Pet rabbits are becoming more and more popular. However, taking care of a rabbit is different from taking care of a cat or dog. They need extra care and have different costs.
When you adopt a new pet, you must have the finances to take care of them. Rabbits can be a bit more expensive than you may think. They need an enclosure, as well as lots of other equipment. Adopting a bunny can cost between $50 – $100 with annual expenses ranging from $300 – $800.
This article will help you plan out the expenses of owning a rabbit. Preferably, you should have all the money needed set aside before adopting your new bunny.
Bringing Home a New Rabbit: One-Time Costs
When you first decide to bring a bunny home, you’ll be spending money on the rabbit and its long-term care needs. Your new pet will need things like an enclosure, food bowls, and other one-time purchases. These can vary depending on what you buy, but they will likely be substantial either way.
Below are some of the short-term costs you’ll need to consider when you first bring your rabbit home.
Sometimes, you will find rabbits for free. These rabbits are typically from owners who did not spay or neuter their pet and ended up with an accidental pregnancy.
By adopting a free rabbit, you would provide home and care to an animal who needs it. You should take the opportunity to investigate the living conditions and the diet the parent rabbits are receiving. If you know the owners can improve their rabbits’ quality of life, you can provide friendly suggestions. Have them consider desexing or at least separating males from females if they do not wish to breed their rabbits.
Some animal shelters also keep rabbits, so you may be able to find one incredibly cheap from these locations. Usually, these rabbits were surrendered by owners who were unable to care for them anymore. Generally speaking, stray rabbits aren’t a thing. If a rabbit gets out, it will usually not be caught by someone and brought to a shelter.
These rabbits are usually older and may have preexisting conditions. However, they are a bit cheaper than getting a rabbit from a breeder in most cases.
If you purchase a rabbit from a breeder, the price can vary quite a bit. Common breeds of rabbits usually cost around $50 or lower. Rare rabbit breeds may cost as much as $100.
Because rabbits breed quickly, they are generally not as expensive as some other animals. For example, most dogs only breed once a year, while rabbits can have multiple litters. There are more rabbits to go around, so they tend to be cheaper than other animals.
Show rabbits and those from champion lines may cost more. However, they usually do not cost more than a few hundred dollars.
|American Rabbit:||$20 – $50|
|Dutch Rabbit:||$20 – $40|
|Flemish Giant Rabbit:||$50 – $100|
|Harlequin Rabbit:||$50 – $100|
Bunny costs don’t stop after you have brought your new furry friend home.
The enclosure you keep your rabbit in is important. There is a lot of controversy regarding the bottom of these enclosures. Wire bottom cages have an advantage from a sanitary viewpoint since the rabbit’s biological waste drains out. They are easier to clean and prevent rabbits from having long contact with their waste. However, some kinds of wire bottom cages can cause sore feet in rabbits. A good option is to invest in thick, PVC-coated wire and to always provide a section of alternative flooring for your rabbit inside the cage. This automatically makes these enclosures more expensive than what you may purchase for other small animals, but it will save you a headache and keep your rabbits healthy.
You will also need a decently large hutch. Typically, you can expect to spend about $150 – $200. Yes, this means the enclosure will likely cost more than the actual rabbit.
Indoor hutches are usually less expensive. However, you should still expect to spend at least $100.
In many cases, you can save money by building your hutch. This is much easier than it sounds. You can find many guides online. In this case, the only cost you have to consider is the cost of supplies, which will vary depending on your location and which tutorial you’re following.
You will also need to purchase things for the enclosure, like a water bowl and hay rack. These are typically very inexpensive. You can buy both food and water bowls for less than $10.
There are a few other expenses you may want to consider. For example, you’ll need to factor in bedding and chew toys. You’ll probably buy a few things for your rabbit that isn’t completely necessary (like an outdoor playpen), so plan on saving more money than you think you need.
List of Rabbit Care Supplies and Cost
After your rabbit’s startup cost, you can also expect to spend a decent amount on food and other supplies each year. You will need to consider health care and grooming as well. Individual rabbits require more grooming than others, typically depending on their coat length.
Rabbits are usually pretty cheap when it comes to health care as long as they are adequately cared for. Rabbits can quickly get sick or develop injuries from improper care – they are not particularly robust animals and can be very sensitive. However, a rabbit that is cared for properly usually stays pretty healthy and will not need much vet care.
Your rabbit will need a checkup every year. This is important particularly for your pet’s feet and teeth, which are the leading cause of chronic health problems. Their feet need to be in tip-top shape and are easily injured, so they need to be checked by a vet. Furthermore, their teeth may need to be shaved down, which can be done at this appointment.
To this day, there are no licensed rabbit vaccines available in the USA. In other countries such as the UK, European Union, Australia, and New Zealand, vaccinations exist to protect against Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (RVHD). These are both acute and fatal diseases. Cases are uncommon in the USA, but if there is an outbreak, the vaccine will need to be specially imported with the permission of a state veterinarian, which could potentially increase the cost. Having some money set aside for this purpose is important.
