Moving house is a busy and emotional time for everyone. It involves planning and organisation to ensure everything goes smoothly and the same goes for moving with your rabbit. Plan ahead for your move with your bunny and help him settle into his new home easily. We have some tips to help your move go with success.
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Finding a Local Vet
Finding a new Vet is important, you want someone nearby as too much travelling can stress rabbits a lot. You also want to make sure they are experienced with rabbits and use to handling them. A good place to start looking for a rabbit friendly Vet can be the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF), which shows Vet practices that have applied and been graded, they may have an interest in rabbits or even be specialists. VetHelpDirect’s Find a Local Vet tool has a similar search function.
Other ways to find a local Vet can be by asking friends in the local area. Or do some research online looking at practice websites and contacting them to see if they are able to see your rabbit and then registering with a suitable one.
Your new garden must be secure enough for your bunny to hop around and not be able to escape. Firstly remove any plants that are toxic or dangerous to them. If you are unsure what a plant is then it may be safer to remove it. You can replace plants with rabbit safe alternatives such as camomile and lavender. But remember lots of garden weeds are safe for rabbits such as dandelions and clover.
Making your garden escape proof can be done with fencing and suitable wire but make sure it is buried underneath slightly to ensure your rabbit doesn’t try to dig his way out. Consider the height you need to prevent them escaping over the top also. You also need to consider preventing predators from getting to your rabbit, you could use netting over the top of the run to prevent this. It is also possible to buy pre-made rabbit outdoor enclosures, but do check they are suitable.
Moving is an anxious time and controlling stress is vitally important. If your bunny gets stressed they can easily go off their food, become unwell and quickly develop gut or other issues. There are a number of ways to reduce stress levels in your bunny. Firstly continue your calm minimal handling, make sure you are quiet around him and make sure the new enclosure is large enough. Good hiding places are important in the enclosure to allow your rabbit to hide away if anxious and to also provide shelter from the weather. Make sure the temperature during the move is cool. But also that your new area has a shaded section, as well as one that is sheltered from bad weather. Give toys for enrichment and an appropriate suitable diet. Using calming sprays can also be helpful when actually travelling or adjusting to the new environment.
Actually travelling your rabbit to your new home needs to be considered. Ideally a suitable pet carrier with ventilation should be used, place some of your rabbits own hay and feed in there to ensure it is familiar and do not place the carrier in sunlight. It is important to make sure your bunny gets good airflow during the journey. If it is a long journey take regular stops to check your bunny is OK and is eating, drinking and going to the toilet. A natural calming spray designed for use in bunnies can be used to spray the environment before travelling to try to make the transition less stressful.
For more help and advice please contact your Veterinary practice who will be able to chat to you further. Remember moving is a stressful time for everyone involved and finding ways to reduce those stress levels will help your bunny.