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TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH YOUR HAMSTER

To ensure your hamster has the best possible travel experience, remember to include her security items with the rest of her baggage. Pack her regular food and bedding as well as a comfortable travel cage if you're not able to bring her regular cage. If you keep life as normal as possible by providing familiar objects, her stress will be reduced.

Carrier

The most important item you'll need when traveling is a well-constructed, escape-proof carrier. A plastic carrier would be best.

Not all airlines will allow your hamster to travel as a carry-on pet in the passenger compartment. Be sure to check with your booking agent.

When you travel, you should avoid carriers with all-wire construction. These carriers do not provide the necessary seclusion and are also unacceptable for use in airline travel.

Avoid cardboard carriers as well. Cardboard carriers are designed strictly as a temporary item. They can be used for transporting a hamster home for the first time or for an emergency trip to the vet when a regular carrier is unavailable. They are not designed for long-term use.

Be sure to attach a label to the carrier with your hamster's name, your name, home address and telephone numbers, as well as a phone number and address at your destination and an additional number you know will be answered while you are away. Also, provide your veterinarian's phone number for emergency contact. The label should be firmly affixed to the carrier, along with feeding instructions. The information should be written in permanent ink and the label protected from moisture with clear packaging tape.

Food & Water

Keep your hamster on her normal diet. The less change you subject her to, the better. Pack an adequate supply of familiar food and treats to get her to her destination, and if you aren't positive you will be able to purchase the same brands where you are going, then pack along enough to last for the duration of your trip. It is also possible to have petco.com ship food to your destination.

Like humans, hamsters' stomachs can be upset by a change in water, so you should bring bottled water.

Food Dishes & Water Bottles

When serving foods, remember that you must clean all utensils and dishes thoroughly to keep your hamster in good health. To avoid trouble and potential danger, use disposable dishes and spoons. These are inexpensive and more convenient.

Medications To Bring

Bring any necessary medications as prescribed by the hamster's veterinarian. Also include cotton balls, cotton swabs and mineral oil for eye and ear cleanups. Packing a small supply of flea and tick powder or spray, suitable for hamsters, is a good idea as well.

Emergency Kit

Assemble an envelope containing emergency information. Include medical and vaccination records, which may be needed when crossing state lines as well as the name and phone number of your hamster's veterinarian, and the names and phone numbers of veterinarians en route and at your destination. Contact the American Animal Hospital Association, 1-800-252-2242, between 8 AM and 5 PM MST to find veterinarians in various locations.

Optional

A lint roller for cleaning up hamster hair from your hotel room and yourself can be very useful on the road as well as a sponge for cleanups. And most important, bring special treats to soothe her travel nerves.