How much do rabbits really cost? What are the costs of owning pet rabbits?
Many people mistake rabbits for being easy keepers that don’t cost much to keep. In this case, I have no problem being the bearer of bad news because rabbits are not starter pets.
And, if you think they’re cheap, simple pets to keep, think again. In their whole lifetime, you’ll likely spend over 30 thousand dollars on your pet rabbit. In this article, we’ll break down all of the costs of owning pet rabbits, so you can see exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Pet Rabbit Costs Breakdown
|One time costs||$ (approx.)|
|Food and water dishes||$10-20|
|Flooring||$35 and up|
|Litter boxes + scoop||$10-15 + $8|
|Cube fencing/baby gates||$30|
|Rabbit first aid supplies||$70-100|
|TOTAL ONE-TIME COSTS (Approx.)||$500-600|
|Recurring costs (monthly)||$ (approx.)|
|Hay||$30 per month|
|Pellets||$13 per month|
|Vegetables||$50 per month|
|Litter||$20-30 per month|
|Cleaning supplies||$20-50 per month|
|Enrichment||$30-40 per month|
|Treats (optional)||$10 per month|
|TOTAL MONTHLY RECURRING COSTS (Approx.):||$170+|
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Pet Rabbit?
Adoption fees vary from shelter to shelter, but the average range is $50-100. If you purchase a rabbit from a breeder, you’ll likely pay much more, depending on the breed or coloring.
You really should consider adopting a rabbit from your local shelter instead of from a breeder. There are several reasons, starting with the fact that shelters are packed full of rabbits that need good homes.
Adopting a rabbit is also much cheaper than purchasing. When you purchase from a breeder, you’ll likely have to spend an additional $150-300 for initial wellness checks and vaccines and then $200-600 for spaying/neutering.
Adoption fees usually include vaccines and spaying/neutering. However, if you’ve purchased your rabbit from a breeder or (adopted one from a friend like I’ve done multiple times), you’ll have to find a reputable rabbit vet to perform the surgery.
Fixing a rabbit can cost anywhere from $200-600, depending on the veterinarian. You can check if your local shelter has a program for low-cost spay/neutering of rabbits.
Pet Rabbit Housing Costs
Enclosure: A pet store rabbit cage isn’t actually suitable for a rabbit to live in. Rabbits need 12 square feet (1.1 square meters) of living space plus an additional 32 square feet (3 square meters) of exercise space. That’s why I’ve found that puppy playpens are the best enclosures for pet rabbits. You’ll likely pay $100-150 for a proper enclosure.
Rabbit Bed: Rabbits need a cozy bed to cuddle up in. Usually, a small dog or cat bed is just right for a bunny to snuggle up in at night. You can get an excellent pet bed for anywhere between $10-20. My rabbit’s favorite is the burrow bed, which is a little more expensive but provides a sense of security since he’s free-roam.
Hideout: It’s also ideal to offer your rabbit a place to hide out when he wants to. There are plenty of types of rabbit hideouts that usually cost $15-20, but my all-time favorite is the Castle Condo (for small bunnies). Not only are there places to hide, but it’s got tunnels, and your rabbit can also climb on top! It’s like a little playground just for your rabbit.
Food And Water Dishes: Food and water dishes are essential. And, as a reminder, a water bowl is always better than a water bottle. I recommend using heavier porcelain dishes or dishes you can connect to the side of your rabbit’s enclosure, so your rabbit won’t tip it over. A good set of bowls should cost around $10-20.
Flooring: Using bedding in a larger rabbit enclosure is a waste of your money. Use bedding only in litter boxes and line your floors with vinyl flooring or splat mats, which are much more budget-friendly. Vinyl flooring can cost upwards of $50, but you can find a perfectly-sized splat mat for $35. You can read more about what to put on the floor of your rabbit’s enclosure here.
Litter Boxes & Scoop: Your rabbit should have at least two litter boxes. They come in all different sizes, so get one that’s big enough. There are high-corner litter pans, but I’ve found cat litter boxes the best because they’re more spacious for my rabbits. And they’re the easiest to clean. They’re also inexpensive, coming in at $10 for the two you’ll need, while high-corner litter pans cost $10-15 each.
