Bringing your pet bunny
overseas from Singapore might seem like a daunting task
at first. However, if you plan and organize your travel
with attention to detail, the trip can be completed
comfortably and safely.
I recently relocated to Paris with my 6-year old adopted
rabbit - Beta. This article offers some practical advice
and suggestions if you too are planning on a trip with
First, check the regulations of the country
you will be moving to. Most countries in Europe and
North America are very animal friendly. But then there
are also countries, such as Australia, that are at the
other extreme and where you should be prepared to face
big challenges like compulsory quarantine, etc. You
should search the Internet and contact the country’s
embassy to obtain all requirements and forms for moving
Next, plan your travel dates. If you have never travelled
with your rabbit before, start planning at least 2 months
ahead of time.
Start by searching which airlines fly to your destination.
You should try to choose the shortest, most direct flights.
When it comes to travelling with your pet, airlines
have different rules. Some airlines, such as Singapore
Airlines, will only allow pets to be transported in
the pressurised cargo hold. However, I strongly recommend
that you look for an airline that allows your rabbit
to fly in the cabin with you. Air France, Lufthansa,
and a few other airlines allow you to carry small pets
in the cabin.
Check, and recheck, and check again, at different times
before your trip, consulting both booking agents and
airline reservation supervisors about your travel arrangements
with your pet. Even animal-friendly airlines only allow
a limited number of pets per flight. So reserve a place
Depending on the local regulations, you will need to
see your vet and obtain a health certificate a few days
prior to departure. I suggest that you see your vet
at least a month before travel and then again a few
days before you leave. It is important to diagnose and
cure any potential health issues before you leave.
Finally, you will also need to apply for an export permit
from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of
Singapore. This is a relatively straight-forward procedure
and I could do it all by mail.
As the travel day approaches
Get your rabbit accustomed to the carrier (get the maximum
size allowed by your airline). Take your rabbit for
walks or car rides in his carrier for increasing lengths
of time. Even make lots of aircraft sounds if you can!
Put into your carry-on bag everything you might possibly
need on the trip. Organise everything in layers, considering
what you will need when. Don't forget that your checked
luggage might not arrive with you, so be ready for that
too. Carry anything that your rabbit is familiar with,
so you have the use of it as soon as you arrive. Carry
your rabbit's health certificate with your papers so
you have it readily available if needed.
You should also have the contact information of a few
rabbit-savvy vets at your destination. Beta travelled
great but then developed a tooth infection after about
10days. Luckily, I found an expert English-speaking
vet in Paris to pull out his bad tooth. You should always
be prepared for the unexpected.
The travel day
If the flight is full, you will be asked to
put the rabbit’s carrier under the seat in front
of you. So try to get a quite seat with lots of legroom.
If you are flying economy, I suggest you request for
a bassinet seat at the front. Adjust the temperature
carefully for the rabbit during the flight, covering
the carrier with a blanket if necessary.
You'll find that a lot of people smile at you and your
rabbit, some ask questions, and others ignore you (or
try to). You can lay a towel over the carrier to prevent
the rabbit from being scared.
You are not supposed to remove your rabbit from the
carrier during flight. Airlines’ biggest fear
is that the rabbit will get loose. Also, try not to
inconvenience other passengers or dirty the aircraft.
We risk losing our rabbits' cabin privilege, on the
few airlines that grant it now, if we make it unpleasant
for other passengers.
Every 2-3 hours, visit the toilet with the rabbit’s
carrier. Take him or her out and replace the soiled
towel and bedding with a new towel and fresh litter.
It doesn’t take much time and your rabbits will
arrive clean and dry.
Your rabbit might not feel like eating or drinking during
the trip, but this can result in dehydration or other
serious complications. Rabbits vary a lot in this respect
because Beta was munching away throughout the flight.
Remember to take a plastic container of his favourite
cut greens and fruits to keep him hydrated. Also provide
hay and pellets. Hold these things to his mouth if he
doesn’t eat. Finally, ask your vet if you should
carry any medication in case your bunny refuses to eat
for an extended period.
Some countries do not allow foreign agricultural produce.
So you may have to throw away all your remaining hay
and veggies before clearing immigration. If this is
the case, ask the friend waiting for you outside the
airport to bring some fresh hay.
Bringing your bunny into Singapore
Bringing your personal pet rabbit into Singapore
is relatively hassle-free. You will need to apply for
an import permit from the AVA prior to your arrival.
The relevant information and forms can be found at AVA’s
Upon your arrival, your pet will go through a veterinary
examination at the airport. As the regulations currently
stand, rabbits brought in as personal pets only require
14 days of home quarantine. So your bunny remains with
you all the time.
From my experience, if you plan properly, rabbits
travel remarkably well. Pets are for life and if you
are relocating the rest of your family, there's no need
to leave your pet bunny behind unless he or she is particularly
References and useful links
Quotes from the article “Tips on Air
Travel with Rabbits” by Jennie Langdon
Animal Yellow Pages: Travelling with your pet
Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore