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Welcome to our page! We do our best to provide to-be and current bunny owners up-to-date info on the best care for their house rabbits. When we adopted our first bunny in 2005, there was almost nothing on the internet to tell us how to care for him. Just in the past few years, information has exploded online, and now it can be confusing! We try to simplify it by posting weekly articles on current issues, daily care, concerns, proper feeding, and other info so you can enjoy your house-bun! If you are just finding us, feel free to look through the older posts also. Please email us if you have any questions! Happy bunnies make happy hearts!
Email: thebunnyhut101@yahoo.com

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Proper Transportation of Bunny- Carriers & Car

Our Favorite type of carrier for 
rabbit transport

Rabbits are easily stressed and their transport represents a challenge. Allergens, sunlight, car lights, noise, hot or cold temperatures, and being subjected to visual observation by people or other animals could potentially stress a rabbit in a carrier. 

**Have a small amount of hay available for the rabbit in the carrier and if a water bottle can be attached, do so. every hour or so, offer a small amount of water soaked romaine to rabbit to ensure hydration and help prevent stasis during trips of more than 1 hour. 

1. The carrier used for transporting should, thus, be sturdy so as to protect the animal from exposure to the environment as much as possible and prevent escape.  
2. The carrier should, furthermore, have a solid bottom, with no grid or holes that can cause injury.
Nylon or cloth pet carriers, as well as cardboard boxes, must be avoided since a rabbit can easily make holes in these materials. A rabbit that has escaped from the carrier in a car can lead to extremely dangerous situations. The rabbit can startle the driver by jumping onto his or her lap, thereby distracting the driver's attention and concentration away from the road, or the driver may need to locate the rabbit in the vehicle, all potential causes of accidents.  
A free roaming rabbit in a car can, moreover, be propelled through the windshield during a sudden unexpected stop.

Adar, a Flemish giant rabbit travelling by train

Never take chances !!!
A rabbit should travel in a sturdy carrier that ensures a safe environment.
The waiting room at the veterinary clinic is a further source of stress for the rabbit. When removed from the safe environment of its carrier, it may panic, bite, and scratch in an attempt to escape
The carrier of choice has a front opening and a top opening:

Front door
Top opening

The top opening is convenient for checking on the rabbit, petting, feeding, or giving fresh drinking water during a stop. The rabbit cannot get out and escape as easily as through the front. If the rabbit reaches up to the top opening, it can be gently pushed down in the carrier.

Escape through the front door is easy…
A top opening requires some effort to escape

A top opening is, furthermore, useful during a visit to the veterinarian. 
Usually, the rabbit can be picked up through the top opening without much trouble, with a firm hold to avoid escape, and support of the lower spine region and hip of the rabbit to avoid fracture.

For safe carrying methods of a rabbit, see:Safe carrying of a rabbit” 


Padding of the transport carrier
The plastic bottom of carriers is slippery and does not give support and traction to the rabbit during transport, especially when unexpected motion occurs. The rabbit can hurt itself, fracture a limb or the spine, or luxate a shoulder or hip. For maximum safety the rabbit should be placed in a carrier padded with soft bedding, e.g., a cushion, towels, or a blanket to ensure safe transport. If the road is rough, or the rabbit suffers from health tilt or balance problems, the sides of the carrier can be padded with rolled towels.

Slippery floor
Cushion providing a good hold
Ventilation of the transport carrier
The carrier should have enough openings on all sides to enable proper flow of fresh air during transport. A cover or a towel will help protect the rabbit against drafts, cold winds, or freezing temperatures. 

Cover made of cotton cloth material
 Two zippers enable removal of the cover, opening of the top door, and easy lifting out of the rabbit
Size of a carrier
Aside price and quality, the choice of carrier depends on the size and number of rabbits that will travel in it. It should not be oversized nor overcrowded. The carrier should provide comfort and allow lying down and stretching out.

Different carriers used to transport one to two rabbits:
·           The smallest (left, 27*43 cm / 10.6*17.2’’, 30 cm / 12’’ high) can transport two dwarf rabbits or one small sized rabbit.
·           A mid-sized carrier (30*46 cm / 11.8*18.1’’, 36 cm / 14.1’’ high) can be used for one giant breed or two medium sized rabbits.
·           The folding carrier (right, 46*54 cm / 18.1*21.3’’, 35 cm / 13.8’’ high) was used to transport a giant Flemish giant and a medium sized rabbit.


                        Safe transport by car

Transportation in a carrier should not take longer than is necessary for traveling from home to the veterinary clinic. If the trip is long, stops should be scheduled at regular intervals. The car should be well ventilated and the inside temperature not reach higher than 24°C (75.2°F). Unless restricted by the veterinarian (e.g., before surgery), food, hay, and water should be supplied. Fresh vegetables or herbs can be provided if the trip is long.
The carrier with the rabbit should never be left unattended in a car, even when parked in the shade. Temperatures inside cars quickly climb to 30 to 50°C (86 to 122°F) on summer days, even when a window is left open for ventilation. The environment in the parked car can very quickly become fatal to the rabbit.
Several methods are available for proper and safe transport of rabbits. The following pictures present safe methods of transporting rabbits in a carrier by car. Depending on the car, the experience of the owner, and the size and weight of the carrier+rabbit, safe car transport methods may differ slightly. 

The carrier can be placed with the front opening facing forward. This will enable fresh air to enter.
This carrier is wrapped in a protective cover made of thin cotton cloth. This enables ventilation, but prevents the rabbit from seeing its surroundings. It also protects against drafts and cold winds.

 A towel or small blanket (arrow) is used under the carrier to level it on the car seat.

 The carrier can be placed with its front facing to the side. When placing it this way, it must be ensured that fresh air can enter and there is proper ventilation. 

 A towel or small blanket (arrow) is used under the carrier to level and stabilize it on the car seat.

 When the carrier is placed on a seat, it should be secured with the seatbelt to keep it from falling, moving, or even being hurled accidentally into the windshield should unexpected braking or stopping occur.

 The carrier can also be placed on the floor in front of the seat. To decrease vibrations during the drive, a towel or a blanket can be placed underneath the carrier.

 The carrier can be placed in the back of a station wagon.
The floor of the car should be skid proof or covered with non-slippery material. The carrier must then be secured so it cannot move or roll over.
If the floor is slippery, the carrier must be secured with bungee cords or strong rope. NEVER use adhesive tape.

                          NOT SAFE                                   

 The carrier is not level. This puts enormous strain on the limbs and hip joints of the rabbit, which cannot sit or lay comfortably when the carrier is at an angle. 

The carrier is not level. This puts enormous strain on the limbs and hip joints of the rabbit, which cannot sit or lay comfortably when the carrier is at an angle.

 Although the carrier is kept horizontal, holding it on the lap is not safe.
During a sudden stop it can slip and fall or even be flung through the windshield of the car.                 


Transport, Restraint and Manipulation of Rabbits

Paperback, 40 Pages