Disaster Preparedness for Rabbit Families
by Judith Pierce
05:48 PM, Monday, May 14
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Living in southern California we don’t often think of dealing with disasters but we have our own versions; fire in the fall months and flooding in the spring. No matter the source or type of crisis situation, you need to have a plan for evacuating your pets – including your rabbit companions.

Be prepared. Make a plan. Make a backup plan in case you aren’t home so a friend or neighbor can help with your animals. If you evacuate, do not leave your rabbits behind! Don’t worry about them being overly stressed by the move; it doesn’t matter. This is a matter of life and death and evacuating them to safety is a must.

Keep these tips in mind and prepare your fire evacuation plan now:

  • Purchase a carrier for every rabbit or bunny pair. The best is the hard-sided plastic carrier that will be sturdy enough to contain them for some time if needed. If you do not have a carrier use these alternatives: laundry basket with a towel in the bottom, empty box, a gym bag or backpack, plastic storage tote or as a last resort, a pillowcase from your bed. Whatever it takes - get your rabbits out of the house.
  • At the first hint of problems in your area, assemble your rabbit’s carrier and have it near your rabbit’s living area. All you do is load the bunny, grab and go.
  • Keep frozen water bottles on hand to tuck into your bunny’s carrier to keep him cool if needed. Extras can go into a cooler with a small supply of veggies.
  • Keep extra pellets in the freezer and gallon bottles of water in your car. This is the minimum you need to feed your bun while evacuated.
  • Make plans ahead of time with friends or family to evacuate to their home. Work out an alternative in case you can’t get through to the first location. Discuss in advance, bringing along your rabbit companions and how you will house them.
  • If you don’t have a place you can go, check out evacuation centers; schools, sports stadiums, fair grounds, etc. will commonly house evacuees and their pets. In times of crisis, many hotels will relax their ‘no pets’ policy.
  • Once evacuated:
  • Use these options to temporarily house your rabbit:
  • Place a large towel on the floor of the tub; add bunny’s litter box and a plastic bowl for water. Pull the curtain or slide the glass door closed. To keep air flowing, turn on the overhead vent.
  • Put bunny and her litter box on the floor of the shower stall.
  • Take bunny’s x-pen and set up in kitchen or other area just out of traffic. You can double over pen walls to use less room.

If you find yourself in trouble during an evacuation, try contacting San Diego House Rabbit Society at hrs@sandiegorabbits.org or telephone 858-356-4286. We will know where to evacuate, vet hospitals offering free boarding, sources of food or supplies, and volunteers willing to take in rabbits on a temporary basis. If you lose your home, many shelters and humane societies have programs to house your pet for a period of time to allow you to get settled.

Plan ahead and be safe!

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