Traveling with your Pet Rabbit by Airplane

DECIDING TO FLY WITH YOUR PET RABBIT.

When given the option to either subject my pet rabbit to a 24-hour drive or a 2.5-hour flight, I decided the flight was the “lesser of two evils”. My rabbit, Meadow does not do well in the car. Even on a 10 minute drive to the vet, he shakes and shutters as if he is having a mild heart-attack. So although I was nervous about the “unknowns” of how he would handle himself on a flight, I knew that he would never make the drive.

Obviously, if you do not have to take your rabbit on the trip with you, don’t. If you are going on a vacation, find a pet sitter. Have a friend stop by and visit and keep an eye on your bunny while you are away. If you are moving to a different city or state, then you will have to weigh your options. Some rabbits, particularly young ones, will do just fine in a car for a long drive. Make sure they have a comfortable bed (some towels will do fine) and plenty of hay. And since the water bottle will probably leak as the car bumps on the road, make sure you take plenty of breaks to let your rabbit have water.  Find a pet-friendly hotel for the night when you stop and never leave your rabbit unattended in the vehicle.

FEED YOUR RABBIT LAVENDER BOTANICAL HAY.

I learned an incredibly helpful tip, courtesy of The Brookdale Pet Center (Bloomfield, NJ)….BOTANICAL HAY. The night before the flight, feed your rabbit a meal of just botanical hay. The ingredients include lavender, and will relax and mellow your bunny and take away any of your rabbits’ pre-flight jitters.

CHOOSING AN AIRLINE THAT LETS YOUR RABBIT FLY IN-CABIN.

First matter of business when you decide to fly with your rabbit is to choose an airline that is going to let you take your bunny in the cabin. I traveled with Continental Airlines and they were wonderful. Although the rabbit’s “seat” cost around $200, they were very kind about letting me board and it seemed well worth the cost.  The other passengers were surprised to see a rabbit boarding the plane and were also very kind to this nervous Bunny Mom!
When you get to security let them walk the rabbit through with you. I got a ride on one of those carts to get to the gate as soon as possible. At the gate, I took him out and pet him until it was time to board. Thankfully, the lavender hay seemed to keep him nice and calm!

PURCHASE THE PROPER AIRLINE-SPECIFIC CAGE FOR YOUR RABBIT.

You have to get a carrier that will fit under the seat and the airline should have specific dimensions of the carrier.  A tip I learned about flying with rabbits is to get a cage that has a “sliding door” on top. I was able to reach down, albeit uncomfortably, and pet Meadow to let him know I was there and to check that  his breathing was normal and he was fine.

MAKING YOUR RABBIT COMFORTABLE ON HIS FLIGHT.

Make sure your rabbit is comfortable during the flight. The in-cabin air can sometimes be cold, and below the seat may be drafty, so make sure he has plenty of comfortable bedding. Because flights are bumpy, it’s a good idea to put a nice heavy blanket between the cage and the cabin floor, to lessen the impact of any turbulence. Also make sure your rabbit has plenty of hay and treats for the flight, and a water bottle on the cage if you are on a long flight, because you will not be able to take the rabbit from its cage.

Meadow flew from New Jersey to Florida successfully, and did really well. The car ride from the airport to our new home, now, that’s another story!

Grieving the Loss of Your Beloved Pet Rabbit

WHY DID MY PET RABBIT DIE?

Rabbits are very fragile creatures. Although they have a longer lifespan (up to 12 years), they can become sick or die suddenly. Rabbits are prone to heart attacks, from coming in contact with a dog or cat, being scared suddenly, or from stress due to uncomfortable car rides. A good owner will know that rabbits take a lot of care and work, as they have sensitive systems and need just the right amount and type of food and water, and attention. Perhaps your rabbit died of old age. Or maybe your rabbit died suddenly and for no apparent reason.

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO GRIEVE THE LOSS OF YOUR PET RABBIT.

