How Much does a Bunny Really Cost?
Do your Homework First Before you get Suckered in by Cuteness!
Don't let the the adorable face of a bunny sucker you in. Many people are surprised to find out how much a House Rabbit companion actually costs. Rabbits are usually inexpensive to get, but that doesn't mean they are cheap to keep! Just basic one time purchases of supplies may cost $250, and the ongoing cost for one rabbit adds up to around $80/month ($960/year). This does not include vet care for illnesses and emergencies which can be very expensive.
We do offer money-saving tips, and there are ways to cut costs, however, if one of the reasons a rabbit appealed to you was the notion of a cheap pet, then I would take the time to reconsider. I can't count the times someone has posted in the forum about not being able to cover one cost or another. So though there may be ways to cut costs, there are still ongoing expenses that can be hard on very tight budgets.
Rabbits can live to be over 10 years old, so be ready for the a long-term financial commitment. The total costs are hard for many to believe, so we've broken it down so you can see how all the little stuff adds up.
Find out if your pocket book is ready and check out the list of basic costs that go into proper care of one house rabbit.
ONE TIME and/or OCCASIONAL PURCHASES
(Note: even some "One Time" purchases will eventually need replacing)
Cages/Pens = $150
(Average if using cubes or pens)
Most cages that are sold "for rabbits" are usually much too small for an adult rabbit, not to mention they can be double the average price above.
According to the House Rabbit Society, cages/pens should be at least four times the size of your bunny - more if confined for large amounts of time each day.(Rabbits should get a LEAST three hours a day of free exercise time) Remember flooring too for your bunny! Even if you use a pen, you'll still want to have some sort of water proof flooring like sheet vinyl or chloroplast to make cleaning up easy. See Housing Examples
|Food & Water Dishes = $12
Avoid the plastic cheap light-weight bowls. Rabbits will accidentally AND intentionally overturn those.
Replace plastic water bottles annually.
Basic litter Box ($6) & Scoop($3) = $9
Litter boxes can go up in price dramatically with screens, covers and protective edge attachments (for the diggers!). Also, at some point, they do become smelly even when cleaned regularly, so you will have to eventually replace it.
I recommend a solid scoop since rabbit litter is not the kind that can be sifted (Never use clay, dusty,clumping type litters for rabbits)
Bargain Tip - Check out these Great Litter Box Ideas!
Hay Rack = $10
You can get some really neat fancy racks that keep the hay from getting everywhere, or buy ones that are more basic, metal or wood, but still work great for a hungry bunny!
The rack in the photo is available in the BinkyBunny Store.
Bargain Tip - Cardboard boxes, wire baskets can double as hay racks. Make sure that any wood basket has not been treated.
Hidey House = $12
Rabbits, being prey animals, like to to have hidey houses. This makes them feel safe and secure.
|Soft Bedding = $15
Make sure to have a flat surface and soft bedding in any cage/pen for a place to lounge. This can be anything from soft bedding from a pet store, a throw blanket, or a yard or two of fleece from a fabric store.
Caution Note: Some materials can shed fibers and cause serious digestive problems. Pull on the the material to check if fibers come loose easily. Also some bunnies may eat the material. You will need to switch to another type of bedding if that is the case. (trial and error)
Toys = $15
Rabbits do play, and good rabbit toys cater to rabbity behaviors. Foraging, chewing, and exploring are top on the list. It's best to buy a few toys and alternate them to prevent boredom.
This will be more of a frequent replacement - may not be monthly, but at least every few months or so.
Check out BinkyBunny Toys
Bargain Tip - For some inexpensive homemade options check out our Bunny Toy Test.
Nail Care = $13.50
Nail Clippers = 6.00Styptic Powder = 7.50
Learn how to clip nails in Monthly Maintenance
Brush and Comb = $6.00It's important to keep rabbits groomed. A once a week brushing (or more during molts) helps prevent digestive issues.
Our personal favorite is Hairbuster Comb
Cord Covers = $10
Rabbits will chew through cords which can cause damage to your stuff, fire hazards and can also seriously hurt your bunny! Get your cords up and out of the way or cover them
There are many versions of cord covers. I use corrugated flexible tubing which you can find online or at your local hardware store.
Protect your stuff, learn how to Bunny Proof your Home
Small Carrier = $25
Carrier styles and prices vary greatly! - From the basic (left) to fancy, colorful, and even air-conditioned.
Avoid using cheap cardboard carriers as a determined rabbit will chew right thru those in just minutes.
One Time/Occasional TOTAL = $247.50
Rabbits should have access to fresh hay available 24 hours a day. Hay is vital to your bunny's health. It provides the necessary fiber to move hair through the digestive system. Young rabbits under 7 months can have alfalfa. Adult rabbits should get grass hays, like Timothy, Orchard, Oat and/or mixtures. The BinkyBunny Store provides a large variety of Hays.
Bargain Tip - If you live near a hay farm, you can save money by buying in large quantities and storing hay properly. Just make sure the hay you buy is for horses and small animals. Do not get cattle quality hay.
Also note that it is not uncommon for hay in bulk to have a few dead crickets,and/or some debris, since the hay hasn't been sifted through smaller packages. It is a natural product after all. So just sift as you go. Storing properly is very important: Hay needs to breathe to prevent mold. A cardboard box or large laundry bag are best. Plastic bins are okay if you get in and out of it a lot -- you can also drill a few holes throughout to allow for some airflow.
