Long-distance travel is foreign to rabbits, so keeping bunnies comfortable in an airplane or car is a challenge. A good pet carrier for rabbits will hold a bunny securely, prevent it from overheating, and help it to feel like it’s snuggled into a safe burrow during travel.
I’ve kept rabbits for over 20 years. As a kid, I used to travel across the country with my rabbits to attend shows with them. I am currently only keeping a couple of bunnies as pets, but the miles I’ve put on the road with bunnies have left me with strong opinions about what makes a suitable rabbit carrier.
What Makes a Good Rabbit Travel Carrier?
All rabbit travel carriers should be
- Easy to clean
- Not too big or too small
- Have nonslip flooring
There are a lot of pros and cons to weigh when choosing a pet carrier for rabbits. For example, hard plastic carriers are better in most situations, because rabbits can’t chew through them as quickly as they can through mesh carriers. But in crash tests done by the Center for Pet Safety, soft-sided carriers performed better; pets broke right through the sides of hard plastic carriers!
So, since there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, let’s take a detailed look at some of the best rabbit carriers available in 2023.
Mr Peanut’s Rhodium Series Airline Capable Soft Pet Carrier — Best Overall
|Nylon with self-locking zippers
|19″L x 11″W x 11″H
|Car or airline transport for all bunny breeds.
With high-quality materials used throughout, the designers of the Mr Peanut’s brand pet carriers have left nothing to chance – down to the super-secure zippers.
The Rhodium Series carrier is built of soft but structured nylon that would take a rabbit a long time to chew through. Its soft sides make it safe in a crash situation, but the solid plywood bottom means it’s sturdy enough to carry even giant rabbits.
The removable interior bed is soft and easily washable – so there are very few drawbacks to this carrier.
What We Like
- Self-locking zippers that can’t be opened from the inside.
- Strong nylon material with sturdy straps.
- Washable removable interior bed.
- Solid plywood base to give rabbits sturdy footing.
What We Don’t Like
- Dark-colored mesh could cause a bunny to overheat if riding in direct sunlight.
- No good place to attach a water bottle or dish.
- Opens from the top only, so the rabbit cannot enter on its own.
A4Pet Kitten Carrier, Airline Approved for Small Pets, Soft-Sided — Best Cheap Carrier for Rabbits
|Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
|Small (15.7″L x 9″W x 10.6″H) or Medium (16.9″L x 10.2″W x 11″H)
|Airline travel or short trips with small to medium-sized rabbits.
Besides the affordable price, the compact design of this carrier makes it a favorite. Airlines aren’t likely to give you any trouble about this carrier if your rabbit is riding in the cabin with you, since it can easily slip under the seat compartment.
The small size can carry rabbits up to 8 pounds comfortably and the medium size works for rabbits up to 13 pounds.
Although the carrier itself is lightweight, it’s sturdy enough to hold rabbits even heavier than 13 pounds – but probably not long enough for them to stretch out comfortably.
When your bunny isn’t using the carrier, you can easily fold this travel bag and slip it into your backpack!
What We Like
- Washable removable non-slip bed.
- Vinyl material washes easily.
- Semi-solid sides help bunnies to feel safe inside.
- Compact, stylish design.
- Folds up for space-saving storage.
- Inexpensive compared to other models.
What We Don’t Like
- Ventilation could be better.
- Side-opening door only; no door in the top.
- Not long enough for large rabbits to lie down.
Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed, Sky Blue, Medium — Safest Rabbit Carrier for Car Rides
|Nylon and polyester
|17″L x 17″W x 13″Th
|Moderate to short road trips or airline travel.
Travel safety devices for humans like car seats and seatbelts go through intense testing to make sure they do their job. But did you know that pet safety devices don’t have to be tested at all!? In fact, in crash tests, many pet carriers and seat belt harnesses did more harm to pets than good!
The Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed is an exception. Sleepypod carriers cost more than any others on this list – because, unlike any others, they’re developed through a rigorous crash testing program.
The Sleepypod carrier can be buckled into a car without risk of the seatbelt crushing its passenger. This pet travel bag is stylish, easy to carry, and made of washable nylon.