And, of course, you’ll need a good litter scoop to keep it clean! Make sure the holes are small enough that little rabbit poops don’t fall through. Because they’re deemed “specialty” scoops, they do cost a little more than the average litter scoop, at $8.
Rabbit Proofing Costs
Scratching Mats: Rabbits love to chew and dig, and unfortunately, that leaves your trim and baseboards at risk. Hay or grass mats give your rabbit something to scratch and dig up. And they can eat it too! Typically, you can get multiple for just $10-20.
Wire Covers: If I can recommend anything to keep your rabbits safe, it’s wire covers. Unfortunately, rabbits are extremely attracted to wires, from large power chords to tiny headphone wires. Protect your rabbits, electronics (and whole house, for that matter) by grabbing some wire covers, which cost around $15.
Cube Fencing/Baby Gates: Another vital part of bunny-proofing is blocking off all the areas you don’t want your rabbit to be in. Use fencing to block off certain rooms or even your baseboards. Wire storage cubes are typically much more cost-effective than baby gates, which can cost $20 a piece, whereas C&C cubes come in bulk quantities, where you can get 12 panels for around $30.
After a while, if your rabbit is like mine and doesn’t really destroy anything, you may not even need them anymore.
Rabbits need regular grooming, just like any other pet. They may not be as high-maintenance as dogs in terms of needing the occasional bath, but they will need weekly brushing and regular nail clipping.
Here’s what you’ll need:
This will cost you around $15.
Rabbit First Aid Supplies
Accidents and emergencies happen, so you’ll want to make sure you’re ready for when they happen. Having a first-aid kit doesn’t mean you won’t need a vet, but having some of these essential items may save your rabbit’s life:
- Cotton Pads
- Vet Wrap
- Vetericyn Wound Spray
- Bene-Bac (Digestive Supplement)
- Infant Gas Drops
- Oxbow’s Critical Care
- Small Oral Syringes
All of these supplies will cost you $70-100.
Read this blog post for a full list of what you should have in your rabbit’s first aid kit.
Total For One-Time Costs: Approx. $500-600
How Much Does a Pet Rabbit Cost (Per Month)?
After your initial setup, there are ongoing costs of keeping pet rabbits, too. That includes items like food, bedding, cleaning supplies, and toys. Let’s talk more about the monthly costs of owning a pet rabbit.
Food & Litter
Let’s start with the essential monthly costs of keeping a pet rabbit. You need to feed your rabbit a well-balanced diet, which includes:
Hay: Your rabbit will need an unlimited hay supply, so be prepared to spend at least $30 a month, depending on the type of hay your rabbit needs and likes best.
Pellets: Next, your rabbit will need some highly-quality food. Rabbits shouldn’t eat a lot of pellets, so a 4 lb bag of rabbit pellets will last a month. That means you’ll spend around 12.99 per month.
Vegetables: Rabbits need lots of vegetables and leafy greens like romaine lettuce, carrot tops, and arugula to keep their digestive systems in tip-top shape. So, add at least $50 to your monthly grocery budget for a decent supply of fresh veggies.
Litter: Another monthly cost of owning a pet rabbit is litter. You can use traditional rabbit bedding. But that can get costly. Rabbit bedding usually costs around $20 for a smaller bag. So, I’d recommend using recycled paper-based litter or aspen shavings instead. Typically, you’ll spend $20-30 on rabbit litter every month.
Total cost of food and litter: $110+
On top of the essential costs, you can’t forget about keeping things clean. Here’s a list of what to add to your monthly budget:
Sponge/Scrub Brush: If you need to clean up a mess or in between the bars of your rabbit’s enclosure, you’ll need a set of sponges. My favorite is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. They’re not the cheapest sponges out there, but they work like no other. You may also need a scrub brush for tougher messes. You won’t need to replace them as often, and they usually cost the same.
