Travel isn’t fun all the time–especially for rabbits. Rabbits are happiest when they’re familiar with their surroundings, and being dragged off of their home turf and placed in strange environments can be stressful to them. Putting more than one rabbit in the same small, enclosed space might seem like a bad idea, but this is not always the case.
Two rabbits can share the same carrier if the rabbits are bonded and the carrier is large enough. Putting two unfriendly rabbits together could result in a fight and injuries. However, if your rabbits get along well, they make great travel buddies and can keep each other calm.
Short trips to the vet are the most common for rabbit owners to take and are easily managed with proper preparation and forethought. In order to get the best results and keep your rabbits happy and healthy, make sure you’re prepared!
Traveling With Multiple Rabbits
You wouldn’t know it by looking at them, but rabbits are naturally very territorial creatures. When danger is sensed, their survival instincts urge them to fight for their lives and attack other threatening rabbits by biting and boxing. To get the best results, make sure your rabbits are bonded before you go anywhere.
Two rabbits who are unfamiliar with each other will need to bond before being put closely in the same area. Being in a strange, cramped area with an unfamiliar rabbit is a recipe for disaster and could lead to serious injury. If you need help bonding your two rabbits, see my article all about bonding two rabbits together here. This article focuses on bonding a young and old rabbit together, but the principals work the same with rabbits at most ages.
TIP: Not only will you want your rabbits to bond closely with each other, but you’ll also want to be sure they bond closely to you. Rabbit Only Comes for Food? Six Better Ways to Bond is a great article to read if you are looking for a closer connection with your pet rabbit.
If your rabbits are already bonded and good friends, that extra familiarity can help them to stay relaxed more than traveling separately would. For example, you could take both rabbits with you to the vet even if only one is being checked on because they will be able to offer comfort and support to each other.
What Kind of Carrier Do I Need?
Rabbit carriers come in all shapes and sizes, but not all are created equal. When selecting a carrier, it’s important to consider the size, sturdiness, and comfort level to accommodate two rabbits. All these things will make a huge difference in the quality of your trip.
A two-rabbit carrier should be large enough for both of them to comfortably turn around, sit up, and walk around in, with enough space left over for a blanket and a few familiar toys. That being said, bigger isn’t always better– having a carrier that is too big may lead the rabbits inside to slide around because of sharp swerves or turns.
Avoid any type of travel carrier that is particularly flimsy, collapsable, and could threaten your rabbit’s welfare. Though a cheap option, never use cardboard boxes or anything they could chew out of. If there is an accident, the cardboard will do little to protect them.
Make sure your carrier is well ventilated, but not too drafty— Your rabbits need to breathe easily, but excessive drafts can spook them and make them tense.
Traveling for Short Trips: How to Get the Best Outcome.
Going on necessary short trips with your rabbits can be made 10 times better by taking the necessary precautions. Most trips that take a couple of hours at most are easy to prepare for and quite manageable!
The number one idea is to keep your bunnies relaxed. Rabbits are prey animals and scare quite easily, and putting a rabbit into a completely alien environment right off the bat can be scary for them and cause a lot of stress.
One of the best things you can do to help your rabbits get ready for a trip is to familiarize them with their carrier before you go anywhere.
Place the carrier in their play area with the door off and put things inside that your rabbits are familiar with, such as hay or a comfy blanket or towel. Let them explore it freely. This will help them to get used to the interior and exterior of the carrier, and allow them to get their scents on it.
Once they are comfortable with it, gently place both of them in the carrier, close the door and walk around with them for a while. This gets them used to the idea of being together in the space, like “taking a test drive”.
You can also take a literal test drive by taking your rabbits out for a short car ride and seeing how they react. If either of your rabbits is particularly nervous or flighty, this is a great way to help them get accustomed to being in the car and set you up for success later on down the road.
Just before you travel, prepare for the trip by:
- Putting a blanket or towel inside the carrier for comfort. One they’ve used before and has their scent on it is best.
- Blocking out the outside world by placing a sheet over the carrier can help them stay calm. Loud, unfamiliar noises, flashing lights, and new smells are stressful, so do your best to block these out while making sure the carrier remains ventilated.
- Turning down your radio. Rabbits have very sensitive hearing, and loud music will stress them out.
- Tying the carrier down so it is stable to minimize any sliding around that may occur during car travel.
- Making sure the carrier is out of direct sunlight or is covered with shade. Rabbits are very sensitive to heat, so keep your A/C on and the temperature low. NEVER leave rabbits alone in a hot car.
What About Long Trips?
Taking rabbits on longer trips is discouraged– Extended travel is extremely hard on them. Rabbits need to be able to run around and exercise in order to stay healthy, and traveling is not an ideal scenario for this to happen. If you want to take your rabbits on a longer trip, first consider other options, such as getting a pet sitter or putting them in a pet hotel. Your rabbits will be happier if they can stay together and not travel.
What About Litter Boxes?
Like with sharing a carrier, sharing a litter box is possible with two rabbits but will go much smoother if they are already tightly bonded. If you are having trouble with your rabbits’ bonding, check out Five Reasons Pet Rabbits Fight and How to Stop Them. The key element here is the rabbits being bonded. I wrote a guide all about two rabbits sharing a single litter box here, if you’d like to see the reality of sharing something as critical as a litter box between them.