As the proud owner of two house rabbits, finding someone to take care of my bunnies when I go on vacation is vital. I’ve recently chosen to have someone come into my home three times a day and take care of my house rabbits while I’m gone but, in the past, I’ve also looked at rabbit boarding.
Choosing the best rabbit boarding for your bunny’s vacation isn’t always easy. That’s because there are certain things every rabbit boarding facility should offer, and not all of them do. If you’re not sure what to look for or ask when you’re choosing the best rabbit boarding for your bunny, here are a few tips that should help.
The cage size – The first thing you should look for at any boarding facility is the size of the cages or pens they use. After all, if your bunny is used to having an eight foot pen and a four foot cage, you don’t want to send her to a rabbit boarding facility that will cram her in a two foot cage for the entire length of your vacation. Not only will she be incredibly miserable, there’s a decent chance she could die from the stress of being cramped up alone.
Does the boarding facility have rabbit experience? – Some boarding facilities offer general boarding for many kinds of domestic pets, but may not have much experience with rabbits. As moving a pet house rabbit to a boarding facility can be incredibly stressful and even put her off her food, you need to leave your bunny with a facility that is used to dealing with rabbits.
Rabbits can get sick and die within 24-48 hours just from stress, or from not eating because of stress. Anywhere you leave her needs to be experienced in recognizing the signs of a bunny in distress, and needs to know when to take her to a vet.
Will your bunny get enough exercise? – While some places will tell you they let rabbits out of their cage every day for exercise, what exactly does that mean? Is it just five minutes while they clean the cage, or will your rabbit be put in a pen and allowed to exercise for several hours at a time.?
One facility i looked at a couple of years ago had a very large pen in an air conditioned room. The pen was divided into various sub-pens, so that five or six rabbits could be in there exercising at one time but would still be physically separated from the others even though they could see them. This was the facility I would have taken my rabbits to, if I had decided to go that route, as they obviously cared about the well-being of the pets in their care.
Is it a stress-free environment? – Some boarding places are quite loud, with dogs barking, cats mewing and people in and out all day. If your rabbit is used to a quiet home life, you don’t want to leave her at one of these or she could go into shock.
Instead look for a rabbit boarding facility that understands how stressful being in a new place can be. Like this one in Ireland. They even play classical music for their boarding buns.
Can you take your own rabbit food? – Some rabbit facilities will only feed the rabbits boarding with them the food they feed every other rabbit. If your rabbit likes a particular type of pellet or a brand of timothy hay, make sure you can take those with you. Moving to a boarding facility is stressful for any rabbit, but at least he won’t be even more upset when he’s expected to eat food he’s not familiar with.
Do they have a good relationship with a nearby vet? – Rabbits can get sick at the drop of a hat, so you want to make sure the rabbit boarding facility you leave yours at has a good working relationship with a nearby vet. Ask them who they use and if there is a 24-hour emergency service available. Don’t leave your rabbit with a place that doesn’t.
There are some excellent rabbit boarding facilities out there that your house bunny will probably be as happy as a clam staying at. Just make sure they offer large cages or pens, lots of exercise time, a relaxing environment and are experienced with rabbit care.
Add in access to a good vet and, if you can find one that offers all these things, you’re well on your way to having a good home-away-from-home for your precious bunny.