Greens/Veggies = $40/monthSee Diet Page for appropriate amounts (avg 1.5 cups minimum daily)
Greens should be slowly introduced at about 3 months old
Pellets = $4.50/month
(Based on 10# bag that should last a few months)
Recommended Nutritional Value
Fiber 18% minimum (20 -25% best)
Fat 1 - 2% max
Protein 12 - 14% max (long-haired breeds may need higher)
Calcium 1% max
Avoid pellets that have dried fruit, cereal, seeds & nuts
Litter = $20/month
Some of my favorite litters include Aspen Supreme, Yesterdays News and Carefresh. (Carefresh is a soft litter - perfect for bunnies, like Rexes, that are prone to sore hocks.)
Stay away from clumping & dusty cat litters, corn based, and pine shavings as these can cause serious health risks. (compressed pine pellets are okay)
Bargain Tip: Horse stall pellets or Wood stove pellets are usually cheap and a great alternative to some of the more expensive litter brands. Just make sure the wood stove pellets do not have have accelerant added.
Pet Friendly Cleaning Products = $2/month
Unlike other free range animals, rabbits are many times limited to a particular space, so it is very important to use to rinse well even with pet friendly cleaners.
Bargain Tip - White Vinegar/Water (50/50) is wonderful in combating urine stains and odor. Rabbits urine can have a strong ammonia smell and the vinegar mix combats these very well! However, since vinegar is very acidic, you will need an industrial plastic bottle otherwise you may find that an ordinary spray bottle's nozzle may stop working.
I find using both the vinegar mix and Nature's Miracle works helps prevent remarking.
MONTHLY TOTAL = $81.50
ADDITIONAL COSTS NOT INCLUDED IN COST CALCULATIONS
The likelihood of any pet needing vet care in their lifetime is high. Rabbits are no exception, and it can be very expensive.
(Check out this Forum Discussion about some actual vet costs members had to deal with). Remember, you are paying for the vet, not the pet. Not to mention that you need to make sure your vet is rabbit-savvy. You may be surprised to learn that rabbits are actually considered "exotic".
A rabbit-savvy vet will have the extra schooling for "exotics" to treat rabbits. The exotic title is due in part to the the fact that rabbits react differently to anesthesia than cats and dogs. Also some treatments and antibiotics that would be safe for a cat or dog, can be deadly to rabbits. Dental issues are also common, especially in dwarf breeds, and this can be very expensive over time with regular check-ups, tooth trims, and/or surgeries. This equals into hundreds to even thousands of dollars.
Rabbit's hide illness very well, and by the time you notice something is wrong, it can be serious. Waiting to bring your bunny to the vet, due to lack of funds, can put your bunny at serious risk. I recommend getting pet insurance (VPI covers rabbits $12/month). Be sure to save a few hundred dollars for emergency care. There are also credit cards, like "Care Credit", that can only be spent on health care and vet care. Not all vets take these, but many do - check with yours. For me this system works out well, as I can put the vet bill on the credit card, file a claim with the insurance, which normally pays out by the time my credit card is due. Every little bit helps.
Lifesaver Note - PLEASE get Emergency Vet references and figure out who is available around you that is ALSO an EMERGENCY vet. BEFORE an emergency ever happens. It can be harder to find rabbit-savvy Emergency vets and rabbits can go downhill very quickly. You don't want to be spending precious time trying to do the search when your bunny may be fighting for its life. Get a list of vet references, talk to them personally, and keep phone numbers and directions nearby so you can just focus on getting there in times of urgency.
Bargain Tip - Adopt a bunny from a rabbit rescue or animal shelter. Most are already spayed/neutered ($150 savings! --Can be even more depending on where you live). And many shelters have already given their bunny a check-up and/or will give you a coupon for a free check up with in so many days after adoption)
The value of exercise, love and attention is priceless. Unlike cats or dogs who will verbally announce their dissatisfaction, a dissatisfied rabbit may act out or just sit in his cage all day. Silence does not equal satisfaction. Rabbits need freedom, exercise and attention everyday.
Treats are definitely not a necessity, and you do have to be careful with how much you give a rabbit, but given in moderation, it's a great way to bond with your bunny. Plus, c'mon how many people don't give treats to their animal companions. It's a human thing! Just be sure to look for the healthiest possible.
Bargain tip: Fresh herbs like rosemary and mint and small amounts of fruit can make for a wonderful healthy treat. Be sure to check the ingredients of store bought treats to make sure they are not too high in fat and sugar.
Grumpsters - Once in a blue moon, we get an email from an annoyed person who is upset by our cost estimates. Even with our Bargain Tips, they say they never spent much, and that they never had to worry about vet care. If that is true for you, consider yourself extra-thrifty, but extremely fortunate with health.
This Cost Page was created because of our ongoing experiences with unprepared people who found themselves in an ethical dilemma due to being financially side-swiped, (especially when it comes to rabbit health and vet care).
No one told them what proper care entailed or that vet care can be expensive. Telling someone that rabbits don't cost that much only has the potential to do more harm than good down the line. Our focus will always be on the individuals responsibility for their animal companion regardless of where their rabbit came from. There are many people that can benefit from understanding that a rabbit costs more than what they paid for it.
So if this didn't scare ya off, you might just be ready for the "cute" high.