Taking your rabbit on holiday with you

At first the idea of taking your rabbit on holiday with you may seem a bit unusual, however if there’s one thing house rabbit people can do its ‘unusual’ so here’s how with a bit of planning and the right pet friendly hotel you can enjoy a holiday with your bunny. Best of all its quite easy really.
Rabbit wearing sunglasses
Why leave your bunny at home!
Rabbit playing at the beach by the sea in sand dunes

My wife first suggested the idea to me when we discovered the hotel we were staying in was pet friendly. ‘Why don’t we take the bun with us’. We don’t have anyone that could keep an eye on him and we even though the boarding we use is very good it’s the environment he is use to. Besides we are used to having him around and he is not used to spending any time on its own so we did it. The result it was not much hassle and even made the holiday better.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you and your rabbit are going to have to make some compromises to make this work. You are not going to be able to bunny proof the room so letting your rabbit roam unsupervised even when you are watching them its going to be difficult or at least will need your full attention as your rabbit is likely to want to explore, typically by chewing and scratching which will cause costly damage. So your rabbit will be spending probably more time then its use to in an enclosed space.

It is also important to realise you are probably going to be staying in the same room as your rabbit which if your rabbits not used to may keep you up at night as rabbits have very different sleeping patterns to us. Typically they will wake up a few times in the night and take water from their bottle or crash about a bit as they hop in and out of their litter tray. Your rabbit may also choose to chew on the bars of the cage which can become annoying.

However if you are prepared to make these compromises and don’t mind the attention from other guests when you struggle in with your bunny and a suitable enclosure then why not?

Approaching a hotel

Bunny in bedroom wearing sunglasses

The first thing is to find out if the hotel has a pet friendly policy, it will typically specify if they are. Some hotels are more pet friendly than others so if you want a good reception you can normally judge this from the tone of voice they use on their website. The best ones will often say how they welcome people with pets who enjoy bringing them to the hotel where they are made welcome. You typically find these are small hotels where they have pets themselves.

Next phone them up and ask if they take pets, when they say yes then say you have a rabbit and explain that it will be kept in a large cage so it won’t roam the room or cause any mess or damage. This sometimes come as a bit of a surprise but with a bit of careful explaining and reassurance that you know what you are doing they will normally agree.

Lastly you may want to ask at this point how you get access to the hotel, for instance how close the parking is and where the room is situated to hep you prepare for your arrival.

Travelling to the hotel

rabbit carrier car seat belt

Rabbit carrier strapped into car First make sure you have a suitable carry case, it needs to be big enough to allow your rabbit to move around to get comfortable but not too large so as your rabbit will be thrown around. Its best to put something absorbent on the bottom of it like a towel, hay or news paper. This will help stop you rabbit sliding about and absorb and toilet mess. Our rabbit has got used to travelling so tends not to go to the toilet in the carrier on short journeys. If its a long journey however you may want to bring some spare bedding along so you can swap them if needed. A good alternative to a regular carrier is to invest in one specifically designed for transporting dogs, they have a side facing door so you can keep an eye on you bunny and an elevated floor panel so any wee will drain away.

Next make sure your rabbit has access to water. You can get small water feeders you can attach securely to the front of the cage if your rabbit is used to using a bottle. You may find your rabbit is to stressed out to use this so its on a long journey its worth stopping and offering the water feeder directly with some encouragement by giving it a squeezer or by putting some water in a bowl. its best not to try and leave a bowl of water in the crate as it likely to spill or get tilled over. If your rabbit is used to eating wet food I can be good to feed it some greens or a bit of fruit before you go to help with hydration.

Rabbits also need to eat regularly so make sure it has access to some food it likes and some hay. Your rabbit may refuse food and water which is fine, don’t force if it as if it wants it it will take it.

You will need some way to secure your rabbit in the car. To do this Its best to leave a seat free, put the carrier on the seat then stretch the seat belt over the carrier so the wast belt wraps around the front of the carry case. Its best not to put the carrier in the boot as its going to be noisy in their and it can be hard to judge the temperature which con reach extremes of hot or cold. If its a large crate you can obtain a seat belt extension that will make things easier. Our rabbit is usually the last thing we put in the car before we leave and the first thing we take out when we arrive. If you are travelling on your own place the crate on the back seat across from you so you can keep an eye on it easily or if you have a passenger place it behind you so they can reach over instead.

To make the trip more comfortable for you bunny make sure the temperature inside the car is moderate and never leave your rabbit in the car when you are not their as the temperature can change inside rapidly. Remember rabbits loose heat through their ears so if it starts getting hot open the window to let a breeze in or turn the inside fans on. If it’s sunny then you can help provide shade with some window screens. Its also best to keep the radio down low as excessive noise is not something your rabbit is not going to enjoy.

If your rabbit is use to you talking to it and making a fuss of them make sure you give it lots of words of reassurance during the journey. If you like you can tell it what you are doing so it gets some advance warning.

What you will need to bring with you

rabbit carrier packing

You are going to need to remember a few things most of which you may have already

Setting up the room, minimising mess and leave the room clean

rabbit dog cage hotel room

When you arrive in the hotel first go into the hotel and check in. Its best to get this done and get the key to your room before you bring your rabbit in as this will minimise the fuss and cause the least amount of stress for your rabbit. Once you have access to the room get your rabbit and bring him in and put him down somewhere secure where you wont trip over it him or knock him off. It will take a little time to set the room up so just leave him in the carrier for a few more minutes at first.

Next work out where you are going to set the cage or enclosure up. A good place would be in an area with a bit of space around it, not up against a wall or curtains if possible as mess can travel a bit. It can be tempting to put you rabbit in an alcove under a window however somewhere away from direct sun light or cold drafts is best. You may need to push a few things in the room around to find the space.

Once you have decided the spot and set things up before you go and get the rest of the stuff. For the enclosure we use a large dog cage as it is collapsible and has a plastic tray in the bottom, our rabbit is used to carpet so we have an off cut of carpet in there that he is use to. You could use paper or wood shaving however this is going to get very messy. Its best not to put the cage directly onto carpet so neatly lay down some news paper first to catch the mess. This will also help make it easier to tidy up when you leave. If you are using an enclosure like a pen without a base you will need to put something on the floor to stop it getting damaged or soiled, remember its all new so your your rabbit may not find its litter tray as easily as normal. Once you have set this up transfer the rabbit into the enclosure.

We normal stick the do not disturb sign on the door and make separate arrangements to get fresh towels for the room.

Leaving the hotel

rabbit in harness on beach by the sea

When you are ready to go home start by packing up all your stuff and loading this into the car first leaving space on a seat for the carry crate to be strapped in with the seat belt. Next transfer your rabbit to the carry case and leave it somewhere secure to one side where you won’t trip over it.

Next you will need to clean up the the cage. There is likely to be quite a bit of mess to having some rubbish bags to put it in and some extra news paper to lay down can really help as when you pack the cage up quite a lot of often drops out. We bring a brush with up to pick up any stray bits of hay and the odd poop that has escaped. Next pack this into the car.

Latest of all go and settle the bill, then once this is done go back to the room pick up your rabbit in the carry case and take it straight to the car . You can drop the key off on the way.

Need more help? Why not ask the Bunny Proofing group!

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