Traveling With Your Rabbit(s)
Sometimes you may need to travel in your car with your bunny for more than the short trip to the vets that they are used to.
It is not easy to know how a rabbit will cope when travelling; some can be fine and others can become very upset and worried, even with the shortest of journeys. For the bunnies that are OK with longer trips however, you will need to plan a few extra things to make sure they are comfortable and have everything they need, whether it is by vehicle, bus, train, or plane.
Any pet carrier should perform two functions: easily and safely transport your pet and also prevent them from escaping. Keeping those two rules in mind, these are the features you should look for in a rabbit carrier.
Perfect Size – A travel carrier for your rabbit shouldn’t be too small and also shouldn’t be too large. You should look for a “just right” size that will change depending on your rabbit’s size. If you have a Netherland dwarf rabbit you will need a much smaller carrier than other breeds. The general rule of thumb is that the carrier should be large enough for your rabbit to stand up, turn around, and lay down. You should always select a smaller carrier rather than a larger one for your rabbit’s safety. In a large carrier, it is easier for your rabbit to slide around or be injured if there’s a sudden stop or a car accident.
Solid Material – Rabbit are voracious chewers and can also be little escape artists too. A hard sided carrier is the best choice for a rabbit. Look for hard plastic and wire on the sides and top. It not only physically protects them on car or plane rides, but it prevents them from chewing through the carrier and escaping. Fabric and soft-sided carriers are easy for them to chew through and not recommended, especially for long trips.
Good Ventilation – To prevent your pet rabbit from overheating, the carrier you select should have adequate ventilation to allow airflow. This is one of many reasons why a cardboard box is not a good rabbit carrier.
Easy Access – Whatever rabbit carrier you select should make it easy for your bunny to get in and out of it. Usually, they will feature a door that your rabbit can walk in, but you should also look for a carrier that has a top door or a removable top. This is essential for those moments when your terrified bun refuses to leave the carrier at the vet.
Easy to Clean – A hard-sided carrier with a solid plastic bottom is usually easy to clean and wipe out with paper towels. You’ll also want a carrier that is easy to take apart if you need to wash it down with a hose or rinse it in the sink.
Easy to Transport – Smaller carriers should have a sturdy handle that is firmly attached to the carrier and will stand the test of time. If you’re transporting more than one rabbit at a time, you may want a carrier with a shoulder strap or something with wheels that you can push or pull around.
Different Types of Carriers - There are so many different types of carriers available these days. While the solid carrier is usually recommended, there are other carriers that are better for different circumstances. Click on the images below to learn more about these carriers.
Safe Travel with Typical Carriers
With carriers that are not the SleepyPod and have not been certified as safe in vehicles, there is a specific way of placing them into your car to make them as safe as possible during a car crash. According to tests performed by the ADAC (a German car safety company), the best place to put a pet carrier is in the foot space in front of the back seat, directly behind the passenger or driver’s side seat.
This place in the car protects the rabbit from being thrown through the front or side of the carrier. The position between the two seats also helps the carrier absorb some of the initial impacts of a crash without losing its structural integrity
DO NOT place the carrier in the car in the following:
Securing it with a seatbelt (if it hasn’t been safety tested): The ADAC tests showed that wrapping a seatbelt around a carrier with poor design will crush the carrier, injuring the pet. If the seatbelt was secured through a handle or ‘seatbelt loop,’ the entire carrier came unhooked.
In the front seat: Airbags in the front seat can dent or crush a carrier.
Secured in the back seat, horizontally: In most safety tests, the animal slammed straight through the side of the carrier without losing much velocity. They would likely go straight through the windshield.
Secured in the back seat vertically: The animal took the door off its hinges or slammed through the back of the carrier.
Using straps or clips from a design that has not been safety tested: The straps and buckles from designs that are not tested end up ripping off of the carrier or car, causing the carrier to go flying through the vehicle.
Preparing For Travel
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