What We Like
- The only carrier certified by the Center for Pet Safety for road travel.
- Airline compliant so you can take it on a plane.
- Washable bedding.
- Comfortable carrying straps.
- Several fun colors.
What We Don’t Like
- Relatively poor ventilation; risk of overheating is higher in this carrier.
- Not suitable for overnight housing.
- Rabbits cannot hop into it by themselves.
Petmate Two-Door Small Kennel — Best Hard Plastic Carrier
|19.4″L x 12.8″W x 10″H
|Overnight housing, car trips
Hard plastic carriers like the Petmate Two-Door Small Kennel have long been the standard in pet transport cages. While it’s true that they don’t perform as well in crash tests as fabric carriers, they are much more practical (and perhaps more comfortable) for rabbits in everyday situations.
The Petmate Two-Door Small Kennel is my favorite hard plastic carrier because it has both top and side opening doors. The top-opening door is great for reaching in to pick up your rabbit, but the side-opening door allows your bunny to enter and exit its cage at will.
You can attach a water bottle to the wire cage door while the plastic sides help your rabbit feel like it’s hiding in a safe tunnel. You can put a towel in this cage for secure footing, or purchase a separate pet bed insert.
What We Like
- Rabbits can’t chew through a hard plastic carrier, so they can stay in it overnight if necessary.
- You can attach a water bottle to the wire door.
- Door swings open rather than pops off like in some models.
- Easier to clean than fabric carriers.
What We Don’t Like
- Arguably less safe in an accident than fabric carriers.
- Takes more storage space when not in use than soft carriers.
Petmate Sky Kennel Pet Carrier, 28 Inch — Best Hard Carrier for Giant Rabbits
|Plastic and coated steel wire
|28″L x 20.5″W x 21.5″H
|Giant rabbits, overnight housing for most breeds
If you’ve decided a hard carrier is the way to go for your giant rabbit, then the Petmate Sky Kennel is one of your few good options. Flemish giant rabbits measure at least 20” from nose to tail, and they’re even longer if they lie down – so you really do need a carrier this large. It’s also a great option for a makeshift cage if you need to house a rabbit (or two) of any breed overnight.
It has a coated steel door with a heavy-duty lock, ventilation on four sides, and a built-in nonslip floor. Unlike cheaper models, such as the Amazon basics carrier, the Petmate Sky Kennel won’t flex under the weight of a 20+ pound rabbit. It’s also designed to meet airline cargo regulations.
Remember, even though a rabbit can live in this carrier overnight, you should never keep a rabbit in a parked car! Bunnies can overheat quickly in a parked car, even if the air temperature outside the vehicle is chilly. Bring your rabbit inside with you overnight.
What We Like
- Large enough for one giant rabbit or multiple smaller bunnies.
- Reinforced plastic assembled with sturdy steel wingnuts.
- Meets airline cargo requirements.
- Good to fair ventilation.
What We Don’t Like
- Needs litter or bed insert on the floor.
- Doesn’t have a top-opening door.
- Expensive carrier, but worth the price.
- Large and heavy to store.
Pet Rabbit Travel Carrier Buying Guide
What features do you need in a rabbit travel carrier? Safety and convenience are, of course, key considerations – but what does that mean for rabbits? Here are some details you’ll want to consider.
Rabbits overheat so much faster than you think they will because their coats are warmer than sheep’s wool! This is true of short-haired rabbits as well as long-haired angoras.
Rabbit carriers need to be kept out of direct sunlight, even in a moving vehicle with the air conditioning running. The carrier must also have ventilation on 3-5 sides for air flow.
Safety & Security
A good rabbit carrier not only protects the rabbit from outside threats, but from the destruction a bunny can cause! Rabbits can chew through fabric mesh faster than you can say “bye-bye” to a gnawed and ruined carrier. However, most rabbits don’t nibble anything as long as they’re in a moving vehicle, so fabric carriers work better than you’d expect.
The trick is to not let a rabbit sit in a fabric carrier for very long before you leave for your destination, or once you get there. Throwing a handful of hay in the carrier can distract your bunny as well.
