There are tons of websites out there that try and prepare you for the expense of having a rabbit. The truth is that, Yes, a rabbit can get pricey but you don’t have to let it! I have tons of great cost minimizing tips to make a rabbit affordable for you! Best of all your rabbit will never know the difference!
I modeled the following based on one of my favourite rabbit websites. With everything I’ve made for my rabbits over the past few years, I was able to knock quite a bit off most of their suggested prices. I have to admit I was one of those pet store suckers that bought the most expensive things for my bunnies! Before I knew it I was up to my eyebrows in credit card bills! Take it from me, if you haven’t gotten your rabbit yet, follow these steps first! Your rabbit will be much happier and when you see the amount of money you have still sitting in your bank account, you will too!
BudgetBunny Savings Tip: Buy what you can at the dollar store! With a little creativity, you’d be amazed at what you can find there!
If you go about this the right way, you can build your own rabbit condo for as little as $80 with plenty of room for your rabbit to play! Forget about those cages you see at the pet store, they’ll cost you a fortune and are nowhere near big enough for Bunny!
Take it from me, I spent $140 on a ‘starter’ cage for my first rabbit Rocky and within a few days realized it wasn’t big enough for a baby bunny let alone a full grown rabbit!
Check out our tips on building your own rabbit condo including a full step by step video!
Food & Water Dishes: $4
Forget those water bottles you find in pet stores and those fancy bowls! Water bottles leak! And those bowls? Even the ceramic ones are fairly small and my rabbits love to push and knock them around. Messy!
Instead check out your local dollar store! They have tons of great bowls in all different sizes and different colours! Best of all, they’re a little deeper so they hold more food and water at a time and they’re heavy! Honey loved to knock her water dish over on me prior to these bowls and now she can barely even nudge them! Problem solved!
Again why spend all that money on an expensive, top of the line litter box when a dish basin is the right size for most rabbits and can be found at most dollar stores! If you have a larger rabbit the dollar store usually has a pet section you can pick up a cheap and larger litter box in. Don’t bother with a scoop, with all those little poops and big pees it’s going to be a lot cleaner and quicker if you just dump it and rinse the entire thing out every couple of days.
Hay Rack: $2
Again get creative! My hay racks are actually a wire rack designed to slide underneath a shelf and hold your utensils! And guess where I got them? The dollar store! If you fasten a piece of wood, cardboard or chloroplast to the open end and slide it in upwards it becomes the perfect rack for hay! And if you can find it in the same colour as your condo cubes it’ll even look stylish!
Grooming Tools: $10 (Including a brush and nail clippers)
These can vary depending from rabbit to rabbit. I hate those rabbit nail clippers they sell at the pet stores because three out of four of my rabbits have very thick nails. So thick, in fact I find those clippers actually split their nails. I prefer toenail clippers you find in the cosmetic department. It’s better to spend a little more on a good quality pair that opens a little further (so you can slip your pets nail in) and that are good and sharp for a clean cut. I have a Sally Hansen version that’s perfect!
As for the comb that’s up to you. Again you can find dog and cat brushes at the dollar store that will work great but take into consideration the type of coat your rabbit has before buying one. If you rabbit has very short hair, a human comb might work just fine. If your rabbit is a little woolier they usually love the feel of a cat brush. My rabbit Rocky has a very wooly behind so I use the cat brush on him there but his hair is too thin everywhere else so I use a comb to lightly groom those areas.
Hidey House: Free!
You know what’s even more fun than a hidey house? A cardboard box they can destroy! You can pick these up at grocery stores, maybe at your work or maybe you’ve got some lurking around in your garage! Cut two holes in random areas in the box because your rabbit will feel more comfortable if he has a separate way in and out and let the fun begin!
Bedding:$20 (Give or Take)
Okay I’m going to assume because you all want the best for your rabbits that you will never ever put your rabbit on wire flooring. That being said you don’t really need bedding if you don’t want it. Bedding can be very expensive and I found bedding actually encouraged my rabbits NOT to use their litterboxes. Not to mention how sensitive rabbits are to different scents bedding comes in. If you do plan on using bedding absolutely NEVER choose pine! It has been linked with liver damage in small animals. If you’ve built your rabbit a handy dandy rabbit condo, the tile flooring I suggest will be nice and cool for your bunny to stretch out on, and that cardboard hidey house? Perfect if your rabbit prefers a little more traction. You can also offer a small dog bed or some blankies for your rabbit to snuggle up in but it all depends on the rabbit. I caught Rocky mowing down on one of the blankets I gave him and Ollie just loved peeing and pooping all over his. When Honey and Willow were given comfy beds to lay in during their recovery from their spay surgeries at the vets, the vet called to let us know they preferred to sleep in their litterboxes. So there you have it, bedding can be over rated!
