A carry case is essential for taking your rabbit to the vet or on other journey's outside the home. Rabbits should never travel lose in the car or in your arms on the street. Even if your rabbit is laid back a sudden noise, another animal, or car problem could mean your unsecured rabbit comes to harm.
There are various types of carrier sold for use with rabbits but some designs of more practical than others. Here are some features to look for when choosing a rabbit carrier:
It's important that carriers have adaquate ventilation. In a warm car a carrier with inadequate ventilation could cause your rabbit to over heat.
- Easy to Clean
Carry cases are often used to transport sick rabbits so it's important they are easy to disinfect. A carrier that comes apart makes cleaning easier.
- Good Access
A well designed carrier should make it easy to get your rabbit in and out. A side door is useful so your rabbit can walk in, but top access makes it easier to remove a rabbit that is reluctant to leave the carrier when it's on the vet's table. A carrier that has two access points gives you the most flexibility.
Rabbit carriers need to be made from materials that are chew proof such as wire or sturdy plastic. The door need to latch securely to prevent escapes.
- Carrying handle/strap
The handle should be firmly attached. If the handle is on the lid then the weight is being taken by the lids catch and hinge so these need to be robust too. If you have a large rabbit or multiple rabbits to transport you may want to consider carriers with a shoulder strap or wheels, to help with the extra weight.
Pick a carrier that provides enough space for you rabbit(s) to sit up and lay down comfortably but not too much extra space so they slide around if you break suddenly when driving.
The Best Rabbit Carriers
Carrying cases made from solid plastic, with ventilation holes, are generally the most suitable carriers for use with rabbits. Many retailers sell variations on this design and most pet shop stock them so shop around for a style and size to suit you.
Some plastic carrier are a single box where as others split in two sections horizontally. The later is useful for cleaning, lifting out your rabbit, or stacking smaller for storage. Most carry cases have a door on the side, some have a door on the top, and a few have both. The door is usually a wire grill; avoid those with a plastic grill as they can be chewed. If the door is solid the extra ventilation holes will be necessary in the sides to compensate.
Here are two examples:
Wilkinson Pet Carrier
(Available in three sizes £10-14)
This carrier splits in to two sections and has a wire door at the front.
Catit Pet Cargo Cabrio Carrier (£27)
The manufacturers obviously put a lot of thought into this carrier. It has top and side access, plenty of ventilation and a shoulder strap.
Unsuitable Rabbit Carriers
Sometimes carrying cases orginally design for other animals are marketed at rabbit owners without thought for how a rabbit's needs differ and in particular their ability to chew. These carriers are not suitable for use with rabits:
Wire Pet Carrier
Wire carriers are available in various sizes. They are usually mesh on all sides with a pad or cushion on the bottom to cover the wire floor. In general they are top opening though a few have a side door. Whilst they are chew proof, the open sides leave rabbits feeling insecure; and legs could be caught in the wide mesh holes. You could adapt a cover or line the inside but buying a plastic carrier to start with is less work.
Soft Fabric Carrier/Crates
There are several variation on this design. Some have a folding wire frame covered in fabric, others are more like a large bag. The only positive is they fold up for storage. However as a rabbit can chew through fabric in minutes, storage is a bit of a redundant issue. These are totally unsuitable for rabbits.
Wicker Pet Basket
This is a traditional style of cat carrier. They are basket shaped and made of wicker. They will provide your rabbit with a tasty snack but are totally unsuitable for transporting it anywhere.
Cardboard carriers are often supplied by pet shops when you buy a rabbit. They are basically cardboard boxes with handles and a few ventilation holes. They are not usually designed for reuse as they are chewable and cannot be cleaned.
Rabbit Collar & Lead
Although not technically carriers, you do find these for sale aimed at rabbit owners. They are not a suitable replacement for a rabbit carrier. They do not provide protection in a car or security in a busy vets waiting room.