How To Transport A Rabbit In 3 Easy Steps
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If you are trying to figure out how to transport a rabbit whether you just bought one, are trying to take your rabbits with you on a trip, or attend a rabbit show you need to do it in the safest way possible.
You need your rabbit to stay calm and in a confined environment so it cants hurt itself.
There is one key that will affect ALL of your choices when it comes to choosing your transportation method.
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THE WEATHER Will Affect Transporting A Rabbit
This is big. As someone who shows rabbits, the weather is the first thing I check when I am going to be transporting rabbits.
Heat is not your rabbits’ friend. They do far better in the cooler months (50 degrees Farenight is ideal) than in the summer months. Anything above 85 degrees is going to be hard on your rabbits, especially without a cooling system like being under trees in the shade or having frozen bottles
If you want to learn more tips about how to keep your rabbits cool in the summer heat check this post out.
If you don’t have a choice and the rabbit has to be moved during temperatures that are hot and humid here are some things you can do.
- Have frozen water bottles ahead of time. (Make sure to remove the labels.)
- If you have an SUV or you don’t stress over your car interior and you can put them in the cab of the vehicle when it’s 80 degrees or over.
- Battery-operated fan. You need to keep the fan out if the rabbit’s grasp because they will chew on it but having a fan that can blow on them while traveling would also help if it’s extremely hot and you can’t have them up in the AC with you. – Check this one out on Amazon.
Things Not To Do When Transporting A Rabbit
I have a truck with a cap on the back and the side windows do open. Even then I wouldn’t transport them in 90-degree temperatures in the truck. If we were going to a show we would just have to not go.
This next one may seem like a no-brainer but I have seen it done. NEVER EVER EVER put your rabbit in the trunk of a car.
The Easiest Way to Transport A Rabbit
Now assuming you have checked the weather and it’s a go here are a few things I would do to help the rabbit on the trip.
Travel Tips Before You Leave
When my young rabbits are going to new homes I will put them in their own cage 5-7 days before they leave to go to their new homes. This will help them get used to having their own space and live on their own without their siblings and mamma around. (Mama ready to see them go by then)
Then the day before I will top off their feed with dried lavender flowers to help keep them calm and in a good mood for the trip. This will keep them from getting too stressed out.
Travel Tips The Day You Leave
- If your trip is going to two hours or less and the weather is good you don’t have to worry about having water or food. They won’t eat it anyway. (When I was shipping a rabbit through delta airlines for a rabbit on a 2hr flight they had the transporter remove the feed and water provided.)
- If the trip is longer you can provide a travel-size secured water bottle or lockdown bowl with water to help the rabbit stay cool and hydrated.
- Unless your trip is longer than 5 hrs don’t worry about trying to find a way to provide food. The rabbit won’t eat it and it will just create waste and unnecessary mess.
- Keep The Mood Calm
- If the rabbit is in the cab with you don’t be blasting the music or having a crazy party in the vehicle with the rabbit. They are calm animals that don’t like crazy.
The Best Rabbit Carrier To Have
Show rabbit carriers are THE BEST way to keep your rabbit clean and cool on the trip. They are all wire so there is lots of airflow. They sit on a mesh so their waste falls through the bottom and they don’t have to sit in it at all.
This would be the best place to order one from.
The travel carrier should not be the size of their normal cage. The carrier should be just big enough for them to stand on all fours, lay down, and turn around that’s it. Rabbits need a confined space to feel safe in when transporting them.
Here are some things you what to make sure your carriers DO NOT have.
Thin plastic walls that are easily chewable. I have seen some that are almost like a tent material and that is a joke. Rabbits will chew through that with no problem.
If you have a large breed rabbit I have seen some people come with small dog crates that have a wire bottom which is great.
These plastic ones are a better option as opposed to the thin carriers that rabbits can chew through.
I would rather you transport your rabbit in a cardboard box over a carrier that could cause the rabbit to ingest something that is harmful to them and could kill the rabbit.
How To Transport A Rabbit Without A Carrier
If this is just a one-time deal and you don’t think you will be taking your rabbit places then a cardboard box will do just fine. And it can be thrown in the trash when you get home.
When you are trying to put something in the box to absorb the pee I would try to stick to pine shavings.
DO NOT use something like that paper puffy stuff I see in the pet stores. That will kill your rabbit if they swallow it.
Wood pelleted bedding is ok but it makes me nervous because it is designed to absorb moisture and it swells when it does that. So that doesn’t sit well with me.
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Why Not Carry Your Rabbit While Traveling
When rabbits get scared they kick and thrash which can be very hard to get control of. You will end up with some bad scratches and likely both of you traumatized.
If you are picking up a rabbit you do not want this to be your rabbit’s first experience with you.
Your body heat will keep them warmer. They are already a bit stressed and their blood is moving faster. Making them warmer.
If you are picking a new rabbit up I think it traveling by car is the better choice over flying in a plane.
With that said these are the best steps to take to transport a rabbit in a car.
Transporting A Rabbit To The Vet
If you are transporting a rabbit to the vet MAKE SURE to have a carrier that they can sit in. Do not try to wing it without some kind of containment. They likely are not going to end up a happy camper if they are having to go to the vet in the first place.
Before you go into the waiting room.
Check to see what kind of animals are already in there. Your rabbit could look like pray to someone’s dog and if they even see your rabbit they could be freaking out trying to get to it.
You may not know dog breeds well enough to know what is a hunting dog and what is not. So don’t be afraid to ask the owner. Say I am bringing a rabbit in will your dog be ok with that? If they are hesitant then don’t bring the rabbit in.
Talk to the worker at the desk and ask if you can leave the rabbit in the car until it is your turn. Trust me they will appreciate the thought and would rather wait a few extra minutes instead of having to deal with a dog wanting to have your rabbit as a snack.
You should also have a towel to drape over the carrier if you need it to because you don’t know if simply being in a new place with smells of stressed-out animals is going to be enough to stress your rabbit out.
How To Transport A Rabbit Long-Distance
If you are not able to drive the rabbit yourself there are companies that will do it for you. On the eastern side of the US Two Sisters Transport has done very well for me. I have recently been invited to join a rabbit transport group that connects rabbit buyers with transporters. You can check them out here.
I have not used them yet because I haven’t had the need to.
Like anything, there is a risk when you let someone else do something for you. The best thing you can do if you need to transport your rabbit is to go yourself but if you can’t find someone with good reviews and do your best to stay reachable throughout the process.
If you chose to trust them then do so. Don’t micromanage and be kind to them. They likely have multiple people reaching out to them and are communicating with 5-10 people at a time.
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Rabbit Transporting Checklist
- A rabbit carrier with good ventilation.
- Pine bedding for the bottom of the try (if needed)
- A towel to lay over the carrier.
- Water if the trip is over two hours.
- A frozen bottle if the temperature is over 85 degrees and your rabbit can not be in the cab with the air conditioning.
The best way to transport a rabbit is going to be you driving yourself because you can control the overall environment. But sometimes that’s not doable. If not and you choose to use a transport service than
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