How Much Does a Rabbit Cost? (plus ongoing monthly costs)

Thinking about adding an adorable long-eared ball of fluff to your family? Rabbits make wonderful pets, but they require a serious commitment. Before you hop down to your local shelter or pet store, make sure you understand the true cost of properly caring for one of these delicate animals. From buying or adopting your bunny, to housing, feeding, and medical expenses, rabbit ownership adds up fast. Be prepared to make a dedicated investment of both money and time if you welcome a rabbit into your home. This comprehensive guide breaks down exactly what you need to budget for your new furry friend. Read on to learn if your wallet can handle the responsibility!

The cost of the rabbit ($35-$200+)

The cost of purchasing a rabbit can vary quite a bit depending on where you get your rabbit from and what breed you choose. Here are some of the main factors that influence rabbit prices:

Pet store rabbits – Rabbits from pet stores typically range from $35-$75. This may seem cheap, but pet store rabbits often come from rabbit mills where they are mass-produced in poor conditions. Buying from a pet store supports this unethical industry. These rabbits also often have more health and behavior issues.

Breeder rabbits – Purchasing a rabbit from a responsible breeder will cost $50-$200+. Good breeders focus on health and temperament over looks. Buying from a breeder gives you a better chance at getting a healthy bun with a good personality, but can be pricier.

Shelter/rescue rabbits – Adopting a rabbit from a shelter or rescue organization typically costs between $75-$150. This includes the cost of spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and other vet care. Shelter rabbits make great pets! By adopting you are saving a life.

Purebred rabbits – Certain purebred rabbit breeds cost more, anywhere from $100-$500. Some examples are English Lops, Flemish Giants and English Angoras. Purebreds are bred to conform to breed standards for things like size, fur, and markings.

Show rabbits – Top pedigree show rabbits can cost $200-$500+. Show rabbits are bred to have characteristics that adhere strictly to breed standards so they can compete at rabbit shows. Their higher price reflects their quality breeding.

Meat/fur rabbits – Rabbits bred for meat or fur are usually $15-$50. Meat rabbits like New Zealands get quite large. Fur rabbits like Rexes have very soft fur. Neither make good pets as they are not bred for health or temperament.

As you can see, pet rabbit prices span a large range. Cheaper rabbits often end up costing more in vet bills and other expenses linked to health and behavior issues. Spending $100-$150 to purchase a healthy, socialized rabbit from a responsible breeder or shelter is ideal for most pet owners. The higher initial cost ends up saving money in the long run.

No matter where you get your bunny, be sure you are ready for the 10+ year commitment of rabbit ownership. The true cost of caring for a rabbit over its lifespan is much more than the upfront cost. Rabbits have very specific care needs. Do your homework before bringing one home!

Initial costs for your rabbit's habitat

Preparing an appropriate habitat for your rabbit is extremely important for their health and happiness. Rabbits are active animals that need lots of space to run and play. Here are some of the main supplies you'll need and average costs:

Large cage/enclosure – $80-$300

Rabbits need more space than a typical small pet cage. Look for enclosures that are at least 4ft x 2ft floorspace or larger. Wire cage sides should have narrow spacing (1/2" or less) so bunny doesn't get stuck. Multiple levels allow more play space.

Exercise pen – $60-$150

In addition to a cage, rabbits need daily exercise time in a larger pen. Pens should be tall enough (at least 30") that bunny cannot jump out. A roomy 8ft x 4ft pen provides ample space for zoomies!

Litter box – $10-$30

Get an extra large cat litter box for your rabbit's cage. You'll need one box per rabbit, plus a few spares. Use paper or horse bedding pellets, not cat litter.

Litter – $15/month

Rabbit-safe litter like Carefresh or wood pellets cost $10-$20 for a big bag that will last around a month. Extra boxes means buying more litter.

Hay feeder – $10-$25

Durable hay racks with bars allow you to pile loose hay so bunny can freely munch. Hay helps wear down constantly growing teeth.

Water bowl/bottle – $5-$15

Ceramic bowls are safest. Water bottles often lead to dehydration. Get a bowl with neutral colors/patterns to avoid frightening bunny.

Toys – $5-$20/month

Stock up on chew toys, tunnels, balls, and treats to keep your rabbit engaged and entertained. Rotate new toys in regularly to prevent boredom.