Enclosure Cleaner: Keeping your rabbit enclosure clean is more than removing all of the soiled bedding. It also means cleaning up stains and wiping down all of the enclosure’s bars too. And for that, you need a rabbit-safe cage cleaner.
Stain Remover: Sometimes, rabbits can get messy, and average cleaners just won’t cut it. For all of the accidents, spills, and other tough messes, you’ll need a heavier-duty stain remover that’s still safe to use around your home. You may not need to replace this every month, but it’s always handy. My favorite stain remover is Nature’s Miracle.
Deodorizer: If you keep your rabbits clean enough, you probably won’t even need deodorizer. But if you’re like me, and you like your home always smelling like a rose garden, then you’ll probably spend some money on a good cage deodorizer every month.
Total monthly costs of cleaning supplies: $20-50
One of the most essential parts of keeping a pet rabbit is keeping him occupied and entertained. That means offering a variety of things to do to prevent boredom (because nothing good ever comes from bunny boredom).
Here are some rabbit toys you can get to keep them from getting bored:
Total cost: approximately $30-40.
Rabbit treats are more than just yummy snacks. They’re also great for getting a rabbit interested in training and brain teasers for enrichment.
Here are some of my favorite rabbit treats:
- Oxbow Simple Rewards Freeze-Dried Strawberries (My bunny Chile also likes the Banana flavor)
- Sweet Meadow Farm Dandelion Leaf Treats
Total cost: around $10
Other Recurring Costs
Aside from monthly costs, there are other recurring costs. For example, if you’re not going to trim your rabbit’s nails yourself, it will cost $50 every couple of months to get it done at the vet.
Other than that, there are also yearly veterinary checkups and vaccines. Wellness exams can cost anywhere from $75-150, plus an additional $50-100 for vaccines. I also recommend having a fund or savings account for emergency vet visits.
Total Monthly Costs Of Owning a Rabbit (Excluding Grooming Costs & Vet Bills): $170+
Our Tips to Save Money on Keeping Pet Rabbits
There are some things you can’t cheap out on, like veterinary care, the setup, and proper food. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room to save money. Here are some of our best tips for saving money.
Litter & Bedding
The best way to save money on bedding is to not use it in the entire enclosure. In fact, with this method, you really won’t need bedding at all. Instead, use litter only in the litter boxes. Also, you can save even more with shredded newspaper instead of bedding. I’ll tell you a little secret: I haven’t paid for litter in over a year because of this trick!
Instead of buying expensive cleaners, use 1:1 water vinegar solution or dish soap to clean your rabbit’s enclosure. Use baking soda and vinegar for tough messes and stains.
Again, you shouldn’t just buy the cheapest brand of rabbit food that you see. It likely won’t have the nutritional value your rabbit needs. But you can save on hay. Instead of buying the over-priced bagged hay at the pet store, look for it at your local farmer’s market. They often sell bales of hay that last months for a fraction of the price.
You can also feed your rabbit grass from the yard, as long as it’s 100% pesticide and dog-pee free.
Toys & Treats
Instead of purchasing expensive toys, you can make DIY rabbit toys with things you already have around the house. You can also make your own rabbit treats by drying out some rabbit-safe fruits and vegetables.
Consider pet insurance to make sure you can afford any emergencies that might pop up. Or, as I suggested before, have a savings account or fund set aside for emergencies.
Final Thoughts on the Total Cost of Owning Rabbits
Don’t let people fool you into thinking rabbits are simple pets and don’t cost a lot to keep. In reality, a rabbit can cost over 200 dollars per month, and that’s without even counting your one-time expenses and yearly vet bills. The costs are even higher if you have more than one rabbit, which is recommended since they’re social animals. Again, in the average bunny’s lifespan of 10 years, you’re likely to spend over 30 thousand dollars.
This article isn’t to steer you away from getting a rabbit, but it’s important to know that the costs of owning a rabbit aren’t as low as everyone thinks. It’s always important to provide everything you can for your pet rabbit so that he can live a full and happy life.