BEHAVIOUR Miscellaneous Training

How To Travel With Your Rabbit

Your rabbit may be your pet, he or she may be a show rabbit. No matter the role the rabbit plays in your life, you will come to a time when you need to travel with your floppy eared friend.  We are going to give you some advice on how to go about Traveling with your rabbit, with very few issues.

Traveling with any animal can be a hard task to accomplish. When it comes to rabbits, it may seem almost too daunting! Traveling with your rabbit becomes stressful. Rabbits do not like to travel, it stresses them out terribly. When your rabbit is stressed, then you become stressed.

Signs of Stress in Your Rabbit

Unlike humans, Rabbits cannot outright tell you that something is bothering them. You, as the owner, need to look for the tell tale signs of stress. Some ways in which a rabbit will show you they are stressed include:

  • They develop diarrhea
  • They may become aggressive or even withdrawn
  • They may refuse to eat

Travel is Possible

Do not worry, you can still travel to places for vacations, or rabbit shows, you just need to take a few steps that will help to keep your rabbit calm during the journey.

Purchase a carrier that fits your rabbit. There are many owners who have carriers that are much too large for the vehicle seats. There are even some who try to stuff their rabbit into a box with air holes. The type of carrier that you want is one that will fit inside your vehicle. With the rabbit in the same vicinity as you, it will be able to hear your voice, therefore calming it down.

Within this carrier, be sure that there is a blanket with familiar smells already on it. This means planning a day or two in advance, but this is not difficult. If your scent is one that calms the rabbit, then keep the blanket near you for a couple of days. You could also use your rabbit’s current blanket. When they smell their own scent, it will make them more comfortable.

They also need to have some food and a water bottle available to them. This food could be rabbit kibble and some vegetables that they like. The water bottle, if you do not use it currently, it is advised that you use it for at least a full week to get the rabbit used to drinking from the bottle.

Once you have put the rabbit into the carrier for the trip, do not remove him or her until you reach your destination. This is considered to be too stressful on the rabbit. While driving, talk calmly to your rabbit. Do not have the volume too loud on the radio, this is too small of an area and can hurt the rabbit’s hearing.

You could take time well before the big travel day and do some practice runs. For instance, put the rabbit into the carrier and drive to town or around town for a short amount of time. Then go home and gently take the rabbit out of the carrier. A little affection at this point may help him or her to understand that home will always be there. Returning home will happen and you will still love him or her.

Find a Sitter

It may break your heart, but if your rabbit is unable to handle vehicle rides, whether they are short rides or long, you may want to find someone that you trust fully that will go visit, feed and exercise your rabbit while you are gone.

Leaving the rabbit at home will ensure that your bunny is calm and in familiar surroundings. There will be stress, as you will not be there, but that stress is easier to handle when they are home themselves. Where they know the smells, the sounds and they can relax.

Board Your Rabbit at His Vet Clinic

When you do not know anyone who would be available to feed and clean the cage, speak with your vet. They may be able to board the rabbit for a few days. This may be a part of their practice. They may also be able to suggest a kennel that you could board your rabbit at for a few days.

When You Travel Together

Travelling together can be a fun vacation for your rabbit as well as you. You, however, need to be prepared and pack anything that you may need for your rabbit. Not just a little rabbit food for the carrier while driving.

You will need to take enough hay for the number of days that you plan on being gone, take some pedialyte. Even if the rabbit seems calm, he is stressing and becoming dehydrated. The pedialyte contains electrolytes that will help restore hydration. It also comes in multiple flavors, which your rabbit will completely enjoy.

Obviously enough food for the amount of days, the water bottle, water and food dishes. Any medical supplies you keep at home for emergencies with your pet. Attach a card to the carrier that will contain your name and number, the Vet’s name and phone number and maybe another name and number as an emergency call number.

Hotel or Motel

If you will be on vacation, make sure that the hotel you have chosen accepts pets. Also, the rabbit will need to remain in the carrier the entire time, except for exercise time in the bathroom of your hotel room. This way, there is no damage that will happen from feces or urine, by letting your rabbit out to exercise.

Other things to consider for the hotel or motel, Place the do not disturb sign on the door at all times. Your rabbit may experience extreme stress if there are strangers in the room while you are out sightseeing. You may decide to carry your rabbit with you as you sightsee around town. Then you also have to consider the noise levels in public, little kids may be running up to see the cute bunny. You would not be able to go inside a restaurant for mealtime.

Private Homes

Even if it is family, they are entitled to know what sort of living experience the rabbit has. Is the rabbit allowed to roam free? Does it know where to use facilities? Will it smell? Even if the routine is accepted by the homeowners, be sure to pick up after your rabbit immediately. Carry supplies with you at all times. The urine can be caught before it begins to soak into the carpet.

In Advance

Before you jump in the car and begin driving immediately. Be sure the temperature is appropriate in the car. Your rabbit needs a steady temp that is not too hot and not too cold. If it is summer, be sure to cool the car down before loading your rabbit into it. Same as if it is the cooler months, be sure the car is not too cold.

Just remember a few things, rabbits do not like to travel. They like to remain in familiar surroundings where they are comfortable and not stressed. They do not want to be kept in a cage any longer than necessary. If they are used to a rabbit hutch that gives them plenty of room to move around in, that is what they want if they need to be in a cage.  The rabbit likes to be able to hop and jump. They do not like sudden loud noises, unfamiliar people or places.

When rabbits are stressed, they become more prone to injury and illnesses. If you are travelling with your rabbit, this would definitely mean that your vet is not in close proximity. Be sure that you know what to do in emergencies, medical or other.

Keep a cover on the carrier. Keep the rabbit in a secure and private habitat as much as possible. This helps to prevent the stress from too much motion, too many strange sights and unfamiliar happenings. One important fact, if you have a cage for the car, do not make it too large. You do not want your rabbit bouncing around and risking injury. Placing a thick blanket down on the bottom can help, but the sides would still be metal on a cage and could hurt.

If possible, make a rabbit hole out of the blanket. A hole that your rabbit can crawl into and feel comfortable. Place some fresh hay inside so he can nibble while he is in the proverbial rabbit hole. Air travel, honestly, I cannot recommend this. If you are an accustomed flier, you know that your ears will pop. Now imagine being a tiny rabbit stuck in a cage, in the hold of a huge aircraft. It is loud, it is strange  and the rabbit ears may also pop. You cannot sit in the storage area to help your rabbit.

Some airlines may allow you to have a pet carrier in your lap, verify with your choice of airline before purchasing tickets and making plans. Vacations are great, but if you are the owner of a rabbit, you may need to reconsider how far you go.

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