal’s immune system, and in bad cases, they can get sick. To prevent this, we give Mose a probiotic called Bene-Bac and an amazing nutrient- & calorie-dense food called Critical Care before and after a drive. We do this every time we drive, and he hasn’t gotten sick once! He also loves the taste of Critical Care, so it is a fun treat after a long drive.
Side note: We used to give Mose his Critical Care during the drive, but after a while, he stopped eating it! We discovered that he associated this special food with driving and because of that refused to eat it. Now we give it to him before and after a drive and he loves it again!
We always try to get Mose feeling excited and happy as soon as possible after a drive, so the first thing we do when we arrive at our next destination is to get him out of the car. If we have grass at our site, we like to set up his playpen so he can play outside and get some good grass in his belly. If there’s no grass at our site (or a stray cat eyeing us) we will make sure we get him into his inside cage as soon as possible. He is such a happy pig that he forgets that anything even happened just a few seconds after being home!
We deal with such extreme weather variation while moving around to different parts of the US that weather can be a hardship for Mose. The cold is what we are always most concerned about, and we have taken many precautions to make sure he is always warm and cozy!
Ideally, animals that are susceptible to the cold will have their cage somewhere away from windows and outer walls. With an RV, that’s nearly impossible! So one thing we do to minimize the cold creeping in from the walls is to put a heating pad under Mose’s cage. This makes sure that his cage and bedding won’t get too cold.
When we are boondocking and don’t have access to electricity all night, we will use a hot water bottle instead of a heating pad. We always make sure to put the hot water bottle under his bedding so it will be comfortable and not too hot. The hot water bottle isn’t quite as effective or long-lasting as the heating pad, but we never boondock in that cold of temperatures anyway.
Mose is up on a counter in the RV which keeps him away from the cold floor but puts him closer to a window. While the roller shades on the Alta are impressively insulating, we like to give Mose a little extra insulation, so on cold nights, we will tape a towel over the window for added warmth.
Keep the RV warm
This really goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: keeping the inside of the RV warm does a ton for keeping Mose warm! In our RV, we have maxed out our warmth, so we have the Alta’s furnace, built-in fireplace space heater, and an extra portable infrared space heater. If we have power, there’s no way this piggy is getting cold!
Animals love little dens and dark places, so Mose is usually pretty happy with the tent method. If it’s not going to be too cold or if we are running our heaters, we can just wrap some fabric around his ‘pigloo’ to make it more insulated. For colder nights or when we are boondocking, we will make a tent over his whole cage to keep him warm for the night.
For the REALLY cold nights, we will take Mose’s bedding and set him up in the shower as his cage! The shower is more insulated than his normal spot by the window, and there are a few more vents from the propane furnace in there, so the bathroom stays extra warm. Plus the shower is easy to clean after he’s spent the night in it!
It is extremely important to us to always make sure we are being responsible guinea pig parents to give our furbaby the best life possible. There are some extra steps and hardships that come with traveling with a pet, but from what we’ve seen, Mose is even happier now than he was in our old apartment, and he really seems to enjoy his life on the road. We wouldn’t have it any other way! ❤️
Tyler & Andrea
We are full-time adventure seekers taking on the world in our East to West RV! We have seen so much personal growth during our first year of nomad life that we wanted a way to capture all of those moments and share them with you! Our goal is to inspire everyone to chase after their dreams and always seek adventure in whatever they do.