If you own a pet rabbit, or maybe even a number of pet rabbits, and you’re about to move to another part of the country, then it’s perfectly normal that you would very much like to know how to transport a rabbit to a new home. Nobody can deny that rabbits are cute, maybe even too cute to be true. However, their excessive cuteness is directly related to their fragility, and you should know that moving cross country with rabbits won’t be as easy as you probably think.
Similar to cats and dogs, rabbits are sensitive animals and hate it when their routine is suddenly disrupted and taken away from them without a two months’ notice. Bunnies thrive on their familiar microenvironment and well-known pre-set daily patterns, and won’t usually respond well to the abrupt changes that a residential move will surely present.
What to know before moving house with a rabbit
Moving with rabbits is all about meticulous preparation – how you prepare for the actual transportation of your pet is crucial for the success of the entire rabbit moving operation. There is one major reason why your instance of moving house with a rabbit can prove to be way harder than you anticipated originally, and its name is HEAT.
Rabbits are extremely sensitive to heat and can easily suffer from a heat stroke or heat stress if you don’t take the proper precautionary measures to avoid such an accident. In reality, the only way bunnies are able to regulate their body temperature is through their ears. When a rabbit’s body temperature rises, the blood vessels in its ears will eventually expand and will let more blood flow through them. Once cooled by the air, the blood will circulate back and cool down its entire body as well. Therefore, as a caring pet owner, it’s important that you understand the dangers of overheating your beloved bunny while on the road to your new home. To be on the safe side, keep the ambient temperature in your transportation vehicle under 75°F and over 40°F.
Read on to find out more about how to keep your pet rabbit safe during the relocation trip.
How to move house with a rabbit
Our short guide to moving with rabbits continues with the proper preparation and transportation steps of moving your rabbit to a new home.
Step 1: Get yourself a suitable rabbit cage for your pet. Depending on the size of your rabbit (or rabbits), you should select a transportation cage of appropriate size and configuration. These travel cages are specifically designed for rabbit transportation and are equipped with sturdy wire sides, including the floor where a specialized watertight tray is fitted. Make sure you place a thick layer of a suitable absorbent material into the tray to absorb any waste or spilled water along the way.
Step 2: Decide how your rabbit will be transported to your new home.
- By car. Without a doubt, the best rabbit transportation method is to take your cute bunny on a hopefully trouble-free moving trip with your own vehicle so that you can constantly monitor the condition of your pet and respond quickly and adequately before things get out of control.
- By air. If you must subject your poor pet rabbit to flying, contact the chosen airline and request their specific rules about flying with rabbits and their requirements about rabbit cages. Have in mind that some airlines do not allow rabbits to be transported into closed carriers in the cabin, in which case you will need to ship your bunny as cargo – the least preferred mode of transportation for your rabbit for obvious reasons.
Step 3. Attach cups for water and food to the rabbit carrier. Due to the unavoidable stress that your bunny will be under during the relocation trip /rabbits tend to stress very easily/, your pet will probably not be in the mood for any food or even water. Water can cause really messy spills on the road so pour only a small quantity anyway. It’s a good idea to have extra treats with you such as parsley, carrots or apples.
Step 4. Place your rabbit (or rabbits) in the travel cage. Make sure the door is well secured and won’t open accidentally.
Driving with a rabbit to your new home
- Ensure that the rabbit carrier won’t shift or tip over while in the car and thus hurt your pet friend.
- When moving house with rabbits, do your best to drive smoothly without any sudden movements /acceleration or deceleration/ as rabbits cannot anticipate forced motion and will consequently stress out and frighten additionally due to possible sudden stops and starts.
- Try to provide a darker and cooler environment for your rabbit. As discussed above, overheating is a real problem for bunnies so run the air conditioner in your car (if any) and keep direct sunshine away from the poor animal (window shades will do the trick). Park your vehicle in shaded areas and keep the air conditioning on if possible. Also, make sure no air blows directly onto your pet rabbit as drafts can prove to be really bad for its well-being.
- Check your furry animal’s condition as often as you can. Possible signs of severe overheating include depression, general weakness or even seizures. Remember: regulating the ambient temperature is your top priority when moving home with a rabbit in your car.
- If you have to spend the night at a hotel or motel when moving with rabbits, plan your trip well and search for places that allow pets. When booking your stay, specify that you’re moving a rabbit with you and that the animal is safely enclosed in a rabbit cage and will not run loose.
- Upon arrival at your new home, refill the water and food containers and let your rabbit stay a bit longer in the cage to minimize the shock of the new environment. Consult a qualified vet if your rabbit didn’t take the relocation trip too well.