Of course, if you choose to get a hard-sided carrier, you won’t have to worry about a chewed hole and an escaping rabbit. But, as I mentioned earlier, hard-sided carriers aren’t as safe in a crash as fabric carriers, especially if they are positioned wrong in the car.
Accessibility & Ease of Cleaning
Digging a terrified bunny out from the back of a hard-sided carrier isn’t a fun job. (It’s better to leave a door in the side open and let a bunny hop out by itself once it calms down.) But if you need the rabbit out immediately, having a top-opening door is helpful.
Having both a side and a top-opening door also makes it easier to reach every corner for cleaning. Hard plastic carriers can be cleaned with soap and water, and most soft fabric carriers have inserts that can go in the washing machine.
How big should a rabbit carrier be? Bunnies are most comfortable traveling if they lie down in the car, so the carrier should be just a little bit longer than your bunny when it’s flopped over.
Avoid a carrier too large, or your rabbit may slide across it when you come to a stop.
What type of carrier is best for rabbits?
You can find rabbit carriers made of fabric, hard plastic, all wire and metal, and even cardboard. Obviously, cardboard is unsuitable for even short trips, since bunnies can chew through it so quickly. Wire carriers are used by show rabbit breeders, but most pet owners consider them uncomfortable or even unsafe for their bunnies. This leaves you with the choice between a soft plastic travel bag and a hard plastic carrier.
Is a hard or soft carrier better for rabbits?
I have both a hard and a soft carrier for my rabbits, and I use them both depending on the situation.
For short trips, I like soft fabric carriers better. They help a rabbit feel snug and secure. Bunnies aren’t likely to chew through them on short trips (up to two hours) or likely to go to the bathroom in them.
But for long trips, I choose a hard plastic carrier, because it’s more like my bunny’s regular habitat. A spacious hard carrier gives the rabbit more room to move around and can support a water bottle. Should the bunny go to the bathroom, it’s quick to wipe out or change the bedding in this carrier – whereas soft fabric carriers often need to go in the washing machine to be cleaned. (For bedding in a hard-sided carrier, you can either use an old towel, a fabric insert or pet bed, or paper litter.)
Are backpack carriers good for rabbits?
Backpack pet carriers look adorable, but I don’t recommend them for rabbits. Bunnies hate being lifted off the ground; to them, this feels like they are being carried away by a predator. Your rabbit will feel safer if you pick up its carrier and hold it securely, rather than make it bounce along on your back.
Sling carriers, where the pet’s head sticks out of the carrier, are very dangerous for rabbits. Bunnies can chew through the drawstring that holds them closed in literally two seconds flat. And rabbits have no fear of heights. They may be so afraid of riding in the sling that they’ll try to leap out of the carrier onto the ground and injure themselves.
Can you put a rabbit in a pet carrier in the car? What’s the safest way for rabbits to travel?
You can put a rabbit in a pet carrier in the car, but you should follow the Center for Pet Safety’s instructions on how to position the carrier safely. Their recommendations are based on safety tests performed by German company ADAC.
ADAC found that the safest place for a pet carrier is on the floor behind the front seats. The door of the carrier should face the door of the car itself, so the side of the carrier is facing the forward motion of the vehicle. In this position, the pet was less likely to be crushed or break through the side or door of the carrier than if it was placed in the trunk or boot or on top of a rear seat.
Traveling with bunnies is a challenge, but a great pet carrier for rabbits does wonders for your peace of mind. The Mr Peanut’s line of pet carriers were clearly designed by people who understand a pet’s needs. Since they are soft but have a wire structure, the Mr. Peanut’s line of carriers bridges the gap well between a fabric travel bag and a hard plastic carrier. They are roomy, safe, easy-to-wash, and constructed of the highest quality materials. (In other words, totally worth the price!)
In this article, we touched on a few aspects of traveling safely with your bunny. But check out our complete Rabbit Travel Guide – it’s chock-full of ideas for making your journey with your bunny as stress-free as possible. Have a wonderful trip!