Keeping a pet rabbit is typically not as expensive as other common pets (like a dog) but that doesn’t mean they are cheap. If you are considering bringing a rabbit home, it’s only natural that you would want to be prepared for all of the normal costs associated with these wonderful pets.
The total to bring a rabbit home is typically between $450 and $1250, which includes the cost of neutering your rabbit and their necessary supplies. Expect ongoing monthly costs of $145 ($1740/year) for their food, litter, and toys. To be prepared for emergencies, you should have a pet emergency fund set aside or pet insurance.
The exact price that you have to pay for your rabbit will vary depending on where you get them and what kind of supplies you buy for them. There is a lot you can do to reduce costs by using products that you already own or make yourself (such as homemade toys). You also want to give your rabbit a healthy diet and lifestyle to reduce the chances of having large emergency healthcare bills in the future.
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|RABBIT CARE SUPPLIES AND SERVICES||APPROXIMATE COST|
|• Food and Water Bowls||$20|
|• Litter Box and Scoop||$15|
|• Nail Clippers||$10|
|• Hiding House||$25|
|• Hay Bin||$15|
|• Cat Tower||$30|
|• Wire Covers||$15|
|• Plastic Mats||$35|
|• Fencing Cubes||$40|
|• Cat Scratcher Mats||$15|
|Initial Supplies Total||$305|
|Ongoing Monthly Supplies|
|• Leafy Greens||$50|
|Total Monthly Costs||$145 ($1740 annually)|
|Annual Wellness Exam||$75-200|
|Pet-Sitter or Pet-Boarding||$50+ per day|
The cost of the rabbit ($35-$200+)
The cost of your rabbit will vary significantly depending on where you get them. If you visit an animal rescue, you might be able to adopt your new bunny for a small fee. At the rescue centers I’ve volunteered with, the fees ranged from about $35-$50. It’s possible they could be slightly cheaper or more expensive in your area, but they’ll likely be in the same general range.
However, if you’re looking for a specific breed, you’ll often have to find a breeder to purchase your rabbit. That can end up running you a couple of hundred dollars, and many breeders have a waiting list for bringing home new bunnies.
Even if you have your heart set on a specific breed, I always recommend checking out your local animal shelter. You never know what kinds of rabbits you’ll find there and you might just fall in love with another bunny unexpectedly. Even better, you’ll be rescuing a rabbit and helping to prevent the overpopulation of animal shelters.
Initial costs for your rabbit’s habitat
There are some supplies that you’ll need to get for your rabbit when you first bring them home, but these are a one-time purchase and don’t have to be replaced unless they break. There are also some optional items that your rabbit will likely enjoy but aren’t strictly necessary.
- Enclosure ($45): Rather than getting an expensive hutch for a rabbit, I recommend purchasing a pet playpen. These will give your rabbit more space and they’ll be cheaper than the alternative (plus easier to clean!).
- Food and Water bowls ($20): You’ll want to get bowls for your rabbit’s food and water. A bowl is better than a bottle for water because it’s a more natural way for rabbits to drink and will encourage better hydration.
- Litter box and scoop ($15): Rabbits can be litter trained (find out how), so you’ll want to be prepared with a litter box and poop scoop. Get the large cat-sized litter boxes because the small corner boxes marketed towards rabbits are actually too small and uncomfortable for them.
- Nail clippers ($10): You can get a simple set of nail clippers to make sure your rabbit’s nails don’t get too long. If you prefer, you can have your vet clip their nails a couple of times a year, but that will be a more expensive option.
- Brush ($20): Once they reach adulthood, rabbits will need to be brushed during their regular shedding seasons. The small animal Hair Buster does the best job at this, but if your rabbit doesn’t like the feel of this brush, you can also try a grooming glove.
- Hiding house ($25): Rabbits feel safest if they have a place to retreat and hide when they feel scared or anxious. You can get a hiding den to help them feel safe. In a pinch, a cardboard box can also be a great hiding house.
- Hay bin (optional) ($15): Hay is the most important part of your rabbit’s diet, so you might want to get a hay bin for them. Alternatively, you can choose to put your rabbit’s hay directly into their litter box.
- Tunnel (optional) ($20): Many rabbits like to have fun habitat toys to play around it. A tunnel is great for your rabbit’s natural curiosity and mental enrichment.
- Cat tower (optional) ($30): Rabbits like to see the world from different levels, so a platformed cat tower can be lots of fun for them to hop up and down. I recommend getting a short tower though, to make sure your rabbit won’t get injured if they fall.
Rabbit proofing costs
Rabbits have the tendency to chew and dig on different items in the house. You’ll need to take some steps to rabbit proof so that your new bunny can get into trouble. Most of these supplies will only need to be purchased once, but it’s possible you’ll need to buy replacements at some point in the future. You can find out more about what you need to do to have a rabbit proofed home in my article here.
- Wire covers ($15): Rabbits like to chew on wires that they find dangling around. This is dangerous for rabbits and will also mean you need to frequently replace wires and chargers if you don’t get them out of your rabbit’s reach. You can get thick, plastic wire coverings to prevent your rabbit from chewing on the wires.
- Plastic mats ($35): Many rabbits will also like to dig into carpeted areas. To prevent this, you can get those large plastic mats that are used under desk chairs to cover up the areas where your rabbit likes to dig.
- Fencing cubes ($40): Cube fencing is pretty versatile. It can be used to prevent rabbits from getting at an area (such as blocking off the area underneath a bed or couch), and they can also be used along the perimeter of the room to keep your rabbit from chewing on baseboards.
- Scratching mats ($15): Flexible cat scratching mats can be used to block off carpeted areas that your rabbit digs into or be placed along the baseboards in corners to prevent your rabbit from chewing. They can also be wrapped around furniture legs if your rabbit is going after your wooden furniture.
Ongoing monthly costs
After you get your rabbit, you’ll have the ongoing monthly costs of food, litter, and chew toys. The price of these should also be added to your initial rabbit care costs since you will need to have food, litter, and toys available when you bring your rabbit home. There are ways of reducing these costs by buying in bulk or making your own toys, but these are what you can expect to pay if you choose to purchase all of your rabbit supplies for about a month at a time.
- Hay ($30): Hay is very important for a rabbit’s diet so you want to make sure you have a lot for your rabbit. I end up going through about 5lbs of hay per month with my rabbit. If you use the code BUNNYLADY at my favorite online store, Small Pet Select, you can get 15% off of their fresh hay.
- Pellets ($10): While pellets are not the most important part of a rabbit’s diet, they’re still a healthy addition. I trust the Oxbow brand to have high-quality rabbit pellets, and end up going through about one of their 4lb bags per month.
- Leafy greens ($50): Your rabbit will also need a couple of cups of fresh leafy greens on a daily basis. This is typically the most expensive part of my rabbit’s diet since I need to get fresh greens from the supermarket every week. You can cut costs in this area if you can garden for your rabbit and grow greens like basil, parsley, cilantro, etc. for your rabbit to eat.
- Toys ($15): Rabbits need toys for mental enrichment and to chew on and keep their teeth trim. Typically I will get a big batch of toys every three months or so, but it averages out to about $15 per month. You can also cut costs by making some of your own DIY toys for your rabbit.
- Litter ($20): You’ll need to get litter to use in your rabbit’s litter box. I recommend using a paper-based litter, since it’s okay if your rabbit ends up eating pieces of this material. My preferred brand is Yesterday’s News because it also does a decent job at controlling the odor from rabbit urine.
- Treats (optional) ($20): Treats should only be a minimal part of your rabbit’s diet, but your rabbit will love you if you give them some of these yummy treats. I trust the Oxbow brand to have treats that are pretty healthy, but also yummy for rabbits.
Spay and Neuter Surgery ($300-600)
If you are purchasing a young rabbit from a breeder, you will be responsible for getting your rabbit spayed or neutered. This surgery is incredibly important for your rabbit’s health (especially female rabbits) so don’t skip this just because it’s expensive. Rabbits that have been fixed usually have fewer behavioral problems too. They’ll be calmer, less aggressive, and less prone to spraying urine around the house.
Unfortunately, spay and neuter surgeries can be pretty expensive. They’ll run you around $300-$600 on average, but most veterinary clinics are hesitant to reveal their prices until you are actually scheduling surgery with them. The spaying surgery for female rabbits is more complicated than neutering males, so expect the price for spaying your rabbit to run on the higher end of the scale, while neutering is likely less expensive.
The good news is that many animal shelters and rescue centers will take care of this procedure before they allow anyone to adopt their rabbits. Others will have partnerships with veterinary clinics in the area to offer discounted spay and neuter surgeries for you. If you’re concerned about the price, then this is another good reason to check out your local animal shelter when looking for a rabbit to bring home.
Annual wellness exam ($75-200)
To make sure your rabbit stays in good health, it’s always a good idea to bring your rabbit in for an annual health exam. This will help to keep your rabbit healthy since your veterinarian can help you detect possible signs of an underlying illness before it becomes severe, saving you money in the long run on emergency veterinary costs.
I’ve been to a few different veterinary clinics at this point while living in different places, and have had bills ranging from around $75-$150 for a wellness exam. If you live in a more expensive area, you might expect the price to be even a little higher, so it will be important to make sure you are prepared for this once-a-year cost.
Emergency costs ($300-2500)
While we always hope that an emergency won’t happen, it’s best to be prepared. I had one rabbit who didn’t need to be taken to the emergency room until she was 10 years old, and I’ve known other rabbits who end up making a trip once a year.
For an average emergency trip that did not require my rabbit to stay overnight at the animal hospital, I’ve been billed $300-$500. This price included the emergency appointment as well as the medicine and treatment that my bunny needed to recover. However, I’ve known other rabbits who had to have major surgery and stay at the veterinary clinic for a few days during recovery. The bill for that was about $2500.
To prepare for these unexpected costs, you can get pet insurance. The two insurance companies that I know of (in the US) that offer rabbit health insurance are Nationwide, and Pet Assure. However, in most cases, you’ll end up spending more money than you save on pet insurance for your rabbit. If it’s possible for your situation, I recommend trying to save a pet emergency fund of $1000-$2000 instead.
Rabbit care during vacations ($50+)
Another cost that is often overlooked is rabbit care during vacations. If you are unable to get a family member or friend to look after your rabbit while you are away, the price of hiring a professional can quickly add up.
The rates will vary significantly depending on the type of service you get and how long you are gone. For example, boarding your rabbit with your veterinarian is typically cheaper than hiring a pet sitter, but your rabbit will also get less personal attention. The minimum that you should expect to spend is about $50 per day.
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