A guide to stress free travel with your rabbit
Most rabbits must travel at one time or another, even if it is only ever to the vet for a checkup. Because it is a relatively infrequent event, travelling may stress rabbits to some extent. With a little planning, you can minimize this stress for you and your rabbit.
For a short journey
Ensure you have purchased the necessities before hand from a reputable pet supplier who will be able to advise on sizing for harnesses, leads and carry cases.
For a short journey it is advisable to have the following:
ID & Nametag - Secure the ID tag onto your rabbit's harness or lead. Some small rabbits are not suited for harnesses or leashes. Attach their ID tag directly to their carrier.
Plastic carry case (rabbit specific)
Travel water bottle - ideally with a built in spout or reservoir is best
Food and treats
Waste pickup products
Extra lead (as a backup)
For longer trips including car and train journeys
If you are going on an extended holiday where you will be doing lots of sightseeing it is probably a good idea to leave your rabbit at home with a friend or family member. If however you are going away for an extended period of time and will be based at a friend or relatives it may be ok to take your rabbit with you providing the host welcomes the idea and does not suffer from allergies.
If your rabbit has not travelled a long distance before you must build up to it gradually. Firstly introduce your rabbit to the carrier so they feel comfortable and safe inside and then start to take your rabbit with you when going on small trips and gradually increase the amount of time spent inside the car.
Secure the rabbit within the carrier and ensure the carrier is placed somewhere secure where it will benefit from air circulation. The carrier can even be fastened in with a seat belt and the air conditioning directed towards the rabbit to ensure he does not overheat in warm weather.
Remember to pack:
Enough food and clean water to meet your rabbit's nutritional needs while under potential stress from traveling.
Travel Bowls (foldable)
Any medications your rabbit may need.
Check all rabbit carriers or transport cages to make sure they are in good condition and have no sharp edges
Travelling abroad & aeroplane journeys
If you must fly your rabbits via animal cargo make sure you use an approved airline and check the legal requirements for both the airline and the country you are flying from and to as regulations vary significantly. Place absorbent bedding in the base of the carrier to soak up any urine. The rabbit should have access to water in a small bottle with a spout secured to the carrier and a few leafy vegetables in the carrier, such as slices of carrots, as these will satisfy the rabbit’s thirst if the water spills.
If at all possible, during hot weather, arrange the flight so the rabbits are loaded during the coolest times of day. Once they are on-board, they will probably be content, however, they are sometimes left sitting on the tarmac prior to loading, risking heat-stroke if it is hot outside.
Rabbits from the UK can travel within the EU without having to go through quarantine
When en route your rabbit may come into contact with animal diseases which we do not have in the UK. Ask your vet or consult DEFRA for further information regarding your destination country.
Before you take your rabbit abroad, consult your vet about any preventative treatment necessary and how to look for signs of ill health in your rabbit. If your rabbit becomes ill after returning to the UK, explain where it has been so your vet can consider diseases not normally found in the UK.
It is very important to consider the welfare needs of your rabbit when travelling and whether it will benefit from travelling with you. Generally speaking rabbits are happier when left in a familiar environment with a family member or pet sitter. Always seek advice from your vet before taking your rabbit on long journeys and always ensure that he or she undergoes a vet check prior to travelling.