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The cost of owning a rabbit
14 March 2019
We’re a nation of pet lovers with research from Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) finding that between two-thirds of us, we own 29 million pets!
Whilst cats and dogs are by far the most popular choice, there are around 614,000 pet rabbits and small mammals in Australia. Whilst most say the primary reason they got a pet was for companionship, 17% of small mammal owners say it was to help educate and teach children responsibility.
When most people think of the long-term expense of a pet, it’s often assumed it will be cats and dogs racking up the bills, but the reality is, any pet can become costly.
According to research by the AMA, the average household spent $605 on their small mammals in 2019 and as a nation, $35 million was spent on veterinary services. A well-cared-for rabbit can easily live to 12 years old so it’s important you’re budgeting for the long term if you’re thinking they’re the pet for you.
How much does a new rabbit cost?
Comparatively speaking, rabbits are a cheaper pet to buy but they can need just as much, if not more, additional equipment than a cat or dog.
Regardless of whether your rabbit will be living indoors or outdoors, they’ll need their own place, somewhere that’s just for them where they can retreat and feel safe.
A good size hutch that’s going to sit outside must be sturdy, weatherproof and keep them as safe as possible from predators. To make sure it’s big enough for your rabbit, it should be at least 4 times the length of your rabbit when they’re stretched out and twice as wide. Rabbits grow quickly so if you’re getting a baby rabbit (also called a kitten), make sure it’s big enough for when they’re grown. For this, you should be looking to spend between $150 – $200.
If they’re going to be living indoors and will have the freedom to move around more, they can have a smaller cage and it won’t need to be as strong. They’ll still need a section that’s blocked off, so they know it’s safe and calm. An indoor rabbit cage would usually come in at under $100.
All rabbits need plenty of fresh bedding and food and although you don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive toys, if you don’t give them something they can chew, they’ll find something themselves. If you don’t want them gnawing their way through their new hutch or your furniture, some boredom breakers and rabbit chews are advisable. You need to budget between $30 – $50 per month for this.
Rabbits are naturally outdoor creatures and love a good hop about on the grass. Whether your rabbit is an indoor or outdoor pet, a good quality run they can use under supervision will improve their quality of life. These can usually be picked up between $50 – $100.
Rabbits should always be neutered or spayed even if they’re not living with another animal. This procedure can make them less temperamental (very important if they’re going to be owned by children) and it decreases the risk of many illnesses and cancers. This is a one-off procedure, and most vets will charge between $100 – $300.
What unexpected expenses do I need to consider when getting a rabbit?
You know any rabbit is going to need food, shelter and basic healthcare but there are still costs that come from owning a rabbit that many first-time rabbit owners don’t consider.
It’s common knowledge that rabbits love to chew wires, but do you know why that is? To an indoor rabbit, a wire can easily be confused with a tree root. Out in the wild, if they lived in a warren, they’d have to chew tree roots to stop them overrunning their home – to you it’s your phone charger, but they think they’re helping with home maintenance when they give it a quick snip with their very sharp teeth.
Rabbits are very good at taking care of themselves, they groom their coats and gnaw to keep their teeth down. If they’re living indoors and don’t get much access to hard surfaces, you might have to trim their nails yourself. If they live outdoors and are longhaired, make sure you check their coats regularly especially when it’s wet. Matted coats can become very uncomfortable, and they may even need veterinary assistance if they become too matted around their back end.
Rabbit insurance from Petcover starts from around $19 per month and for this, you get peace of mind that vet fees are one less thing to worry about if your rabbit gets sick or injured.
How Petcover can help your pet
Petcover specialises in offering quality, straightforward pet insurance with a range of policy options that suit your needs. Whether your pet is big or small, furry or scaly our range of cover options are packed with added benefits. Accidents can happen at any time and the reality of veterinary costs can come a quite a shock. With our range of cover levels for dogs, cats, horses and exotic animals, why not get a quote today.Get a quote