A visit to the vets does not have to be stressful for you or your rabbits.
Here are a few helpful tips:
1. Plan Ahead
- Ideally, your rabbits should regard the carrier as part of the furniture at home, so it does not only ever appear just before a trip to the vet. If possible, keep the carrier out at all times and feed your rabbits treats inside the carrier so they have positive associations with it.
- Rabbits are very susceptible to heat stroke, so if possible try to avoid bringing them to the vets for routine appointments on very hot days, or at least try to make the appointment first thing in the morning when it is cooler.
- Let us know if your rabbits are very nervous and we will try to book you an appointment at the beginning of a clinic when the waiting room will be quieter and there is less chance you will have to wait to be seen.
2. The Carrier
- For your own and your rabbits’ safety, you should never let your rabbits travel loose in the car, and they should always be safely restrained in a secure carrier at the vet surgery.
- If you have two rabbits who are a bonded pair, they should travel together in one basket (even if only one of them needs to be seen by the vet) as this will reduce stress. However, if they are not normally kept together they should travel in separate baskets, as stress may cause aggression between them.
- The carrier should be strong, escape-proof and easy to clean. We do not recommend cardboard carriers as they can be chewed or become damp and unsafe.
- Place a blanket or towel and a small amount of used bedding in the carrier, to give it a familiar smell. Also, place some of their favourite food and some hay in the carrier as rabbits like to (and should) eat constantly! Supply some fresh water in a way in which they are familiar (bowl or bottle).
- You can spray the bedding with Pet Remedy spray, a calming valerian spray (available from us) which has been shown to help calm many nervous rabbits.
- Carriers which can be taken apart are useful for nervous rabbits, as once at the practice, they can stay in the bottom half of the carrier to be examined.
- Rabbits like to hide, cover the basket with a familiar smelling towel or blanket to make them feel more secure.
3. The Journey
- Secure the basket either in the footwell or on a seat with a seatbelt, and try to keep the basket level. Try to keep the carrier out of direct sunlight, and keep the windows open or the air conditioning on to avoid your rabbits overheating.
- You may wish to place a towel under the basket to absorb any “accidents”.
- Drive carefully and calmly, and try to avoid loud noises and music. Talk calmly and reassuringly, and stay calm yourself as rabbits pick up on our anxieties.
- Bring spare bedding for the return journey in case of any accidents.
4. At The Vets
- If you would prefer to wait with your rabbits in the car until your appointment time, just let us know at reception (but remember to avoid overheating).
- Place your rabbit’s basket on the floor rather than one of our raised areas between the seats, as rabbits feel safer when they are at ground level.
- Keep the basket covered, and facing away from other pets that may also be waiting.
- In the consulting room, don’t rush to get your rabbits out of the carrier, but instead, give them time to get used to their surroundings, and possibly even venture out of their own accord whilst you and the vet are talking.
- If your basket comes apart, you can remove the top half and leave them safely in their familiar basket and bedding for most of the consultation.
- Please ask for advice or a demonstration if you are unsure about how to administer any medication your rabbit has been prescribed.
Finally, if your rabbits become extremely distressed, please remember that we are able to offer the option of a home visit from one of our vets or nurses; please enquire at reception for further details.