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April 15, 2008 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Will a bunny survive a 5 hour airplane trip?

We will be travelling 5 hours direct to where we live be living, and we want to bring our bunny rabbit. He's calm and reserved, about 2.5-3 years old, named Dave Grohl, and we don't want him to be too scared by the flight.

He won't be flying in cargo, he'll he under our seat the entire time. Treats and hand nibbles will be available in ample amounts.
posted by travosaurus to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your vet will be able to prescribe sedatives so that the poor little guy doesn't freak or give himself a fit. I've had vets even give me the prescription over the phone for my cats in the past.
posted by Gucky at 2:37 PM on April 15, 2008

He'll be fine, no worries. Just make sure he has a clean bill of health beforehand (ear infections would be just as crappy for him as it is for you), but he'll be fine.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 2:42 PM on April 15, 2008

is it a dwarf? a bigger breed?

cats easily take longer flights (in the cabin), I suppose the larger rabbits aren't much different than cats (dwarves, I don't know, they also seem to be more easily scared). keep in mind that the whole "sedate your pet on the plane" debate has more than a few vets who are quite clearly against it, so your proverbial mileage (airline mileage, obviously) may vary. have a nice trip and say hi to the lagomorph from me.
posted by matteo at 2:42 PM on April 15, 2008

I'm watching this thread closely because I've been wondering the same thing with my rabbit. How does Dave react on long car/train trips? I've taken my dwarf rabbit (The Senator) on train trips of about 3.5 hours door to door, and he hates them. He shakes, refuses food, and takes a while to settle in to new places and eat (and poop) again.

If Dave is a more tolerant bunny-guy than mine, you might have a shot. I'd experiment with taking him on a long car trip in the carrier you would use to see how he reacts.
posted by rmless at 2:47 PM on April 15, 2008

He should be fine, although he will be scared and you should expect an extra gross carrier. If you can, bring a small blanket - one that smells of home - that you can toss over the carrier to keep things dark, quiet, and less airplane-smelly. It will help keep him calm.

I see you're going Canada-->Canada, not crossing the border, so I don't know what airplane security will be like. Hopefully not as crazy as in the U.S., where if you have anything other than a cat, the desk people spend a terrifying five minutes acting like they've lost the pets' tickets even though you bought it months in advance and the TSA people freak their shit out. (And then ask you to carry your pets through the metal detector so they can put the carrier on the belt rather than search by hand. No, lady, I am not holding a frightened, wriggly rodent in each hand in the middle of a vast open space so you can avoid touching freshly changed pet litter with your LATEX GLOVE. Somehow, I suspect that a federal security officer is trained to face greater challenges than gerbilphobia. Okay, sorry, aside over.) But DO buy your tickets as much in advance as possible, and DO show up with as much extra time at the airport as you can possibly stand. Better safe than sorry!

And now, I will refrain from demanding bunny pictures.
posted by bettafish at 2:50 PM on April 15, 2008

You may need to make a reservation for your bunny - I had to do so for my cats, when I flew them across (U.S.) country. I think it's because the airline will only allow X number of animals in the cabin, and they have to be in a carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. They may request a letter from your vet saying he's had all his shots. It may also cost money - I think it was US$75 per cat, for me.

And if possible, have the rabbit on a leash, since security may ask you to take him out of his carrier, and you don't want him to dash away in a panic. When I flew the cats from East to West in 2001 (before Sept. 11), they wanted me to take them out of the carriers - I looked up and down the long, long, l o n g corridors and said "No." We worked it out so I didn't have to remove the cats, but it was a near thing, and I bet there's not as much, um, wiggle room at security these days.

I do demand bunny pictures!
posted by rtha at 3:10 PM on April 15, 2008

Are you sure he'll fit undrer the seat? Some seats in today's world of in-flight video systems are blocked by the computer housings on the underside.
posted by arimathea at 3:17 PM on April 15, 2008

I wouldn't do it with mine, but I'm ridiculously over-protective of them. I'd be too worried about pressure changes, 5 hours in a box without respite, and the risk of them stopping eating (force-feeding isn't fun for anyone involved). Plus they're a metre long toe-to-toe, so there's no way I'd get that carrier under my seat.

On the other hand, rabbits are famed for chilling out on car journeys - one of the ways to get a pair introduced is to put them face-to-face in carriers and take 'em for a drive. So, with a sedative, it might be do-able. No idea how you're going to get a second dose into the animal while on the plane, though. Talk to a vet, that's what they're there for.
posted by Leon at 3:21 PM on April 15, 2008

Since Air Canada no longer allows pets in the cabin, I guess you're flying Westjet. One thing: even though you're allowed a carrier that is 16” L x 17.5” W x 8.5” H (40 cm x 44 cm x 21.5 cm), those Westjet seats are small-ish. I'd get a smaller carrier than this to avoid any problems, providing Mr. Grohl won't be too uncomfortable. Good luck!
posted by meerkatty at 4:02 PM on April 15, 2008

I take my rabbit [Ted Bunny] on 5 hour bus-bus-ferry-bus-bus-bus trips regularly, as well as <1>
I know this isn't the same as a commercial jet flight, but your bunners should be fine. I would go for a sedative if it were me.
posted by rhinny at 5:16 PM on April 15, 2008

Oh, and welcome [in advance] to Vancouver!
posted by rhinny at 5:16 PM on April 15, 2008

This sounds like a project for Adam Savage.
posted by billtron at 9:32 AM on April 16, 2008

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