Rabbits have teeth that continuously grow and therefore need to be trimmed. Tooth trimming can be prevented by providing enough hay, as the constant chewing helps rabbits wear down their teeth. However, some rabbits do not have a straight occlusion and will still need regular trimming. Some pet groomers can trim your rabbit’s teeth, though they usually use clippers. With this method, the tooth could crack longitudinally and create a channel that harbors bacteria, increasing the risk of infections.
A better method is to use a Dremel. Many vets will do it. However, they usually charge far more than a groomer, so this can get expensive very fast. Normally, they use electrical tools or files to trim the teeth. The cheapest option is prevention, but if you have a rabbit with malocclusion that needs regular trimmings, you might want to consider learning how to trim their rabbit teeth.
Treatments for Parasites
Rabbits can get parasites just like every other animal. Parasites can be very expensive to get rid of in some cases. However, in most cases, a simple prescription medication may be able to handle this issue. You can expect the cost to be at the lower end of this range unless there are complications from the parasites that require more treatment.
While we would prefer for our rabbits never to get sick, they will. Emergencies can cost thousands of dollars at a time. It is preferable to have an emergency fund set aside for these situations, as most people don’t have thousands of dollars laying around for these sorts of things. Emergency vet consultations are often more expensive than regular visits as well.
Medication for On-Going Conditions
Rabbits aren’t particularly prone to any ongoing problems. However, it is possible. Depending on the specific health problem, this can cost you over $500 a year. Rabbits with multiple conditions will need to double that number.
The cost of insuring a rabbit can be expensive. There are not many options out there, so you can’t do very much shopping around. You may be stuck with a higher price simply because that is the only option in your area. Either way, you can expect to pay at least $20 a month for a very basic plan.
Another significant expense is food. This is a reoccurring expense, of course. Rabbits need both hay and veggies. Your cost will depend on what you pick for both of these categories. There are expensive veggies and inexpensive veggies, for example. In general, you can expect that it will cost about $40 per month.
Rabbits are smaller animals, so they don’t eat that much.
You also have to consider the environment your rabbit is in. They need bedding and litter. You may also have to repair their furniture damage, as they like to chew quite a bit. Some rabbits cause more destruction than others, so it just depends. Of course, supervision also plays a role in how much your rabbit gets to chew on your chair legs.
Entertaining rabbits doesn’t cost much. Most of their entertainment will come from food. They love all sorts of veggies and exciting things to eat. However, this will come from your regular food budget – not an extra entertainment budget.
You may decide to purchase a few toys, but this likely will not be very expensive in the least. You may end up spending nothing at all in this category.
Total Annual Cost of Owning a Rabbit
Once all the costs are tallied, a rabbit costs about $600 upon adoption, not including any medical emergency fund or outbreak emergency vaccination savings. After that first month, things will be substantially cheaper.
You’ll need to spend about $300 – $800 a year on average. Most of the cost will depend on how much medical care your rabbit needs and whether you’ll need to include any furniture repairs.
You will also need to factor in regular veterinary care. Again, you should have an emergency fund. A regular vet visit should also be factored into your budget.
Owning a Rabbit on a Budget
While rabbits are small pets, they can be quite expensive. They need specific care that you can’t get around like teeth trimming and grooming. These things can be expensive, and you really can’t skimp on them – even if you’re trying to stay on a budget.
However, there are some things you can cut costs on. For example, you can build your own hatch, which will substantially lower your startup costs.
Saving Money on Rabbit Care
The easiest way to save money on rabbit care is to shop the deals when feeding your rabbit. Buy hay in bulk to save some money overall and choose veggies on sale for that week. You can also shop for deals on toys, food bowls, and similar supplies.
The cheapest option is prevention, but if you have a rabbit with malocclusion that needs regular trimmings, you might want to consider learning how to trim their rabbit teeth.
Rabbit ownership consists of some initial investment and regular maintenance costs. However, there are great ways of saving money with your rabbits. Making sure that they have a proper cage will help prevent pododermatitis. Most cases of tooth issues are easily prevented by providing a constant supply of hay and vegetables for them to chew on.
Some bunnies will also cost more than others. For example, rabbits with long fur have higher grooming needs and might be more expensive. Even if you purchase a low-maintenance bunny, you will need to consider their basic costs and have some savings for medical care. Generally, you should plan for the more expensive options we listed so that you’re pleasantly surprised when your rabbit costs less – not scrambling for money when an emergency pops up. The most important takeaway from this article is that bunnies, just like any other pet, will need your time, attention, and money. Rabbit ownership represents a cost that you must be prepared to cover month after month. However, those bunny cuddles are worth it!
Here are some fun project ideas:
- How to Make a Rabbit Room (Tricks, Tips and DIY Ideas)
- 20 DIY Rabbit Hutch Plans You Can Build Today (With Pictures)
Featured Image Credit: Vezzani Photography, Shutterstock