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July 15, 2010

On the Road with Rabbits

If a road trip is in your bunny's future, follow these tips to keep her safe and ease her stress

Web extra, All Animals magazine, July/August 2010

  • iStockPhoto

by Adam Goldfarb

While many dogs and even some cats enjoy traveling, rabbits typically have a less favorable opinion about hitting the road. As prey animals, they can be easily frightened by new things and novel sensations, such as the motion and vibration of riding in a car. It’s hard to make a road trip enjoyable for bunnies, but you can make sure that it’s a safe experience for everyone.

Misery Loves Company. Having a bunny friend along can ease the stress of travel. If you have a bonded pair or group, bring everyone on the trip. This can make traveling a bit easier for each of them and enhance their bond (in fact, a tip for helping rabbits become fast friends is to take them on car rides together).

Backseat Bunny. Rabbits should travel in a carrier that’s large enough to hold them comfortably, but without too much room for bouncing around. Since an expanding airbag can crush a carrier, place the carrier in the backseat, secure it with a seat belt or bungee cords, and make sure the door is securely latched.

Creature Comfort. Rabbits don’t have pads on their feet like cats and dogs, and they have a hard time moving or stabilizing themselves on smooth surfaces, like the bottoms of plastic carriers. To help them gain some traction, place a folded blanket or towel in the bottom of the carrier. (Make sure your rabbits don’t nibble on the blanket or towel; add some hay to the carrier to redirect any chewing.)

In warm weather, opt for your car’s air conditioning instead of open windows. Rabbits can be very sensitive to heat. Also, since many carriers have holes on the sides and top, cover the carrier so your rabbits aren’t subjected to direct sunlight.

R&R for Long Trips. Longer car trips create more challenges. Rabbits must eat hay and drink water frequently to keep their digestive systems moving. Most rabbits won’t eat or drink in transit, so you’ll need to stop at least every two hours to give them an opportunity to relax, eat, and drink. 

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