Posted: April 1, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: On car trips or if my bunny is anxious, I lay her on her back like a baby and rock her. She almost seems to go to sleep and her breathing slows down. This isn’t because she can’t breathe or anything is it? Do you think it’s OK to lay her on her back?
A: When you lay a rabbit in your arms like a baby it does relax them and almost seems like they go into a trance. Some rabbits will lay like that for along time, you may even see them tooth purr (vibrate their teeth together). But, you must be very careful when doing this. If a rabbit does not feel safe it can kick hard with its back legs and struggle to be put down, sometimes causing itself or you an injury or even breaking its back. Rabbits can also jump out of the position when you are not expecting it, so be very careful that your rabbit is in a safe place when holding her like this. Perhaps sitting close to the floor or on a couch.
I wouldn't suggest laying her on her back during car trips. It is safer for a rabbit to travel in a carrier. When purchasing a carrier for your rabbit make sure you get one that is made of hard plastic. The carrier should have a top opening or a large front opening so you can easily lift your rabbit in and out without a struggle. Put a nice thick towel in the bottom of the carrier so she won’t slide around. Make sure you put a seat belt around the carrier in the car so your rabbit it as safe as can be.