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I've been really wanting to adopt a rabbit, but have been postponing this since I am anticipating an overseas move sometime in the next 2-3 years, and didn't want to have to re-home my rabbit once that time came around. But I'm starting to feel that my life would be so much more complete with a rabbit companion, and I really wish I didn't have to wait.

I've been researching rabbit import policies in the countries I might be moving to. All are 6+ hours by plane. All allow pet rabbits, some countries require the rabbit to enter separately to the owner (which I guess prevents them travelling with me in the cabin), some do not. I was wondering if anyone has any experience flying with a rabbit in the cabin or other pet transport methods or resources to point me to. How stressful is it for a rabbit? Are there methods that are less stressful than others?

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  • related question: Rabbits as hand luggage in an airplane Aug 10 at 5:56
  • Also very important for the stress-level of rabbits (because you wrote "a rabbit" instead of "rabbits"): Bunny alone, good idea? Aug 10 at 6:02
  • And please, focus on one question per post only :) this is how pets.SE works. If you have two or more questions, you should use the "ask" button two or more times. For example one question for the stress aspect and one additional for the ethical part. Aug 10 at 6:31
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I have no final answer, but I will try my best

In my experience, there are different points to "calculate" the stress for a rabbit.

First of all, I want to mention the point of companions: A lonely rabbit would not resist stress as good as two or more well bonded rabbits. They would find comfort in the other rabbit, which no human can give them. (In nature rabbits share the task to look for dangers, while the other rabbit can take a rest)

Second is the character of the rabbits: For example I have one, very sensible reacting onto sounds. So I would assume, that for him a long silent trip would be less stressfull than a short loud one (ie in an airplane).

The next point are breaks: My rabbits would prefer a trip, which allows them to have breaks with possibility to move and eat. When driving 1400km last weekend we had breaks every 3 hours, one over night in a pet-friendly-hotel. The short breaks were done as follows: We stopped, took the exercise pen onto the next clean green grass and put the carrier with open door inside. We had a blanket with us, to cover one side of the pen, so the rabbits felt more save inside. Then we were going one by one to toilet, eating, taking fuel and so on. The first out and the last in on each break were the rabbits (and the child ^^). The long break at the hotel the rabbit carrier was placed in the shower-tub of the bathroom and the rabbits were allowed to roam there the whole night. We put old blankets/towels into the corners (where they most probable want to urinate) and cleaned all in the morning.

I have thought about flying with them too, but for me it was no option to let the rabbits fly in the luggage-part of the airplane. There it is very noisy, and this is no option. I heard about some vets, who give the pets a sedativum before the flight, but I have no experience or knowledge with this in rabbits. Sadly the hand luggage was not an option too, because the airlines in my case did accept pets only in carriers, which were too small to fullfill the minimal needed measurements for rabbits to sit upright, lay comfortable and be able to turn around.

As additional point: For us it was more easy to first move (furniture by truck, people by plane) and let the rabbits stay by friends in this time. Later we took them and our car to our new home.

And something important in general: rabbits react with health changes when stressed. So stress makes them literally ill. You can help them with immune-supporting treatment some days before and after the stress (ie moving). (For us alfavet RodiCare Immun worked very well, dropped into a small amount of mash each evening, 4 days before and 4 days after moving)

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  • Thank you for your answer, I've been thinking about this more over the past few days and decided fostering is a better option.
    – The Hagen
    Aug 19 at 13:31
  • Only for my interest: What does fostering means in this case? Do you want to foster a rabbit from a shelter for the period before the movement, or do you speak about searching the rabbit a new home before moving? :) Aug 20 at 13:13
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    Oh I meant fostering rabbits from a shelter temporarily before they are adopted
    – The Hagen
    Aug 23 at 16:21

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