Sure, feel free to browse the toy section at the pet store, even I can admit it’s exciting bringing home a new toy for your new friend but it can also get costly. Rabbits love to destroy their toys when they’re playing! They toss and they chew! So don’t expect that $8 toy to last very long. And remember, rabbits need lots of toys to keep them stimulated, not just one or two. If you’re buying a few different toys every couple of weeks that’s going to add up! Instead take a look at the at home DIY BudgetBunny toys. Lots of them are free or of little cost to you!
Small Carrier: $20 (Approximately)
Okay this is also one of those things that’s going to vary greatly depending on where you shop. I searched high and low for a carrier that was safe but wasn’t going to cost me a fortune. I ended up finding the perfect ones for $19.99. Sure they’re an ugly brown colour but they didn’t need to be pretty, just safe. The other stores I went to didn’t have anything less than $40 and it also depends if you want to make a fashion statement while carting your rabbit around. What I don’t recommend are the soft carriers. Sure they’re much more stylish, but your rabbit will have the screen chewed off in minutes. Plus, they’re not going to offer much protection in a car accident. Also, don’t wait until there’s an emergency to realize you need a carrier. Pick it up when you’re setting up bun’s new home and forget about it.
Cleaning Supplies: $5
No need to spend money on expensive cleaners! Again head over to my favourite place, you guessed it, the dollar store and pick up scouring pads, jay cloths, rubber gloves and a spray bottle. Then mix a solution of 1 part vinegar with 1 part water in the bottle, give it a good shake and you’ve just made a safe disinfectant for cleaning!
Litter: $30 (Every 6 Months or So)
So you have the litterbox, now you’re going to need something to fill it. I love Kaytee Soft Sorbent Lavender Granular Blend for Small Animals. It has the great light smell of lavender and is dust free. Never ever use litter for cats, that can be deadly to rabbits as they often like to nibble a bit in their litter. Another great plus with the lavendar litter? It actually has bits of dried lavender in it which my rabbits love to munch on! I buy the largest bag going since I have 4 rabbits and mix it with shredded newspaper to make it last longer.
And Don’t Forget About Pellets, Vegetables and Hay: $50 (Every Month)
This is one thing you never want to compromise on. Hay is essential to your rabbits health. A rabbit needs to be able to graze whenever they want which means unlimited hay.
When choosing pellets, make sure you’re choosing a brand that doesn’t have all the ‘junk’ in it like seeds and dried fruits.
BudgetBunny Savings Tip: Again we never want to compromise on their diet but there are ways to make purchasing veggies and fruits more economical!
- Buy what you already need – I love to make vegetable soup and in that soup I like to put carrots. When I’m cutting up a couple of carrots I’ll also chop off the greens for my rabbits. I love broccoli florets but hate the stems so I’ll chop these up in to little cubes to give to the bunnies. Don’t worry, they get some of the florets too!
- Buy what’s in season – There is a wide variety of herbs and veggies your rabbits will love! When veggies are out of season not only are you not buying locally but you’re also paying more for them. Before mindlessly buying, have a look at the selection available and the prices of each. Some weeks dandelion is only $1 at the grocery store and others it’s $4! When it’s more money I might choose a cheaper but still healthy vegetable instead.
- Go to the Farmer’s Market – Not only are you supporting local farmers and will probably get a better selection of organic food, but you can usually score some free food for your bunnies! I’ve gotten entire grocery bags of carrot tops and veggies that had some imperfections I could easily cut out but weren’t good enough to sell.
BudgetBunny Savings Tip: Plan ahead. If you’ve decided that a rabbit is the right pet for you, take some time to shop around and pick up the best supplies for the best price. It’s kind of hard to bring home a rabbit and then decide you need to spend the next week making him a cage! Also, if you’re worried about the initial expense, break it up. Every paycheck buy what you can afford until you have everything you need for Bunny’s new home.
** And don’t forget about vet bills! Regular Checkups, Accidents and Emergencies are part of a responsible pet owners life and you don’t want to be unprepared! Vet visits can range from a $30 checkup to a $250 walk in fee at the Animal Emergency Clinic after hours. It’s always a good idea to put a little away every paycheck just in case. **