Taking your rabbit on public transport might seem like a daunting experience. Rabbits are nervous creatures that can be scared easily, particularly when they’re away from their home.
Public transport can be a scary place for a human let alone a rabbit, with loud noises, new sights and people. However, sometimes taking your rabbit on a train or on the bus is unavoidable. You may need to take your rabbit to the vet, a rabbit fair, or even just to a friend or families house.
If you do need to take your rabbit on the train or bus, there are many things you can do to minimise stress for your furry friend.
The key is to make sure that your rabbit feels safe in its travel carrier – here’s how to maximise security and comfort, and minimise stress!
Make Sure Your Rabbit’s Travel Carrier is Secure.
In order for a rabbit to feel content and stress-free, they need to feel like they are in a safe little burrow.
Therefore, a good travel carrier must be rigid, well-ventilated and secure. Cages made from solid plastic and metal wire are the best option for rabbits as they are strong and provide your rabbit with some privacy.
Your rabbit’s travel carrier should be smaller than it’s normal cage – a smaller carrier will provide your rabbit with a sense of security and will prevent your rabbit from being thrown around if you encountered a bump on the bus or a jolt on the train.
With that said, your rabbit’s travel carrier must be large enough for him or her to lie down, stand up, sit down and turn around in, without any restriction.
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Make Your Rabbit’s Travel Carrier a Cosy Den.
a) Line the bottom of the carrier with a GRIPPY, odour absorbing material
You want to prevent your rabbit sliding around the bottom of its carrier during the train or bus journey. This could cause your rabbit to become highly stressed, sick and could even injure your furry friend.
Puppy training pads work really well to soak up any accidents, spillages and smells.
Alternatively, you could also use towels or newspaper. There is also the option of rabbit, bird or cat litter, which will do a great job of absorbing any odour.
b) Add a blanket.
Once you have lined the bottom with the absorbant material of your choice, add a blanket or towel on top.
A blanket or towel will provide your rabbit with comfort, security and will provide him/her with extra grip.
c) Add some hay.
Rabbits don’t normally eat much when travelling, however, it is still recommended that you provide your rabbit with some hay.
Hay will provide your rabbit with something to burrow into on your public transport adventure. A burrowed rabbit is a happy rabbit. It will also provide your rabbit with a little snack just in case he or she does get hungry.
If you are going on a longer train, coach or bus journey, you could also pop a few pieces of vegetables in the travel cage too. Carrots and celery are ideal as they are dry and won’t make a mess.
d) Cover your rabbit’s carrier with a blanket.
This is HIGHLY recommended.
Public transport can be a pretty unpredictable place, and the sounds, sights and smells of a busy bus or train can be scary and highly stressful for a rabbit. You also want to prevent your bunny from seeing any sudden movements which can give them a real fright.
Covering the carrier with a blanket will not only protect your bunny from the scary sights, but will also block out some of the new sounds and smells of public transport. Additionally, the darkness will recreate the feeling of being in a small burrow, and will therefore create a feeling of security and safety.
Just be sure that the blanket still allows adequate ventilation.
Get Your Rabbit Used to it’s Travel Carrier.
You want your rabbit to feel as at home in its travel carrier as possible. This will minimise stress as your rabbit won’t feel completely out of its comfort zone while on public transport.
Try to purchase your travel carrier weeks before your planned public transport journey. This will allow you adequate time get your rabbit used to it’s travel home.
a) Don’t force your rabbit in the carrier.
This is VERY important.
You want to avoid your rabbit to associate the travel carrier with fear and stress.
Instead, introduce the carrier during playtime, leaving door open so your rabbit can enter it on its own.
b) Entice your rabbit in the carrier with treats.
Use your bunny’s favourite treats to entice him or her into their new travel cage. This way, he/she will associate it with positive things.
c) Get your rabbit used to being in the carrier around the house.
Once your rabbit has started to feel more comfortable in their new travel carrier, get them used to staying in there for longer periods of time.
Pop your rabbit in their carrier with their favourite treats or toys for a few minutes at a time. Securely close the door and gently pick the carrier up, keeping it close to your body. Walk slowly around the house with the carrier so that your rabbit gets used to being elevated in motion.
Work your way up to having your rabbit in its travel cage for at least 30 minutes.
d) Do some short practice runs.
If you are planning on taking your rabbit on a long train or bus journey, then doing some shorter test runs is recommended.
This way, your rabbit can gradually get used to the sights, sounds and smells of public transport. Therefore, the longer journey won’t be a big shock to your bunny.
- Bonded bunnies travel together – if you have a bonded pair of bunnies, put them in the same travel carrier. They will provide each other with comfort.
- Talk to your bunny – talk softly to your rabbit throughout the journey to soothe him.
- Don’t take your rabbit out of the travel carrier – all of the people and the noises will likely stress him out.
- Try to avoid the train or bus during peak hours – the train or bus will be extra busy and noisy which will stress your rabbit out.
Rabbits are prone to getting stressed whilst travelling, especially on public transport. However, if you plan and prepare ahead, it can be a stress-free experience for you and your rabbit.
Be sure to get an appropriate travel cage for your bunny weeks before your planned road trip. This way, you can spend time to make sure your rabbit feels safe and secure in its travel home.
Recreate the feeling of a small burrow by using plenty of hay and blankets. Additionally, be sure to cover the carrier with an additional blanket to protect your rabbit from the strange new sounds, smells and sights of public transport.
Hope you have found this helpful.
Happy and safe travels! 🙂
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