Grooming supplies – $30-$50

Rabbit nail clippers, hairbrush, and pet-safe shampoo are grooming essentials. Long-haired breeds like Angoras require daily brushing to prevent matts.

As you can see, starting costs quickly add up! Expect to spend $300-$500 to properly set up your rabbit's home. It's a lot up front, but these items will last for years with proper care. Never scrimp on your bunny's habitat – their health depends on it!

Rabbit proofing costs

Rabbits are naturally inclined to chew and dig. These behaviors are unavoidable, but can be minimized with proper "bunny-proofing." Here are some common rabbit proofing costs:

Protective covers – $50-$200

Cover furniture, baseboards, door trim, and electrical wires with split wire loom or other chew-proof tubing. Protect carpets with cotton rugs.

Digging deterrents – $30-$100

Spread pine cone bedding or special mats over areas where bunny digs. Block access to house plants or garden beds they could destroy.

Gate baby/dog pens – $50-$150

Use adjustable pens to block off "no go zones" like behind the TV or under beds where cords are accessible.

Outlet covers – $20-$30

Cover electrical outlets with plastic guards so curious bunnies don't get electrocuted.

HVAC vent covers – $10-$20

Prevent rabbits from crawling into unsafe spaces or vents where they could become trapped.

Door scratches – $5/door

Apply scratch resistant tape to base of doors to limit damage from bunnies trying to get through.

Damage repairs – Variable

Expect to pay to patch drywall, repaint, replace cords, etc. if bunny outsmarts your proofing! Persistence is key.

Bunny proofing is an ongoing process as rabbits become familiar with their surroundings. Be patient and consistent with training. Provide ample enrichment so they focus less energy on destructive behavior. Budget $200-$500 for initial proofing supplies, plus repairs as needed.

Ongoing monthly costs

Caring for a rabbit isn't cheap! Proper nutrition and preventative medical care are essential for your bunny's wellbeing but do add up. Plan for these recurring monthly expenses:

Pellets – $10-$15

Rabbits need a daily portion of quality timothy-based pellets. Budget about $10-$15 per month for a standard sized bunny.

Hay – $20-$40

An unlimited supply of fresh timothy or other grass hay is vital. Buy in bulk to save money. Budget at least $20 per month.

Produce – $20-$30

Rabbits enjoy a varied salad of veggies and leafy greens daily. Budget around $20-$30 for a mix of bunny-safe produce.

Toys/treats – $10-$30

Keep your rabbit engaged with new chew toys, foraging toys, and healthy treats. Rotate novel items to prevent boredom.

Litter – $15-$30

Clean litter boxes frequently and refresh litter at least monthly, more if you have multiple rabbits.

Vet visits – $100-$300

Yearly exams, bloodwork, and vaccines will run $100+. Have an emergency vet fund of $300+ per rabbit.

Medical issues – Variable

Illness and injury can happen unexpectedly. Budget for medical costs in case of an emergency.

Pet sitter – $15-$50 per day

If traveling, hire a rabbit-savvy pet sitter to care for your bunny in your absence.

All said, plan to spend $100-$200 per month in routine rabbit care costs, not including unexpected vet fees or damage repairs. Rabbits are not a cheap pet, but their delightful personalities make it worthwhile for those up to the challenge!

Spay and Neuter Surgery ($300-600)

Getting your rabbit spayed or neutered is a must. Here's what to expect cost-wise for this essential surgery:

Spay surgery – $300-$600

Female rabbits (does) should be spayed around 6 months old. Spaying eliminates the very high risk of reproductive cancers later in life. The surgery ranges from $300-$600 including pre-op bloodwork, anesthesia, pain medication, and e-collar.

Neuter surgery – $200-$400

Male rabbits (bucks) should be neutered at 4-6 months old to curb hormonal behaviors like spraying and aggression. Neutering costs $200-$400 depending on the vet and area.

Additional costs:

  • Pain medication – $20-$60
  • E-collar – $10-$20
  • Follow up visits – $50-$100

Medical risks

Spaying and neutering rabbits carries some risks due to anesthesia complications. Be sure to find an experienced exotic vet. Opt for pre-op bloodwork to catch any hidden issues.

