I am writing this page because of an experience I had when I went to the vet about 2 years ago. I was waiting to pick up Baby, to take her home after a bout of GI Stasis and this lady came into the reception area with 2 small bunnies in a poop dish. It was a cat liter dish to be exact – a good sized one. These two precious little bunnies just sat in that poop dish and didn’t seem very concerned as to where they were – as they were in their poop dish eating hay. I could not take my eyes off of this and I began to fret. What if a dog came in? What if she dropped that poop dish outside? What if she made a fast stop while driving the car? What if something spooked those bunnies? I was pretty upset and worried about those bunnies but then I got my own little sick girl and her 15 meds and I soon forgot about those bunnies……until I went to Red Door Animal Shelter a year later with Dino for some speed dating to get him a partner. It was there I saw them transporting bunnies from room to room and area to area with the bunny in a poop dish. Ah Ha – this is where that lady at the vets office must have adopted her bunnies from and they must have been trained here. Ah Ha – mystery solved, well sorta.
I was so involved with getting my Dino a woman bunny that day, I forgot to ask how they get the bunnies to be okay with that? How do they train the bunnies to do that? What was the method? I was curious.
So I asked my friend Patti, a Red Door volunteer how they do it. She explained that rabbits get coaxed into their poop dish and then just picked up and carried. Since they are in their poop dish, they feel safe and they can move around a little. The poop dish is their safety zone. Think about it, when you are trying to catch your rabbit, isn’t the last place they go to is their poop dish and just plop in and wait to be picked up. The person carrying them holds them down in place within the poop dish while walking and they usually only go very short distances within the same building where no predators will harm or scare them. This has become the best method for transporting bunnies when they need to. I asked her if she could do a video and they did for me. In this short video Toni (I refer to Toni as the Bunny Angel because of all the rabbits she has rescued and helped) demonstrated exactly how they do it. Fascinating in deed.
So this would be a good way to train your rabbit for transporting him or her in your own house, in a controlled environment where no predators exist. A way to quickly get him or her from one room or area to another. This is NOT a good way to transport your pet OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES as too many things can go wrong which could harm your precious cargo.
So the day I adopted my first rabbit Baby, it never even occurred to me how I would carry her home from the Animal Shelter. They gave me a cardboard box with holes in it –well it worked fine, no problems but I soon realized I would have to come up with some other way to safely transport her to the vet when she needed to go.
So off I went to the pet store (that guy loved me, I was in that place every week or two and I had big $ on my forehead and didn’t know what I needed and what I didn’t at the time). So he sold me this great small carrier made by Marchoro of Italy called a Binny 2. It was sorta expensive at the time at like $55 or so but in retrospect its a really nice carrier for 1 small rabbit.
The best part of the carrier I think is the fact that the floor has a mesh insert so when the rabbit pees the urine goes down below the floor allowing the rabbit to stay dry and free of the urine. I’ve had so many comments from vet staff as to where I got it because it is so nice. It came with a water cup that mounts to the side wall which is also a big plus. Check out that removable mesh floor.
Notice the entire carrier is made of hard, durable plastic that you can wipe or rinse off. When I get home the first thing we do is take it apart and clean it out so that the urine does not stain or discolor the bottom of the carrier. This carrier comes apart into two pieces, top and bottom for storing and cleaning.
The top of the carrier has a compartment for treats or pellet food and the other side has a sliding plastic window where you can reach in and pet your bunny to comfort your baby while traveling (just make sure they don’t escape through it as Baby almost did once).
This carrier worked great until I adopted Gracie and Dino who were a bonded pair that needed to go everywhere together (except for an emergency vet appointment or what would be a long vet appointment). So I picked up this pretty inexpensive Pet Mate Pet Taxi. This is much different then the smaller carrier I have. This one has no water container. The inside of the floor has a groove running around it to collect urine but it really doesn’t help. I put a towel down on the floor which helps some with urine but when I get the buns home they are usually a mess. The carrier is plenty big enough for Lucy (who is not so small) and Dino. But I sure wish I had something better. But this does do the job and like I said its reasonable and you can find one easily at any big box pet store or small pet store or even Walmart has them.
Notice that once again its made of a hard durable plastic that can be wiped or sprayed down for cleaning. This carrier also comes apart into 3 pcs – top, bottom and metal door. This helps for storing and cleaning too.
So it is extremely important to think ahead and make sure you have a safe carrier to transport your bunny in BEFORE you need it.
My mother-in-law had a softside cat carrier that I almost tried until Baby went in it, pee’d in it and then hopped out and hid for the rest of the day. She must have smelled the scent of a cat but she still had to mark it apparently. Her urine soaked into the entire bottom of the carrier which pretty much ruined it. No one told me that cats won’t urinate in their carriers and that is why cat carriers can be soft sided. Ya always learn when you have pets don’t you.
I’ve seen an adorable plastic carrier that looks like a picnic basket, but I’m told they no longer make them and that once in awhile you can find one on ebay — pretty cute it was. I’ve seen carriers on wheels and since your rabbit is not a piece of luggage weighing 50 lbs I think you can pass on that too. Ok I also don’t like the backpack idea – really? How could you see what your bun was doing or if he was even still in your backpack = NO!
When I take the rabbits to the vet, I sometimes cover the carrier with a towel so they feel more protected and not so out in the open and exposed. This can be very helpful in the vets office where they can smell other animals but while covered by the towel they can’t see the other animals.
I would not use a cage for transport to the vet as it would be large and cumbersome and you might drop it and the bun. I would not recommend a willow carrier either as your rabbit could literally eat its way out of the carrier and you must make absolute sure that the willow was not been treated with any sort of insecticide or pesticide which would be poisonous to your bunny. Don’t put a small bunny in a great, big, huge carrier either as the bunny could get tossed around and hurt inside.
Make sure the size is big enough for the bun to move around in some. See Brownie in the carrier below. She is sorta on one side but notice she has more room to turn around or lay down if she wants to.
So please make sure you look around for a good carrier that will fit your rabbit with room to spare. You’ll need a water cup or bowl that won’t tip over. I also put hay and greens in the carrier too as usually they will nimble on it on the way home. Here’s to safely transporting your rabbit……..
If you have a specific question about your rabbit, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.