Did you know that you could take your rabbit with you on your next plane trip? Traveling by air with your favorite companion can make a trip sweeter knowing you'll get to experience new things with them.
But isn't traveling with a rabbit difficult? Like with any traveling, it can be made easier by making sure you are as prepared as possible. We want you and your rabbit's travel be comfortable that's why we gathered the important questions you need to ask before deciding to take your rabbit with you. Once you've answered those questions we have a few next steps for you to take depending on your travel destination.
Some (incorrectly) classify your dear pet as livestock or rodents so make sure you check what category rabbits fall under as it will determine if they are allowed or not. If you discover they won't allow it see if there is another airline you can use otherwise you'll need to get a pet sitter for your little one.If you discover that they are allowed then you'll want to book a reservation well in advance of your trip. The cost of bringing your rabbit will go up the later you book and some airlines only have a limited space and are on a first come first serves basis.
Once you know your airline allows rabbits to fly, here are a few follow-up questions.
Can you take your rabbit with you in the cabin?
Depending on the rabbit friendly airline, they may allow you to take your rabbit with you as a carry-on. You'll want to make sure you find a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Check with your airline to see what the specific dimensions are for under the seat carry-ons (see rabbit care packing list).
If your airline says no to cabin access (giving the cargo hold as the only option) and it's not extremely important that you bring your rabbit we recommend that you leave your rabbit at home with a pet sitter. For many rabbits traveling within the plane's cargo hold can be a traumatic experience.
If you have no other option and must bring your rabbit and the cargo hold is the only place for them make sure to grab all the information about how they deal with pets in the cargo hold.
Since rabbits can easily become overheated and suffer a heat stroke ask questions like:
Does the airline have a temperature controlled cargo hold?
Will your rabbit have to sit on the sunny tarmac for extended lengths of time?
Where Are You Traveling From / To?
Traveling from State to State within America?
Depending on your mode of travel and which state you are traveling to, the requirements will change. Some states will have more steps and documents you'll need to complete while others will just educate you on pet regulations.
Traveling across states with your pet in the carwill have different care instructions than flying. Talk with your veterinarian to see if they recommend any veterinarians in the state you are going to visit in case you encounter an emergency.
It's safe to assume that when traveling to other countries customs, quarantines and paperwork will be required to travel with your rabbit. You will need to contact your airline, and possibly your country's consulate to get detailed information on traveling with your pet overseas. Take the time to clear these details up as other countries could cause significant headaches for you once you arrive there with your pet.
Here are a few specific resources to check out depending on the international travel you are doing.
Traveling from the United States to a Foreign Country?
Moving or vacationing to a Foreign Country can be exciting. If you are just traveling for vacation we do recommend that you leave your rabbit at home with a pet sitter. But if you have to travel with your pet (or just really want to), check out the requirements based on the country you are going to and see if you need to complete certain paperwork or have any tests done. It'll also give you information on what you'll need to do to be able to to re-enter the United States (if you're coming back).
Traveling from a Foreign Country to the United States?
Moving to the United States takes a lot of preparation between finding a place to live, a job, furniture, a car, etc. Traveling with a pet just adds to the preparation. To help you out with moving your pet rabbit (or other small pets) check out the United States Department of Agricultureto figure out if the state you are moving to requires any extra documents for you to fill out besides the initial international import paperwork.
Once you've asked all the important questions and completed all the necessary paperwork it's time to begin packing or thinking about the items you'll need for your rabbit's trip on a plane!
Rabbit Care Packing List
Start by finding an airline approved carrier that is the correct size for your rabbit. While the dimensions are mostly the same between airlines, it's always good to call and ask them. To be on the safe side, your carrier should be less than 11” tall by 17” wide by 18-20” long to fit under the seat in front of you.
Note: International travelers may not be able to take hay or fresh vegetables, but always check with your airline as it sometimes is a case by case basis. You'll also want to make sure that their water source is empty when going through TSA.
Your Rabbit Travel Bag Should Contain:
Additional towels and puppy pads
Ice or cooling packs to keep their temperature down
Extra water bottle to refill
Paper towels to clean up any spills or messes
Note: Keep in mind that you cannot go through TSA with water, so you will need to buy a bottle of water once through security.
Your Checked Bag Should Contain:
Litter box (clean) - or make sure to purchase one when you land
Litter box material
In Case of Emergencies
We always hope that traveling is smooth sailing, but sometimes things happen that we can't control. It is always better to be safe than sorry when emergencies end up happening.
Grab a nontoxic felt marker and "tattoo" a telephone number of a reliable friend or relative in your rabbit's ear. The ink wears off but it will provide a temporary ID.
Type short notes for your purse, suitcase, carrier, and car giving emergency instructions in case of accident i.e.: phone number of person to call who knows what to do with them and other instructions for your rabbit.
We hope you found this information about the proper rabbit care when flying helpful! Is there anything else that we can help with to make your trip easier?
Decide to leave your rabbit at home while you travel instead of taking them with you? Make sure you download our free Rabbit Starter Kit before you leave. It contains basic rabbit information you'll want your caretaker to know along with a list of items to place in your rabbit first aid kit in case an emergency happens while you are gone!