I always recommend pet insurance and a "rabbit fund" savings account to cushion unexpected medical costs like complications from spay/neuter surgery. It's worth the peace of mind should anything go wrong.

The sticker shock of spay/neuter costs is real. But preventing reproduction and cancer in your rabbit is truly priceless. See if any local shelters offer discounted spay/neuter services.

Annual wellness exam ($75-200)

Just like dogs and cats, rabbits need annual check-ups to ensure good health. Here's what to expect:

Physical exam – $75-$150

A nose-to-tail exam checks for lumps, dental issues, sore joints, parasite infestation, and more.

Lab work – $60-$150

Blood and fecal tests check for parasites, kidney/liver function, diabetes, and other systemic issues.

Vaccinations – $25-$60

Rabies and RHDV2 vaccines are recommended annually. Given based on your geographic risk factors.

Nail trim – $15-$30

The vet will trim your rabbit's nails if they are overgrown and sharp. This helps prevent injury from scratching.

Any medications – Variable

If your vet prescribes medications, there will be added drug costs for things like pain meds or antibiotics.

Your annual rabbit exam will fall somewhere between $75-$200 depending on your specific vet costs. Outside of spay/neuter surgery, annual exams are the most important medical investment for your bunny. Staying on top of small issues prevents large expenses down the road.

Emergency costs ($300-2500)

As prey animals, rabbits are masters at hiding illness. This means that by the time symptoms show, rabbits are often very sick. Emergency situations arise quickly and require immediate veterinary care. Common emergencies include:

GI stasis – $300-$1500

Lack of gut motility can cause life-threatening stasis. Requires hospitalization for IV fluids, gut stimulants, pain meds, and force feeding.

Blocked bladder – $400-$1000

Urinary tract infections or bladder sludge can quickly obstruct rabbits' tiny urinary tracts. Hospitalization, x-rays, antibiotics, and unblocking procedure may be necessary.

Broken bones – $400-$2000

Fractures require stabilization either through splinting or surgery for plates/pins. Exotics surgery costs are high.

Fly strike – $200-$500

Fly eggs laid on soiled fur hatch into maggots that eat flesh. Requires immediate cleaning, antibiotics, and pain control.

Dental disease – $300-$1200

Misaligned or overgrown teeth need correction, extraction, or trimming under anesthesia. Oral issues are extremely dangerous.

As you can see, emergency vet care for rabbits gets expensive fast due to the delicate, specialized nature of their care. Always have at least $500-$1000 set aside for potential rabbit ER costs. Pet insurance can also offset catastrophic expenses.

Rabbit care during vacations ($50+)

Rabbits are not easy pets to travel with and do best staying home in familiar surroundings. Here are some options for rabbit care while you're away:

Pet sitter – $15-$50 per day

Hire an experienced rabbit sitter to care for them in your home. Typical fees range from $15-$50 per day.

Boarding – $20-$50 per day

Some vet clinics or shelters offer rabbit boarding, though availability is limited. Fees range from $20-$50/night.

Friend/neighbor – Free-$30 per day

Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to look after your bunny. Offer fair compensation for their time.

Automated feeders – $50-$200

Auto feeders and water dispensers allow 4-5 days of unattended care, but bunny wellness checks are still a must.

Web cameras – $50-$300

Set up a webcam to monitor your rabbit remotely so you can call for help if needed.

No matter who cares for your bunny, be sure they are knowledgeable about diet, litter habits, normal behavior, handling, and signs of illness. Check in frequently when away. Traveling with a rabbit is stressful, so limit trips to reduce risks to your pet's health.

In summary…

Rabbits make delightful pets, but definitely require a serious commitment of both time and money. Here are the key costs:

  • Buying the rabbit: $35-$200
  • Initial habitat set-up: $300-$500
  • Proofing your home: $200-$500
  • Monthly care & food: $100-$300
  • Spay/neuter surgery: $300-$600
  • Annual vet visit: $75-$200
  • Emergency fund: $500+
  • Boarding/pet sitters: $15-$50+ per day

Easily expect to spend $1000+ per year, not including any unexpected medical costs. The reward of sharing your life with an affectionate bunny makes it all worthwhile! Do ample research before hopping into rabbit ownership to be sure you can properly care for one of these delightful but delicate pets.


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