After the initial shock of the death of your pet rabbit, you may feel a sense of pain, loss and even guilt. First off, never let anyone convince you that you are “silly” to be grieving the loss of your pet rabbit. Any other dog, cat, or rabbit owner will understand and be able to empathize with you. Losing a pet is many times like losing a family member.You provided daily care, love and affection. You will miss cuddling up with them on the couch and petting them goodnight. Take your time to grieve.

Every person handles grief from a pet differently. Some like to talk about their pet to ease the pain, others may cry, others may be quiet. Tell a friend about any guilt you may feel – and then let it go.

The death of your pet rabbit may be a large blow to a child, who has rarely dealt with matters of death. It is important to let them grieve as well. And to encourage them to grieve in positive ways, such as writing a story or drawing a photo of the pet and the memorable things they used to do together.

OTHER PETS IN YOUR HOME MAY BE GRIEVING.

The other furry friends in your household may be grieving as well. Pay close attention to signs of any strange behavior or loss of appetite. And spend some extra time with those pets to reassure them that everything will be fine.

If one rabbit of a “bonded pair” is to die, please see my other article, which contains some important information on how to handle and care for the remaining rabbit, and deal with his struggles and sadness.

SAYING GOODBYE TO A BELOVED PET RABBIT.

It is never easy to say goodbye to a great friend. I still get teary-eyed when I think of my first bunny, Rabby. She was a wonderful rabbit and I still miss her everyday. I imagine how things would have been had she lived a longer life (she died in 1994?) and was there for me through middle and high school. But it never came to that. Now I grieve for my bunny Cinnabun, who I lost in 2010 and never got to make the move with us to Florida. I think about how sad Meadow is to have lost his absolute best pal. Grieving for Cinnabun opened up old wounds and made me miss Rabby again as well. Just remember that the rabbits who have left this world for Rabbit Heaven will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Many times, the best way to say goodbye is with a nice memorial service. Bury your pet in his or her favorite spot or under a nice tree where you can visit and remember them when you want. Write a story about something they used to do that made you smile. You can share this with others at the ceremony or keep it to yourself. Go ahead and cry and let your emotions out. Losing a pet is something most people understand and can sympathize with. Ask your friends and family members to share a story as well.

Frame a picture of your bunny and keep it somewhere in your house so you can remember their precious  furry face.

AFTER YOUR GRIEVING PERIOD,  GIVE LOVE TO A NEW PET RABBIT.

When your grieving period is absolutely over, do not hesitate to get a new pet rabbit, especially if you are a loving owner with lots of time and energy to give. You have so much love to give, and there is a bunny out there who would benefit from a loving home such as yours. Open your heart to a new companion. You know that this new rabbit will never replace the old, but you can get to know your new friend, love him in a different way,  and let him cheer you up!

If this was your only bunny, do good, save a life and visit a shelter. There are such wonderful bunnies in shelters who are looking for a new home and a chance at some real love!

If you are looking to find a new partner for the living half of a “bonded pair”, please see my article on bonded pairs, which will give you important information on selecting a possible new mate.

Rest In Peace, our beloved Cinnabun

It is with great sorrow that I write of the loss of our beloved Cinnabun. He was such a beautiful, happy bunny. He was adventurous and loving, and always fun. He quickly became best friends with Meadow, and the two happily became inseparable. We are terribly sad, and miss having him in our daily lives. He was a wonderful bunny and we love him more than words can express.

This is the final photos I took of our beloved Cinnabun. Here he is (on right), enjoying an apple with his best friend Meadow.

Cinny was laid to rest in one of his favorite places to relax in Aunt Sheila and Uncle Jimmy’s backyard, as seen in the photo below.

Bunny gets his nails cut!

Poor Meadow. He really does NOT like to get his nails cut. Even though he knows I will let him shove his big fluffy head into the container of oats afterwards – LOL!  Lots of grunting and kicking. Steve holds him nice and tight while I cut.

Here’s Steve, sad face on,  feeling bad for poor Mr. Meads, also pictured, looking absolutely grumpy and miserable!

Is it just me, or do they have similar expressions on? haha!

(Bunny owners, cutting a rabbits’ nails is a delicate science, so don’t try to do it yourself,  unless you’ve been taught by a pro)